The Passion of Norway
A Blog Post from Footsteps Eco-Lodge in The Gambia
by David White - 28 November 2013
It has been my pleasure to see Gambia receive an increasing numbers of visitors from Norway over the past 3 years or so and most recently a couple from Norway who travelled with Ethical Travel Portal proved their hearts are as big as their fjords. Sverre and Aase Leksbo from Lyngdal, Southern Norway, were happy to help the school children of Gunjur Upper Basic School when they learned of their problems. (Pictured below left to right, Sverre, Yahya & Aase)
The school under the new direction of Yayah Jobe, its new principal, has come a long way in the past 12 months, it has a new 2 storey purpose-built school house which is due to be opened by the start of this year's rain in June, but the funds ran out before a secure wall and gates could be made to protect it. Without these the school had a constant array of animals fouling everywhere and generally making a nuisance, not exactly a safe or sanitary place to receive an education.
Sverre's company ”FIBO-TRESPO AS”, donated 15,000 NOK whilst Sverre and Aase gave 5,000 NOK. Shortly after their arrival Sverre, Aase, Yahya and I found ourselves going through quotes for building supplies and saw that if Yahya was able to persuade the school funding board to match their total contribution of 20,000 NOK (approx £2,000 or 100,000 Dalasi.) The entire school perimeter wall could be either replaced or fixed and new gates installed to keep the kids in and the animals out. We found ourselves trusting Yahya to keep his part of the deal and agreed that work should begin immediately to repair and replace the wall. Within days materials had arrived and work began with Sverre making the first blocks.
Meanwhile Aase not content with only helping with the wall said she would like to spend some time training a young girl called Aroki Nyassi to re-establish the library which had fallen into a badly coordinated room full of books in no particular order or sequence. Over the next 2 weeks Aase set up a system and made sure that Aroky knew exactly how to maintain it. Aase has incredible energy and it's plain to see that she is happiest in the company of young enquiring minds, it was then she offered to begin teaching the children French language.
I think the children and teachers will remember their good friends from Norway not simply for their generous gift of money to build their wall and gates but most of all for the time, kindness and love they demonstrated during their 4 week visit.
Thank you from Gunjur, The Gambia
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