In March 2013, Lucy Warwick and Nick Hussey – two HASTE supporters returned to The Gambia to see get an update on our projects out there.
Their first visit was to Erenyang, which is run by headmaster Anthony Gomez. Lucy, for whom this was a fourth visit, says: “It is always a pleasure to see the progress his school makes each visit. We were thoroughly impressed by the Level 3 teacher (teaching 6-7 years olds), who is clearly admired by all of the children and has a strong passion to teach. In addition to the curriculum, he teaches the pupils dance, acting and French to a very high standard.”
The pair also spent time at Abuko school, which was HASTE’s founding school, set up by Marjorie Warwick, Lucy’s grandmother. The last time Lucy had visited, the school building was run down and the school was in a state of flux, having just got a new headmaster. She was interesting to see what had changed, and she wasn’t disappointed.
“The new headmaster Yuseph seems very clear about his vision for the school,” she says. “Since 2011, he and his two teachers have transformed the place; the school has a state-of-the-art playroom (one of only two in The Gambia), a new kitchen, toilets and water tap. Additionally the school walls were beautifully decorated in colourful murals, and banana trees were growing in the playground.
“The children seemed incredibly happy and we were delighted when they sang and welcomed us during our visit. Yuseph is an inspiration to alll; he is driven to make the school a success and give the children everything they need, even at his own expense. I know how happy my grandmother would be, seeing how much progress the school has made.”
The third and final school visited was the Lizzie Couch Sinchu Nursery School, which was opened by a group (including Lucy) in December 2011. Despite not being able to see the children of the school – the trip was made in holiday time – she was pleased to report back that the office, classrooms and toilets were pristine. “Our focus now is ensuring the furnitiure is upgraded and the walls are appropriately decorated with educational material,” says Lucy.
All in all, a very successful trip.