Easter in The Gambia

Caroline Dyer / Gambia

amputee in Africa

Easter Sunday and therefore a day off for the Legs4Africa crew! We were invited by Dominic, our go to advisor, friend and the son of the first amputee Tom met 3 years ago, to attend Easter service with him at church and then have lunch with his family.

The church service was very similar to that of a catholic service in England; only much better drum beats, singing and Sunday-Best head wear. Oh, and the service was translated into three different languages. There was a nice emphasis half way through the service on the importance of being a good man “Men! Treat the women in your life correctly, she is the boss lady, treat her with respect.” Amen.

After church we were welcomed into the Peirra family compound. Typically 5 families live in a compound; a cluster of little houses surrounded by a wall. They share a tap, washing facilities, cooking areas and a vegetable patch (or banana plantation in Dominic’s case). They also share the responsibility of watching over each other’s children and generally looking out for one another. Dom’s sister and mama had cooked us a chicken spicy dish and a crab stew over an open fire in the back yard; both were equally spicy and delicious. W had barely sat down to eat when ‘the hunt’ arrived; a boy dressed in a straw boogie man outfit followed by a gang of kids singing, dancing and banging drums and we were invited to join in. This is an Easter tradition from Sierra Leon; although the connection between this and the Easter story is, fair to say, pretty loose.

We were pleased to see Paul again – the inspiration behind Legs4Africa. Tom met him 3 years ago and decided upon his return to the UK to find a leg for him. It was on the search for this leg that the discovery of just how many prosthetics were thrown away became apparent.

We also met Shair, a neighbour of Dom’s – he has lost both of his legs and we will be trying to find him a leg to fit in the coming days. A lover of all sorts of sports, being bound to his wheelchair hasn’t stopped him being part of the local wheelchair basketball and volleyball team. He teaches science and economics at the local school and plays a key role in community life. We will be filming Shair in the coming days so you can track his progress.

We were also able to start distributing out classroom supplies, books and stationery to the local children – thank you to Susan Hill, a teacher from Leicester for kindly donating these!

Paul and Shair were also kind enough to help us put together a series of personal messages for all our generous donors that sponsored £50 in the crowdfunder donation page in February. Check your emails if this were one of you!