The action packed week was split between experiencing environment and culture of The Gambia, delivering “Grange Goodie Bags” and some honest-to-goodness hard work on the current building project at the Darul Arkam School.
Our arrival at the school in central Brikama was marked with a street parade, accompanied by a marching band. This was truly overwhelming and actually managed to reduce many of the group to tears. A speech from Mr Njie, the headmaster of the school, expressed what our visit meant to the community in Brikama and how thankful they were of the support of the entire Grange Community, not just the group of students who were sitting in the school yard at that moment.
During the week we made two visits to the school site to work on our project. This year we had the task of clearing the site for the new senior school, and helping to complete the wall that surrounds the site. The one thing that struck us most of all was the enthusiasm of the Gambian children to assist us with clearing the site. There was no sense of superiority: everyone was equal and working towards a common goal.
As Mr Jeffrey said at the close of our trip; “It's only life changing if it changes your life” and the whole of Team Gambia returned to England with changed perspectives, huge respect for the people of the Gambia and newfound ideas about how we might use our own education to enrich the world in which we live.
Ben Barker - LVI CAH