Week ending 11th April 2014
The Lower Basic classes also enjoyed an
educational visit to My Farm, here they are being shown the
plant nursery and the raised beds where they grow vegetables.
They were also very intrigued by the
dishes used for solar cooking.
Rudy and Yolanda Nachtegaal
visited again this week. They had donated money for the new
noticeboard so were very pleased to see it on the wall in the
Here are Nursery 2 concentrating on
their writing, helped by their teacher, Fatou Sanneh. Her
three year training in Early Child Development at Gambia college
finishes after the final exams at the end of this month.
Above are some much
travelled pashminas hanging out to dry after being tie dyed.
Bought plain white on Ebay then taken to Gambia, dyed at Sunrise
and brought back to the UK, they will be sold over the Easter
weekend on GETS stand at Chester Food Fair.
One of the ladies who bring
food for sale during break-time. There will be a longer break
now for everyone as the second term finished at the end of this
week. The centre (and the blog) will start again on 28th April.
Week ending 4th April
The third year skills students are
coming to the end of their time on attachment. Staff from the
centre go out regularly to check on their progress, here is
Helen visiting a student who is very happy working in the
kitchen at 2Rays restaurant.
Back at the centre year one skills
students, Saffie Bah and Yassin Marong are boiling onion skins
to make a vegetable dye.
Here is the finished length
of tie and dyed material made from the onion skin dye, hung out
More practical work from
the Integrated Studies textbook - Mrs Cham is showing her class
the different types of soil at the centre - sand, loam and clay.
She then added water to each type to
show how the different types of soil react to water.
Here are some of Nursery 1
very busily engaged in discovering numbers, colours and
patterns, though one boy seems more interested in the camera!
Week ending 28th March
The two nursery classes lined up
patiently waiting to get into the bus for their annual trip.
This year they went to My Farm, a
charitable foundation aiming to improve livelihoods in The
Gambia through education, agricultural innovation and
environmental protection. Arriving at the farm, the first thing
we saw was a board welcoming Sunrise nursery to My Farm.
The children were taken to
the Bantaba where they met the men who were going to show them
around the farm. They were divided into groups and went off to
see the various areas of the farm. They were fascinated by a
mother duck with her yellow ducklings and the rabbits in
Feeding the fish was
very popular with all the children and fortunately no-one fell
in the pond!
Near the fishpond they saw
beehives hanging from the trees and sang "This old man, he
played five, he played knick-knack on my hive."
The grunting of the
pigs scared them at first, but they soon got used to them and
drew closer to watch them rooting about in the ground - the pigs
featured prominently in the pictures which they drew at school
The farm has a schoolroom
used by the local community as a drop-in centre. Two teachers
work shifts here so that someone is always on hand to help where
needed. The schoolroom is well stocked with books, lego, games,
puzzles and even i-pads!
The i-pads were a great hit
with the children and they had to be coaxed away from them to
eat the benechin which was cooked for them by the ladies at the
farm using solar power.
There was silence in
the bantaba as the children ate every bit of their heaped
platefuls of benechin, chicken and vegetables grown on the farm,
followed by a drink of wonjo.
Then, after saying
thank you to all at My Farm, it was time to get back in
the bus for the journey home after an exciting day.
Barry, Dawn and Paul had a
much longer journey home this week, for their time at Sunrise
regretfully came to an end - till next time!
Week ending 21st March
!4th March saw an important event in
the lives of both Mr Bah and Mrs Cham - it was the evening of
their graduation ceremony. After school they went to Banjul to
join all the other students graduating from Gambia University
and Gambia College. Mr Bah, here below, gained his BSc in
Mrs Cham received her certificate in Early
Childhood Development. As you will see from her picture
below the event went on till after midnight!
The sports base has now
been painted green and lines are beginning to be marked out. The
goalposts for 5 a side football will be fixed permanently and
the picture below shows the removeable basketball posts which
will fit into sockets in the ground when being used.
The skills cookery students have been doing
practical work this week on planning and preparing a three
course meal. These students were making fish dippers in tomato
sauce, macaroni cheese and 'mud pies' - -individual versions of
Missisipi Mud Pie.
Wendy and Philip Pulling visited Sunrise
this week and were shown around by Paul. They brought some
resources for Sunrise and were very interested to see everything
that was happening during a typical day at Sunrise.
A first for Sunrise this week was a
fire-drill! Barry, our health and safety advisor, had explained
the need for a fire-drill to all at Sunrise Centre and told them
what should happen. Then one morning, the staff were told that
there would be a fire-drill at some point during the day and at
the given signal everybody should immediately evacuate the
building. On hearing the warning, the Nursery classes were the
first to file out of their classrooms and walk across the hall
to the outside area by the gate, followed closely by the Lower
Basic, then by the Skills students. The building was evacuated
in two minutes and everyone was present at the roll call seen
below, watched by Barry and Helen.
Week ending 14th March
Last term Mrs Cham went to a day workshop
on malaria awareness, so when her class came to this topic in
their Integrated Studies text book, Mrs Cham took the
opportunity to stress the message through drama. Last week pupils from
grade 1 and grade 2 practised then finally performed the play in the
hall, in front of an interested audience of skills students.
This week Grade 1 Lower
Basic have been doing their half yearly assessment tests in
English, Maths and Integrated Studies. This was a big step in
their learning experience, it was their first introduction to
working in a test situation and also on how to make their choice
from the multi-choice answers below the questions. During Grade
3 national assessment tests like this are held throughout Gambian schools.
Now that the concrete base
has been laid the work men are adding a sloping edge as a safety
measure for when it is ready to be used.
The next topic in the Integrated Studies
text book was food so Mrs Cham took her Grade 2 Lower Basic
class to the little local market by the school to discover what
was for sale there. The children went from stall to stall
writing down the items they saw on sale, together with their
price, providing material for maths later as well!
They found out the price of the sticks of
firewood and charcoal used for cooking, wet fish, fruit and
vegetables, rice and millet, milk and sugar before moving on to
a hardware stall.
discovering the English words for a variety of tools (another
topic in their textbook) the excited children calmed down and
formed a 'crocodile' for the short walk back to school - you can
just see the upstairs classrooms above the wall in the distance.
Week ending 7th March
At the end of last week we had a PTA
meeting, this picture was taken not long after the meeting
started but by the time the meeting finished there were 3 or 4
times as many there - some still arriving as the meeting
finished! Visitors to Gambia will have met the Gambian version
of GMT - Gambia Maybe Time!
Ken Duesbury, from Bradford, visited
Sunrise this week with his friends, bringing lots more resources
All this week the workmen have
been busy mixing concrete and barrowing it round to the sports
Two more visitors this week were Rebecca
Panting and Ryan Miller. Rebecca's mother already sponsors a boy
in our Lower Basic school and Ryan and Rebecca have decided to
sponsor Sunrise students too.
Here is Rebecca sitting
with some Nursery 2 children who are practising their writing.
A local carpenter has been
making a notice board for the hall at Sunrise, here you can see
him with Barry, making sure that the board is fixed safely to
the wall and put up straight. The board has glass doors to keep
notices clean, dust has been blowing everywhere the last two
weeks, due to the Harmattan winds.
At the end of this week we
said goodbye to Chris and Steve Humphries - until their next
visit! Below you can see Chris busy sorting out some of the
resources in Nursery 1.
And here is Steve, wielding
a paintbrush yet again. He must think painting Sunrise is like
painting the Forth Bridge!
Week ending 28th
Some of the Lower
Basic Grade 1 class are here saying thank you to Ruth McMeecham
and Portmore Golf club for their donation towards more cookery
equipment for our skills classes.
Here is Connie McGuffie helping some of Nursery 1 to
form the letter S correctly - it is the first sound they learn
with the Jolly Phonics scheme.
Nyara Badjie with her finished length of
batik spread over the garden wall to dry.
The black stone for the base of the games
area, which is being financed by the Driffield RAF cadets,
arrived at last after being held up at the port.
The workmen immediately started to lay and
level the stone.
Below is Barry Young, busy
in the office . Barry has been helping with the administration
during the past few weeks.
Week ending 21st
(one of GETS Trustees) arrived in The Gambia for a holiday with
her husband, Richard, this week. They enjoyed meeting up with
Elizabeth Loppy, who they helped with fees to complete her
course. Elizabeth presented them with some beautiful clothes
(pictured here) that she had made for them. Having left Sunrise
last year and now working full time with Madam Cox at a Sewing
Shop in Serekunda, Lizzy has clearly learnt a lot and seems to
really be enjoying herself.
On Friday we had one
of the noisiest events in the school year; Ebbeh Day. This event
is a bit of an open day and school disco, rolled into one. Food
and soft drinks are available (Ebbeh is a crab dish) and loud
music is the order of the day. We sell the dishes of food for D5
(less than 10 pence) each and profits (there were some this year
again) go to school funds. Our school hall and grounds were full
of youngsters enjoying themselves. The hall picture shows the
hall with the DJ
(Ebou Corr) in an inset.
We have a found a
great role for Mrs Sally Ceesay (Nursery 1 teacher) in sales,
serving out tickets for orange juice, Naan Mburu (Wollof word
for a preparation of steamed rice balls and sweetened baobab
juice), Wonjo juice (a sweet, purple fruit juice made from
sorrel leaves) and Chakeri.
We also have pictures
of Mrs Fatou Cham (Lower Basic 2 teacher) with year 2
skills students Amba Ndow and Fatou Nyassai helping out.
Mr Ali Bah is looking
very cool, surrounded by Sunrise children, including Awa
Njie (LB1) and Ya Mundaw Njie (N1) whose mum had made a great job
of sewing them matching dresses.
Richard Beech found
some balloons and of course, he quickly became the centre of
attention for all the youngsters as he started blowing them up.
He seemed to enjoy the day as did everyone else who attended.
Week ending 14th February
We’ve had more visitors to Sunrise this
week. Christopher Hill and his mum, Tracy came to see us during
their holiday break, with friend Joseph Cherry. Chris was
sponsored to give up sweets and cakes for a week with the
proceeds coming to GETS - more details in our recent
News Thanks again for your
We’ve also been given
cash by two of the students from Bishop Heber High School in
Malpas, Cheshire. Thanks go to Olivia Day and Ellie Walley
(pictured) from Tutor group 10MBE who raised £40 for GETS by
selling and delivering Valentines roses.
We were sad to say
farewell to Rita Granger and Ruth McMeechan. Rita has been
working with the Skills Training students and she is shown in
the picture (on the left) in a batik dress that was dyed and
sewn in the centre.
The Lower Basic
Students also helped to say farewell to Ruth,who had been
helping them, and Rita, making them a lovely farewell card,
Rita and Ruth have
been with us at Sunrise for a month now and they seem to have
thoroughly enjoyed themselves and made some great friends
amongst the students.
Week ending 7th February
This week we enjoyed showing two of our
supporters around the Sunrise Centre for the first Time. Dr
Mustafiz Rahman and his wife, Dr Sultana Rahman, were “very
impressed” I’m pleased to say. They are shown, pictured with
Helen, in the admin office where we manage the school and the
charity in The Gambia.
Also this week the
Year 1 skills training students went into mass production,
producing Sunflowers. This is a design in Tie and Dye, using a
method demonstrated by Hawa Fatty.
If you look carefully
you can see that she has removed her footwear to prevent damage
from the dyes. Not sure this would happen in the UK but skin on
a Gambians foot seems to be really tough and scrubbing off dye
would not be a problem!
We completed our
garden wall (and gate) this week. This allows us to start to
take gardening much more seriously, teaching the children
throughout the school about methods of cultivating all sorts of
plants and improving really important skills to help The Gambia
become more self sufficient in this area.
One of our long term
volunteers was captured on camera working again with a paint
brush. Steve Humphries is also good with a coffee cup too but he
does a great job making Sunrise look pristine after the rainy
season. He is seen here painting the Bantaba that we use for
Skills practical work. I think his next job is the new garden
Lastly we have a
picture of our youngest children drawing. Nursery school means
many things in different countries but in Sunrise we aim to
develop children to have many skills, including reading and
writing, well before they go up to the primary school at 6
years. Gambians seem to love drawing and some show great promise
very early, perhaps one or two will become artists one day,
selling their pictures in the local markets to tourists.
Week ending 31st January
They say that none of us ever stop learning
and this includes our teaching staff at Sunrise. Our new
Education Director, Madam Kaddy Fofana, was keen that we should
try out some of the latest ideas on classroom management
techniques so we brought in Mr Ceesay (pictured with Kaddy and
Mr Jarjue, our school inspector) as an expert trainer to work
with all the staff, who gave up a Saturday to come into school
The whole Saturday
was devoted to the teaching session where staff, including
classroom assistants and our friends from London Corner Nursery
school (which Helen also helps administer) worked together to
improve standards within the classroom. It was a tough day but
enjoyed by all I think.
Most of our students
also work really hard in school and we caught one of them on
camera. Fatou Sidibeh (aged 6) from Nursery 2 was a perfect
picture of concentration, carefully copying from a text book.
We have lots of
resources to support our education methods at Sunrise and it is
good to see Aminata Mbakeh (also Nursery 2) with one of
the spelling puzzles, producing a fish, hopefully!
Week ending 24th January
This week our intrepid builders began work
on the foundations for our garden wall, This is an important
structure since it will keep the small animals (mostly
goats/sheep) out of the garden where good things to eat can
usually be found. This structure will take pressure off of the
caretakers who are always chasing the animals around or
barricading the gateways to Sunrise to prevent access. It is fun
watching at times!
Part of doing the work
on the garden wall involves making a new hole in the compound
wall to get in the building materials required for the wall and
other exciting projects (as below). Bricks will be made on site
as usual and a wall will quickly appear, plus a small gate. One
of our great friends and long-term supporters has already funded
this work and we have been waiting for the right time to
complete this. Thank you Peter.
Another project that
we have to complete this year has been on our plans for almost a
year now. That is the sports arena, that the Air Cadets from
Driffield have raised considerable cash to build. The picture
shows the Lower Basic children playing football in the space
that will eventually be used to layout a concrete base that will
be fitted with equipment for Netball, Football and Volleyball.
This will be ready when the Cadets visit in April to complete
their project with games equipment and we are really happy that
they will be amongst the first to try it all out. More on this
it develops but a massive thank you again to all involved.
We enjoyed seeing Paul
Z again in Sunrise. Last year Paul Z (Zmitrowicz) came to teach
in Skills for a while but now he’s back, this time with friends
Roger Morgan, Tina Morgan, Claire Gibson and Guy Tarring. We
were delighted that they brought a generous donation with them.
Thank you for your support. Maybe we’ll see Paul again in the
coming weeks if he stays in The Gambia for a while.
Lastly we have
another picture of students eating a meal in the Hall. They tell
me that this is practical work but I’m not so sure. Mrs
Jammeh’s Skills 2 class has been doing their Bar and Restaurant
class and someone has to try out the food, “to test the
quality”, or so the story goes! They all enjoyed it of course.
Week ending 17th January
A big part of the work at Sunrise at this
time of year is the second year Skills Training Students making
the uniforms for the whole of the Skills area (180+ full
uniforms). Marokey Bojang, Classroom Assistant, is very much in
her element here, helping the students cut and produce good
quality clothing. Wasting anything in The Gambia is something
that everyone tries to avoid since money is very tight so
careful supervision of enthusiastic learners is vital.
The Skills students
always look forward to practical sessions and at the end of the
December term Tony caught a picture of some of the third year
students making a copy of the Sunrise logo. It is great to see
how proud they all are of the school and how it tries to help
them. Great work in Batik from the third years!
Our Admin Assistant,
Sendeng Suso also doubles as one of our photographers, capturing
pictures for the blog. Today she spotted that the Lower Basic
students have also been drawing our Sunrise logo. In the picture
is one of the best drawings, by Muhammed Jallow aged 9. He has
produced very neat work.
It is interesting
that in much of Africa, including The Gambia, many still eat
food with their hands rather than using cutlery. Quite a
surprise to the tourist on-lookers I think. but also a challenge
when you have a job serving tourists in a restaurant. One of our
practical lessons gives skills students in year 2 a chance to
try out a knife and fork. Given that western children use
cutlery from a very early age and some still seem to struggle in
their teenage years, these students are doing OK with their
first lesson but also causing great mirth amongst their friends
Week ending 10th January
Over the Christmas holidays we always try
and do work that is best achieved when school is closed. When
GETS inherited the Sunrise Centre from the community we had the
added challenge of very small classrooms. We now have the luxury
of spare big classrooms in the Lower Basic school that give us
some space to swap things around.
moved Mr Bah's English and Maths classes into one of these new
rooms, allowing us to “knock two classrooms in one” in the
skills centre. This created a double sized classroom, allowing
more space for sewing and hopefully more machines too.
The Lower Basic
classroom completion is also going forward as planned, with the
electrics, ceilings, tiling and painting. This should complete
soon to allow us the use of all 6 classrooms. We now use 2 rooms
for primary teaching plus one for skills, so we will have one
ready for next year’s primary 3 intake and 2 further spares.
One important point
about all the shuffling of the Skills classrooms is that we will
need to move the English and Maths classes to a new Skills
classroom in the next couple of years to free up the last
primary room for grade 6. We need cash to build this new room
for the skills, but not for a couple of years yet.
We also re-modelled
two Bantaba tables to create one bigger one and allow more space
for cutting out and batik stamping of long pieces of cloth.
Just before Christmas
we also had a visit from Pat and Geoff Taylor with their
daughter, Jenny, who have agreed to sponsor Jankey Secka in
Nursery 1. They only been involved with GETS for a few months
but often visit The Gambia. The three of them are here with
Jankey and her teacher, Mrs Ceesay.