A Day Out in a Gambian Primary School

Phil TunstallGambia, Phil, Teaching1 Comment

Today Legs4Africa took a trip to a Gambian Primary school in Kerrserign. A large school with a large name, The Sanchaba Jobe Lower Basic School educates a whopping 3600 children and has doubled in size in just 3 years, the 75 teachers have really got their work cut out, and split the days so as to educate half the students in the morning and the other half after lunch.

Driving in our old rattly Jaguar that one of our friends had very kindly lent, swerving the village goats and challenging the suspension on the rocky unpaved roads, we pulled up outside the big rusty gates. Children piled out onto the dusty path to greet us screaming “Hello Tubob, how are you” and reaching out to high five us.

(Tubob is a slang name for a white traveller, a relic from when The Gambia was a British colony and used the Two-bob coin)[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Many thanks to some close friends of Legs4Africa, we managed to deliver 2 boxes to the Head Master’s office bursting with colourful pens, pencils, paper, and art equipment. Which they were extremely grateful for!

Our predominant reason for being in The Gambia is of course to spread the word about Legs4Africa and it was astonishing how many of the teachers had amputee friends and family. Even more astonishing was that most of them had no idea that amputations due to diabetes is encouraged by eating too much sugar! The teachers were all very interested in sitting in on the lesson to learn more, which of course we were more than happy for them to do.

It was time to take the lesson. How do you educate a class of children on diabetes without them dozing off, or even worse, booing us out of the classroom? We were soon to be walking into a room of 60 8-13 year old Gambian children and tell them not to eat sweets!!!! There is no getting around that fact it’s a very gloomy subject. So after our talk about swapping sweets for healthy foods we decided to perform a play about a diabetic Monkey…as you do. Guess what… It worked! They loved the story and seemed genuinely interested in the message we were trying to get across!

Many of the children as well as the teachers had amputee family members, and couldn’t quite believe that they would be eligible for a prosthetic leg…so of course we shared our L4A flyers to direct them how to arrange a fitting!

Our fourth goal for the day was to build relationships between British primary schools and Sancha Joba. Spending time in the local community as well as visiting schools, it’s clear to see that Gambian and British children’s lives are worlds apart. Although their lifestyles are completely different, their sense of humour, morals, hopes and dreams are surprisingly similar. We were pleased to hear how many children in the school said they wanted to be doctors and scientists. A relationship between Gambian & British children could only inspire and educate each other so we were all very excited about this!

Our school visit sadly came to an end and we made our way back out into the dusty playground.

Sanchaba Jobe we thank you so much for welcoming us into your school and hope we have helped encourage your children to have a healthy future! Looking forward to our next visit!

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