It’s been just over a week since we all arrived back into Old Blighty following the big leg drop to The Gambia, so thought now would be a good time to update you all on our trip.
Waving Jamie and Chris off in the van with their precious cargo on April 15th we were hoping to keep you updated on the boys progress as they travelled the west coast of Africa. As it turned out, our timings hadn’t taken into consideration the enormity of checkpoints, hold ups and lack of internet cafes within the middle of the Sahara… and so, the poor guys had to drive, literally throughout the night in order to get there in time. They simply didn’t stop for 10 days. So we were all in the dark as the suspense grew about where and how they were getting on. Whilst this will make the documentary far more exciting as the events unfold it does mean that when myself, Caroline and Alex (film guy number 2) arrived at the airport expecting to be picked up by the boys we were a little nervous when they weren’t there.
As it turns out, the boys crossed the border at almost exactly the same time we landed. The van however, had to remain in customs for 4 days until all sorts of paperwork could be produced. That first evening we heard just a few of Chris and Jamies stories about the drive. It sounds as if they were exceedingly lucky to have made with all of their own limbs intact. The van broke down daily and only due to a sequence of very fortunate events did they make it in one piece and with all the cargo… but that’s all I have to say on that, you’ll have to wait for the documentary, filmed by their travel companion Craig, to be finished.
Meanwhile we all had our work cut out meeting amputees in rural and poor areas of The Gambia in the hope to match them up with some of our limbs. Those we met had all been amputees had, for a variety of reasons, been waiting for matching legs for many years with very little hope of ever achieving this dream. We therefore were able to prioritise and refer them to our good friend Gabu, who heads up the prosthetics department at the Department of Social Welfare and The Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital.
Whilst we were in The Gambia it wasn’t just legs that we were also able to hand out. Several of our supporters had kindly donated various gifts which we enjoyed distributing to some very grateful receivers. A big thank you to…
InterCare; for donating a big bag of hand crafted childrens toys, teddies and blankets. These are now in the hands of sick and injured children at The Royal Victoria Childrens Hospital.
NATAS (Asbestos Consultancy and Training) your hundreds of pencils were given to both primary and high schools within disadvantaged areas to help children with their studies.
Ashoka Maurya and 28 BMP; your boxes of baseball caps are now being worn by kids and worthy individuals that we met on our travels.
500 legs is the largest amount of prosthetics the team in The Gambia have ever received from any donor. We’ve given them enough to keep them busy for another 12 months and we can relax leaving Gabu and his team to do what they do best; we have donated to a department that will ensure a very fair distribution and the legs will be paired with amputees within The Gambia that wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to walk again.
But we don’t stop here. This is just the beginning. Our efforts now turn to making Legs4Africa bigger and better. Our focus will be on procuring even more redundant legs in the UK to ship over at the end of the year. So please join us, follow us, share us, tweet us, support us and come onboard the Legs4Africa campaign.