A DAY TRIP TO GENIERI
Last month, our most recent visitor from Yate travelled up to Genieri for a day as part of her week’s holiday in The Gambia. Celia Zlobec had heard about the work of the Link at last year’s A Taste of The Gambia evening and the seed of an idea to visit the village was sown.
In November I travelled to The Gambia for the first time with a friend and during our stay we visited Genieri. I took with me money from the Link for mosquito nets and school uniforms, as well as various gift donations including stationery, wind up torches, storybooks and small toys. We also purchased a sack of rice as a gift to the village, as well as kola nuts, a traditional gift of friendship in West Africa.
Our gifts were presented at a formal welcome at which we met the elders, some of the women and the Alkalo, the village chief. Unfortunately most of the villagers were busy in the fields harvesting rice and groundnuts but those we met were very friendly and welcoming, even treating us to an enormous cooked Gambian style breakfast!
As a retired teacher, I was particularly interested in visiting the Day Care Centre to see the children being taught Jolly Phonics. This was taught in a very different way from in England but the children still responded enthusiastically, the younger ones recognising sounds and doing the actions while the older ones learned tricky words by rote from the blackboard. However, the classrooms are extremely bare and formal with limited resources to aid learning.
It was also interesting to visit the Women’s Vegetable Garden being a keen gardener myself. Due to it being the rice and groundnut harvest season, it was untidy and overgrown but we were assured that, after harvesting, it will once again be used to grow crops. A firebreak has recently been created around the perimeter to prevent the plastic coating of the fencing from melting during fires and we were shown signs of fence damage due to animals breaking through to eat the crops.
Our visit to the Primary Health Centre/Pharmacy showed a sharp contrast to our UK pharmacies with very bare shelves. More supplies including thermometers and plasters/bandages were requested and clearly needed.
We really enjoyed visiting Genieri and meeting the villagers. It is clear they much appreciate and benefit greatly from the work of the Link.
Day Care Centre
Since Celia’s visit we have funded an impact assessment of the introduction of Jolly Phonics into the daily teaching routines at the Centre. This involved a visit from Sainey Giibba, an official Jolly Phonics trainer normally based in Kombo near the capital, Banjul. Sainey stayed in the village for three days and assessed the progress of each child individually as well as meeting with Foday Dampha. Mr Gibba’s assessment was that pupils are making fair progress in their learning of English letter sounds (bearing in mind that their native language is Mandinka or perhaps Wolof). However, Sainey also emphasised that the rate of progress was limited by the high teacher to pupil ratio. Approximately 80 children attend the Day Care Centre daily. Foday Dampha the only full-time trained teacher and he is help by Amie Saidy who is an untrained helper and by Nfamara Dampha, a trained teacher from the nearby school who gives help voluntarily.
Primary Health Centre
Regular readers will remember the malaria appeal we launched in October 2018 after the death of a young man in the village from malaria-related complications. Bouts of malaria are a fact of life for people living in Genieri but this terrible event demonstrated how serious malaria can be, particularly for young people, the elderly and infants. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters we were able to send funds for newly available medication as well as train our primary health care worker, with Dr Sillah, the local doctor, to use a system of Rapid Diagnostic Testing to identify those most at risk.
We have been back in contact with Dr Sillah and the good news is that the village has been much better prepared to cope with the seasonal increase in cases of malaria through a combination of using bed nets as a prevention, diagnostic testing to identify people at risk and the new drugs to help those who are identified.
The coartem is really helping and the (RDT) Rapid Diagnostic Test. We are now at the peak of malaria season and it is being used everyday. People are having their medicine and equally RDT. The impact is very good and the mosquito nets were also given to the village free of charge to all under 5 years of age and pregnant women. So really the episode of malaria is reducing. I myself must thank the donors and you people facilitating the program.
Thank you, regards Dr Jammeh Sillah.
All of this has been funded from that appeal so thank you again for your generosity.
The 40th Safari Supper was held on the 5th October. Yet again it was not only a very enjoyable evening but it also raised £335 for the Link.
Many thanks again to all of the hosts who prepared such lovely food for their guests to enjoy, as well as to everyone who supported the event by buying tickets. One of the most enjoyable ways of raising funds for a good cause!
Also, a special thank you to Hilary Truelove who has organised all 40 of those safari suppers…
The Yate – Genieri Link and the community of Genieri would also like to thank a number of individuals and organisations who have made significant donations to the Link during the last few months.
Stone with Woodford C of E Primary School hosted another presentation at an assembly, this time by Marian Gilpin, and followed this up with a collection which they have very kindly donated to the Link.
Cotswold Homes Limited have very generously offered to sponsor the food for the forthcoming A Taste of The Gambia evening so that all of the funds generated by the evening can be used to benefit the village.
Two individuals have made generous donations, one to support the developments at the Day Care Centre; the second to provide a small grant to help the four school leavers featured in the last issue as they try to continue their education or to begin their careers.
Finally, a number of people have re-donated their 100 Club prizes!
Thank you all!
How You Can Help
~ attend one of our fund-raising events – see Forthcoming Events above
~ become a member of the Yate-Genieri Link: membership is £6 per person per year – please
contact Margaret Newman for details - email@example.com
~ become a member of the 100 Club which runs from January 1st each year – please contact Jez
Truelove for details - firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair: Marian Gilpin 2 Wickham Close Chipping Sodbury BS37 6NH
07837 588362 email@example.com
Secretary: Hilary Truelove 8 Partridge Close, Yate, BS37 7RN
01454 311720 firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer: Jez Truelove 8 Partridge Close, Yate, BS37 7RN
01454 311720 email@example.com
Recent 100 Club winners
Peter Scantlebury £20
Jack Brook £10
Samuel Scantlebury £5
Our Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer may be contacted via:
If you have any queries, want more information or want to be involved please phone us: 07837 588362