Lorenzo had recommended a guide named Abdoulay. It seems travelling in Africa was all guides and 4x4s, I was used to bus travel in my backpacking days. Expensive this way, but ok. We arrived and discovered that Abdoulay was not a driver but a businessman with a growing outfit: 5 drivers on staff, plus his own newly built guest compound, with 5 bungalows. Abdoulay himself was in his 60s and mostly blind, but a solid logistics guy. After Fass Chamen, he came with a driver and took us to the middle of Gambia: Janjanbureh. The next morning we crossed the river by ferry and delivered the 5 boxes to the north, where Lorenzo said the schools don’t get much. In the first school, we posed for a photo with the principal. I could see they did this a lot, with foreigners bringing boxes, and requesting photos for the donors back home.
Ah, but the second school in the town of Sarenyanga was the one. Real kids, but no real school, just some thatched grasses put together for walls and roof, the kids sitting on the sand. Abdoulay and I were excited. Abdoulay promised the town he would help. (I’m of the nature that I need a night’s sleep before I promise anything.)
We delivered the other boxes to 3 more schools. More handshakes and posed photos. In the last school, I saw in a guest book that a guy from Seattle had been there just 2 days before. That was my feeling: that NGOs were crawling all over the country. There were signs everywhere.
On the ferry back, Abdoulay really started talking. We were both excited about school #2.