|Week ending 12th
Rudy and Yolanda
Natchegaal visited Sunrise this week, they are regular
visitors and always bring welcome gifts for the school.
A group from Sunrise
visited Albreda - this was the fifth time that Sunrise
students have visited this famous historical village.
These two photos show
some of the students at Banjul terminal waiting for the
ferry to cross to the North Bank.
These visits are part
of a Peer Health Exchange aiming to give young people the
knowledge they need to make informed decisions regarding the
health of their bodies.
During the visits both
school listen to talks and perform dramas about subjects
such as tuberculosis, early marriage, teenage pregnancies,
HIV and AIDS.
They were hosted as usual by a local
secondary school, who are hosted by Sunrise, when their
school crosses to our side of the river.
They visited the island famous for
its namesake, Kunta Kinte, a character in Alex Haley's
novel, Roots, about an African man sold to slavery in
They also went to Fort
Bullen, which was built by the British in 1826 to try to
stop the slave traders. Fort Bullen is a UNESCO World
|Week ending 7th
Sports Day at last!
This year there were 280 people from Sunrise and 92 from
London Corner and because of the large number involved,
sports day was held this year at the community field in
Bakoteh. Here are some of the participants ready to set out
for the field, a short distance from Sunrise.
The programme started at 10am and
continued till 4pm so as there is no shade in the field,
canopies were hired and erected to provide shade for those
who wanted to spend a little while out of the sun.
The participants were
divided into four kundas (houses) and winners in each event
gained points for their kunda. The tug of war is always
eagerly awaited and enthusiastically watched by many
After all the
races and the tug of war, with music helping to keep
everyone lively, it was time to go back to school and
present medals to the winners, pictured here.
When all the points had
been added up, the winners this year were Fran Kunda with
390 points, closely followed by Dawn Kunda with 384 points.
Tony Kunda were third with 358 points and last year's
winners, Kenny Kunda came last with 322 points. Here is Ali
Bah presenting the trophy to Fran Kunda.
After all the
excitement they were all ready to have a rest and eat the
meal of benachin provided for everybody. It looks like
Abdoulie is really appreciating his drink after the
exertions of the day!
|Week ending 31st March
This week we said goodbye to Chris and
Steve and thanked them for all their help during the last
few weeks. Steve, as well as many other jobs around the
school, has worked on finding and repairing all the broken
chairs around the school and making sure that the grade 6
will have enough chairs and tables when the new class starts
Working on the 'waste
not want not' principle he also made these water buckets
from old oil bottles used when Susan prepares breakfasts.
Chris usually helps in
the nursery, but during their last week Chris spent her time
in the library with our new library assistant, Ndey Amie.
Skills students have been doing more
batik practicals - due to the lack of light it is very
difficult taking photos in the bantaba without professional
cameras and expertise!
Nursery 1 have to be
introduced into handling books. This is something that not
many of them will see at home for books are very expensive
and few adults will read anything other than a newspaper. If
any visitors to Sunrise have room in their suitcase for any
strong cardboard books they would be much appreciated.
Nursery 1 again, but
this time practising for sports day. They were trying to run
round the bottle and back keeping a bean bag balanced on
their heads, with obvious enjoyment but not with a lot of
success in this case! (Bean bags would also be a very
welcome gift from any visitors)
|Week ending 24th March
A very successful fire drill was held.
Students of all ages walked out of their classrooms quietly
and lined up by the school exit. Teachers can be seen here
calling the registers to make sure no one has been left
Nursery 1 are
concentrating on threading the beads, they enjoy doing this
and although it may seem to some that they are just playing
they learn a lot from this activity and not just the obvious
skill of manual dexterity.
The Lower Basic girls'
manipulative skills are much more developed than those of
Nursery 1 but they enjoy working with these loom bands
brought by a GETS supporter on a visit to Sunrise.
Perhaps you can guess
that it will soon be sports day - not long now till April
Nursery 3 having fun as they take turns
at showing off their skills during a PE lesson!
And it wasn't only
|Week ending 17th March
We are now getting the uniform
material ready for distribution next September, when every
classroom at Sunrise will be filled and we will have about
400 students and staff at Sunrise. When Sunrise first
started we had 150 students and the 90 skills students were
able to tie dye and sew uniforms for everyone, numbers grew
larger so the skills students dyed all the material but only
sewed their own uniforms. Now we are at full capacity it has
been decided that the skills students will only dye and sew
their own uniforms and those for the staff.
Next September our nursery children
will still have yellow and white dresses and shirts, but
they will be made from checked gingham. Lower Basic
will still have red and white uniforms dresses and shirts,
but made from checked gingham. Boys' trousers and skills
skirts will continue to be brown.
All this material for
the new uniforms has to be stored somewhere till needed in
September, it has always been stored in the old office, so
this year new shelving has been provided to store both it
and other needlework materials and equipment tidily. This
photo was taken to show the shelves ready for use, but I
know it won't take long for them to be fully filled!
Meanwhile the skills
students are busy tie dying their uniform material ready for
A few weeks ago the
blog showed our newly set up library, we have now appointed
Ndey Amie Jobe to take care of the library and also books
and other general resources in the Lower Basic school.
Here she is working
with a group in the library.
Work proceeds slowly on
the staff toilets - builders always seem to take their time
- and disappear to other jobs!
|Week ending 10th March
Cathie McCartan, her partner, Tom, and
her two boys, Dougie, 14, and Kenny, 11, came to Sunrise as
Cathie wanted her boys to gain an insight into school life
in Gambia. They brought many pens, pencils, crayons and
colouring books for the school which must have taken up
quite a bit of their luggage allowance!
Our cookery teacher, Alimatou Jammeh, had
her skills students busy with spring cleaning everything in
the bantaba. Cupboards were emptied and everything piled up
in various places outside until she considered the bantaba
and its cupboards sparkling clean, ready for the
freshly washed equipment to be replaced.
Sunrise had their annual Ebbeh Day - a big
party day with non-stop very loud music and all sorts of
local food and drink for sale, A big notice was put on the
gate and everyone around was invited to join the Sunrise
students big party.
The skills students organised the party and
made all the food and drinks for sale. Ali Bah and Alimatou
Jammeh had worked with them on deciding what they would
make, buying the ingredients they needed and working out the
costings. so that at the end of the day they would make a
small profit, rather than a loss!
Ebbeh was prepared in large quantities as
well as other local dishes.
They also made many cupcakes, as these sold well last year.
Before the party got going tables were set
out with food and drink.
You can see the bottles of wonjo below and there was baobab
juice as well - dancing is thirsty work!
Then the party could start -- but
there are no more pictures after this as our photographer
feared for his hearing and let soon after the music got
|Week ending 3rd
Barbara and Barry
arrived this week. Barry is a trustee and will be visiting
Sunrise during the next four weeks, taking the photos for
the blog (amongst other tasks!) as Paul and Dawn will be
regretfully returning home until their next visit.
There has been a cold
wind every day this week. Skills students made a warming
green pepper soup, using the charcoal stoves.
eating the results!
The local welders, whose workshop is
only a few yards from Sunrise, have made lockable gates to
enclose the space under the bantaba table in the tie and dye
area. This provides secure storage space for the large pots
and bowls used in tie and dye and batik, which had been
previously kept in the old store room, now in the process of
being turned into staff toilets.
Walking past the empty
Lower Basic grade 5 classroom the writing left on the
blackboard from a previous maths lesson brought back
memories of schooldays.......
Further along the
corridor Chris was hard at work using sticky backed plastic
to cover all the 120+ text books we have just bought for
grade 6 to use during the next academic year. Next
September will see all our Lower Basic classrooms in use,
grade six having worked their way up through the school,
most of them having started with us in our nursery.
The Gambia Basic and
Secondary Education Course comprises textbooks for English,
Maths and Integrated Studies books to be used by Lower Basic
Grades 1-4. followed by English, Maths, Science and Social
and Environmental Studies for Grades 5 and 6.
I wonder which side
won the debate?
|Week ending 24th
Giles and Judy
Pepler visited Sunrise this week, they had been looking
forward to meeting the two skills students that they sponsor
and found them in Mr Darboe's class.
Mr Darboe was telling
the students that rubbish should be sorted. Rubbish is a
huge problem in Gambia, they have no official recycling
schemes or regular rubbish collections for householders.
Sunrise produces a lot of rubbish every day and our
caretakers have been following the usual Gambian practice of
heaping it all up and trying to burn it. Mr Darboe and some
of the students were sorting through a pile of recently
burnt rubbish to remove all the metal for a scrap man to
come and collect.
Skills students have
also been busy this week doing batik practicals. Two weeks
ago the blog showed Mr Darboe giving the students ideas for
patterns and below the class are starting to draw their
patterns on the white bazin.
The wax is melted on a
Now the students are able to add the
melted wax to the areas that they do not want to take the
colour when dipped n the dye.
Some of the other
students are mixing dyes with the help of Mr Darboe.
look at the work in progress!
patterns are hung on the line to dry in the sun.
As I was walking near
the nursery I saw pieces of paper on the sand weighted down
by stones, so being curious, I went to investigate. They
were by Nusery 1 so I asked Mbacho what the pieces of paper
were. As she thought they must be dry by now, she brought
them in and put them on the table in front of their creators
so that I could take this picture of their patterns.
|Week ending 17th
Wendy and Philip
Pulling came to Sunrise this week. As they sponsor a girl in
LB5 and a boy in LB3, they were delighted to have the
opportunity to meet them again. They also took met and took
photos of a student in Skills 2 who is sponsored by their
friend back home.
Lower Basic 5 have been
studying a balanced diet during recent science lessons. They
followed this up by studying three different meals, then
preparing and cooking them, with the help of their teacher,
Bakary Saidy, LB4's teacher, Fatou Cham and Skills' teacher,
First thing in the
morning they went to the market and bought the ingredients
needed, then took them into the bantaba to wash and prepare
Charcoal stoves were
set up outside the bantaba.
Everybody had a turn at
stirring the pots on the stoves.
Meanwhile these girls
were busy picking out all the unwanted bits from the rice,
ready for it to be cooked.
When all the cooking
was done, the pots went into the bantaba for a final stir
before the food was shared out between them all.
LB5 had great fun doing
all this, especially eating the results of all their work!
A big event this week was the opening
of our library, after a lot of hard work by various people.
We have had all the books stored away in boxes up to now, to
keep the books clean and safe. The first job was to clear
and clean the library, this was done by some of our skills
students. Boxes full of books are heavy so the boys were a
great help with lifting the boxes and reaching tall shelves!
With the library clean,
the boxes were returned to the library and Chris and Dawn
started to sort the books into categories.
The geography corner
The LB 4 and 5
teachers, Fatou Cham and Bakary Cham started displaying
books suitable for the Lower Basic pupils on the three lower
Books more suitable for
the skills students and teachers were put on the top two
shelves, then the workers had their picture taken in front
of the shelves ready for use.
LB4 and LB5 were the
first classes to use the library. Ndey Haddy, on the right,
imediately chose to start reading The Jungle Book as she had
seen the DVD at home.
Njange, seen here with
Ruth, was intrigued with the pictorial atlas
Skills 2 using the
library, with their teacher, Mr Bah.
A much longer blog than
usual this week because we took so many pictures!
A footnote - nursery
boys enjoying a game of football!
|Week ending 10th
of Mr Darboe's friends from Germany visited Sunrise this
week. Mette Christesen is the chairwoman of 'Nice to be
Nice', a charity helping a school in Kanifing.
We are beginning to
think about preparing for our Grade 6 starting in September.
Our last empty classroom now has the 23 tables for which
there was no room in the very full container of school
furniture and resources brought across by Carry Cargo about
two years ago. These tables came via Moneypipe, who will
send parcels and small loads in the containers they send to
The Gambia each month. Google these firms if you are
thinking of sending anything across to The Gambia, we can
recommend them. Steve is busy repairing any chairs broken by
students over the years so that there are enough for the
Grade 6 classroom.
Chris has been showing
the skills students how to crochet. Some of them are so
enthusiastic they keep their crochet in their schoolbags
ready for filling in any spare time! If anyone coming to
visit Sunrise could bring some more crochet hooks (or
knitting needles) we would be very grateful.
Mr Darboe has started
preparations for an approaching practical session for batik.
The class have been discussing and drawing various patterns
they could make.
Nursery 3, helped by
their classroom assistant, Binta Jammeh, are matching words
to pictures. After they have done this, the pictures are
taken away and the children use their knowledge of phonics
to sound out and blend the simple words like hen and box
without the help of the pictures.
In Lower Basic Grade 1
the children begin to read individually from a graded
reading scheme, Ginn 360. We are very grateful to the Welsh
school who gave them to us when they changed to a newer
reading scheme, and would welcome any additional Ginn 360
books to add to these. In the picture above, Dawn is hearing
the girl read whilst the boy is reading his book to himself,
waiting for his turn. As in all classes there is a wide
range of abilities.
Muslim children at
Sunrise also learn to read (and write) in Arabic. This boy
is chanting the words written on the blackboard in Arabic
and the rest of the class are repeating them after him.
While the Muslims in
the class study Islamic religious knowledge, the small
number of Christians go to a separate area to study their
Lower Basic Grade 5 were working on a
group project in mathematics. Their Gambian text book told
them that they had to pay various bills using postal orders
so they had to work out which denominations of postal order
they needed to complete the total amount that they had to
send to pay each bill.
|Weeks ending 3rd
Schools are now
almost back to normal after being closed due to the problems
following the presidential election. Tourists are beginning
to arrive again and Paul and Dawn are now at Sunrise for the
next four weeks.
Sunrise opened again on Monday and
despite lower numbers on the first day, the average
attendance at Sunrise this week was 90%. This picture
was taken around eight o'clock as students are arriving
ready for the start of school at 8.30 am
Builders have been busy during the
Christmas holidays and completed a new soak away to provide
better drainage from the bantaba - the sink below the tap
Susan is using to fill her bucket was continually
Having collected the water she needed
Susan went back to the kitchen to start preparing the
Breakfast time - here
is Fatou Nyassi handing out bread, (filled with a savoury
spaghetti mix today) to the nursery children as they help
themselves to a drink of juice.
The builders have also started work
on the toilets for the staff, extending the space occupied
by the old original storeroom. When we took over the
centre that was the only storeroom we had, now there are
several at different places around the school.
Work in progress!
And in nursery 2 as
Apologies for no blogs yet this term, due to the current
political problems in The Gambia and the absence of anyone
available to take photos. Hopefully the blog will continue
next week, when Dawn and Paul plan to be in The Gambia.
Meanwhile if you know anyone who would like to sponsor a
student at Sunrise, here are the photos of some students
currently seeking sponsorship.
Fattmatou Abdoul Azeez
Lower Basic 1
Lower Basic 2