Beacon in the Gambia

For twenty five years Students from Beacon Academy have been visiting villages in the Gambia. The Gambia is one of the poorest countries in Africa and each year 50 or more¬† Beacon 6th form students spend one week of their time helping 10 rural communities develop and move towards self-sufficiency. Many of these villages receive…

Kwinella and Kaiaf, a tale of two medical centres

Kwinella, which we revisited in February on our monitoring visit is the biggest project we support and the one we show off about the most. Every year, we tell students and parents the story of how, when we first visited, twenty odd years ago, Kwinella was a village with a single hut as a medical…

A fire on route to Wurokang

This is a continuation of my series of posts summarising our experiences on the monitoring visit in February. After Dumbutu, the next village we arrived in was Wurokang. The bids that they had made back in December were perhaps the simplest to understand as they were all about water. They had asked for and been…

News from Diana

You may remember this post from a couple of months ago when I wrote up our visit to the nursery in Diana. Bakebba and the staff at the nursery had made a bid for a meter to control the power supply for their milling machine. At the time we visited in February, the milling machine…

Driving to the New Village of Dumbutu.

After visiting Sana and the Diana nursery on our monitoring visit in February, it was time to drive up country to the villages. This is a journey which has changed enormously in the time I have been travelling to the Gambia- when I first went in 2010, almost the whole of the road up country…

A Visit to Diana Nursery

After popping in on Sana and his pharmacy, our next visit on the February monitoring trip was to the Diana Nursery in Brufut. This is always the first place we visit with our students on our trips up country. If you have ever seen video of our students dancing or being greeted by huge crowds…

A Visit to Sana and his Pharmacy

Any of you who have been to Gambia since 2010 will know Sana. In that year he started with us as a student helper and ever since he has always been enormously popular with the students and a close friend to me. Over the years, we have helped him to train as a pharmacist, but…

Lucy and Meg on Geniere

We are going to take a brief break from my accounts of the monitoring visit to go back to what really matters- the students’ experience on the main trip. Over the next few months we would like to include accounts of all the villages from students who visited. First here today, we have Meg Edwards…

Day Two of the Monitoring Visit- Tourism and Taxis.

The second day of the trip proved nicely easier than expected. As I mentioned in my post for day one, a large part of the reason why we were¬† in the Gambia was that we needed to get the money raised by our students in December to the villages efficiently, so that they can start…

Monitoring Visit Day One

Less than two months after our last visit and I find myself once again on a plane heading for the Gambia… but why? Of course, I love visiting the Gambia, but going back so soon feels like an indulgence. The Sahara simultaneously meets the sea and my colourblindness! In fact it is anything but. We…

Fastest Project Ever!

If we ever had a competition for the fastest progress on a project, we have a clear winner. Less than a week after our return from the Gambia last month, Sana Singhateh had emailed me to send me these pictures of the work that had started on his pharmacy. His bid had been for us…

The 2017 Trip

Our annual visit to the Gambia is always an amazing experience which can never be summarised in just a few words in a blog post, but I will concentrate on some key impressions here. First, despite my familiarity with the Gambia after seven previous visits, I can still be surprised by this fascinating country. This…

2017 Gallery

Just a load of pictures for now- some text to follow, I promise.