Report submitted by Ridgewood School

Oh for a B&Q; Pickering Picks a Fight with a Hornet; Burrows is Shown the Door by Local Goat, and much more.

It's been another busy day in Gambia, and as always, it started with eggs - you can have anything you like for breakfast at the African Village Hotel, as long as it's eggs, and today they were fried.

To be fair, that's not all you can have, but the eggs are the stars of the show, lovingly cooked in front of you by the jolliest cook in West Africa, possibly the whole of Africa. I mean, where else do you get a chuckle in your eggs?

So, off we went to Half Dye school for a quick session of activities with the local children and the obligatory whitewashing of classroom walls.

Simple, you might think, but no. Not when displays have been stuck to the walls with what seemed like a mixture of porridge and cement.

That's what happens when you don't have Blu-Tac. Oh well, no problem - let's pop to B&Q and get a scraper...erm. No B&Q, no Wilkinson, no Screwfix: you get the idea.

So, wet cloths and the other side of a board rubber and half-an-hour later: "Grrrrrr. This is hard work." But worth it.

Worth it because with a few more hours work the children at Half-Dye school will have a classroom fit for purpose, and they deserve it because many of them live in the village of Kutosilo: our next port of call.

Kutosilo is where you are reminded of the incredible ability of humans to overcome adversity. Situated next to an enormous dump, the people of this village meet all the challenges that absolute poverty brings with smiles and hope.

Even the coldest of hearts could not resist the warmth that runs through the veins of this village. And these, particularly the women, are the most talented, determined and hard-working people you could hope to meet.

Why is it that their poverty imprisons them? Today, we met a woman who makes beautiful, intricate objects from palm leaves.

In a trendy shop in the UK you would find people parting with eye-watering amounts for these, but here, perhaps a couple of dollars worth is all they will fetch.

As we left the village, Emily said, "It's 2018! Why are people still living like this?" What can you say? Not a lot, but you can do something.

Before we leave this year, mosquito nets (vital for the rainy season) will be distributed to the families along with solar-powered lighting.

This is short-term, but it helps to keep people alive while the long-term work of providing an education to the children of Kotusilo at Half-Dye school progresses, because education is a human right, and the best long-term route out of poverty.

After a quick lunch (no eggs), back at the hotel, we were off again. This time to the village of Madiana, the home village of Dembo, our transport man.

The journey to Madiana is like a rough sea crossing, with added extras: the trees. You have an uneven road, well sort of a road, and trees desperate to shed their unwanted branches into the truck, including whatever's in those branches.

For Joe (I'm not scared of anything) Pickering, it was all a bit much.

To be fair, if you'd spent hours perfectly placing every hair in the right place, you'd squeal and yelp like a scolded puppy if a hornet had the temerity to land on your head, wouldn't you?

It's ok, after the swift application of some products and a hair dryer, Joe became the man he knows he can be again. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for for Oli ( I'm from Sedgley, not Wombourne) Burrows...

Project Gambia has funded the erection of fences to create market gardens for the women of Madiana. These gardens are a valuable source of food and income for the women of this village.

So when Oli (you know it: Sedgley not Wombourne) turned up with a dog-head on his shirt, the local goats were alarmed. "No Dingle is coming into our garden," you could hear them bleat. So when Oli (you know it now) tried to enter the garden, a very, very small goat launched himself at the intruding dog head. It was no match, perhaps an omen for the upcoming Premier League experience for Wolverhampton (cough, choke) Wanderers, and Oli had to admit, "I was very scared!" You know he didn't say "very" - to be honest, we don't really know what he said (some ancient Sedgley dialect probably), but it was "very" funny.

In other news: Steph is going for the world record of insect bites on one ankle; Beth has WON the world record for the number of children you can hold hands with at the same time; Cody achieved the highest score for the belly-flop diving competition in the pool; Kara is prepared for everything (see Steph above) and Beth, well she's not quite sure what continent she's on yet.

Thanks for following us - more to come!

Iain Duff English Lecturer at Stourbridge College