Week ending 5th and 12th
Our good friends and supporters for many years; Rudy and Yolanda
Nachtegaal, from Holland, visited the Sunrise Centre on
Wednesday. They have been raising money back home to help us
with our sewing machine replacement programme and we were
delighted that they gave us three hundred and fifty Euros (€350)
to help with replacing many of our aging machines. Thank you.
Rudy and Yolanda also
brought lots of items for the school ranging from books, pens,
pencils, colour pencils, lever arch files, stickers, post-it
note pads, sweets, seeds, toys, wrapping paper, wall clocks and
They visited the
sewing room and took photographs with skills year two students
Sarjo Jarra and Nyima Sanyang.
They also took photos
at trees which they had sponsored.
The following week we
were pleased to see our Sewing Teacher, Fatou Bojang, who came
back to see us with her new born baby, Kura Jobe. Kura is
pictured sleeping peacefully and then with the proud mum.
Fatou has been on
maternity leave now for the first couple of months of a six
month absence, which all female staff are entitled to have in
The Gambia, just like many other countries.
The school breaks up
for an Easter break now, returning on 29th April for
Week ending 29th March 2019
One of the things that we were pleased to
acquire was thick rope. It is absolutely essential on our Sports
Days to test the strength of our very competitive youngsters and
use up a little of their energy,
One of the things
that we have been talking about for a long time now is the idea
of displaying and then parting with goods made within the school
(for donations). This type of shop starts to give the Skills
Training students real practical skills about what sells, for
how much and ideas about the quality required to bring in money.
This fits well with the fact that some students will leave
Sunrise to begin their own businesses and teaching about the
whole idea of "How to make a Business work" is a key learning
The Lower Basic 3
children have been out in the playground and measuring things.
This time it was sand and water. We have plenty of sand in
school but water has been a big problem recently with taps
either dry or running very slowly.
All of our Year 3
Skills Students are out working in business areas in the local
area around our school and we try and visit them at least once
during this 3 month period of work placement. Mr Ali Bah went to
see Kaddy Bojang (standing) and Jainaba Camara (sitting) in
their Tailoring work placements. Their supervisors almost said
the same; good discipline, punctual, hardworking, and
enthusiastic about doing tasks assigned to them.
Jainaba has already
been employed by her boss who said she's already an asset for
the business, sewing four dresses daily, which is an achievement
for both her and the business. Jainaba is now thinking about a
time when she might start her own business.
also said he will make a decision, before the end of her work
placement, about employing her when she leaves Sunrise.
Week ending 22nd March 2019
This week we were pleased to welcome Angela
Gourlay and Dean to Sunrise Centre. They had come to visit the
student whom they sponsor, Aboubacarr Badjie. Aboubacarr
is in LB1 now and is 7 years old now.
Later in the week we
had another school trip, this time for the Lower Basic classes
who didn't go up to Albreda last month.
LB2 and LB4 set off for the Camel Farm in Tanji
They boarded the usual
coaches and set off for the short journey (10 miles is a long
exciting way if you've never been on a coach before) to Tanji on
the Atlantic coast and the camel farm.
The camels feel right
at home in The Gambia where the sand is plentiful and it is hot
and dry for 8 months of the year.
children who are excited is a challenge that the Sunrise staff
do really well and local experts were pleased to explain all
about camels to the children.
From there the
children went off to the beach of course for a picnic, made and
served by our staff before they had fun and games in the surf. A
lovely day out for all.
Week ending 15th March 2019
The big event this week was a visit by the
Nursery school to the National Assembly of the Gambia (where all
the political leaders meet) in Banjul followed by a beach party
at the Poco Loco beach in Kololi, not far from Sunrise.
All of the Nursery
children went with teachers and other helpers on a coach to the
venue and lined up patiently for things to begin.
A staff member of the
National Assembly, Mariamma Sonko, conducted a tour of the
impressive building and answered questions before letting the
children sit in the chairs where the Gambian leadership make
party began with drinks and food, made by the staff.
Then the games
and paddling began in the warmish water (currently 23C) of the
Kololi beach. Note that the local sea water reaches nearly 30C
later in the year!
At the end of the
week we had a visit from Mr Nurudeen Mbye, pictured here, on the
right, with Mr
Mr Mbye, a former
Education Director at Sunrise, came to school to bid us a fond
farewell and thank everyone involved in Sunrise Centre for the
help and support he has received over the years.
He is travelling to
Frankfurt later this afternoon to embark on a new chapter in his
life. After many years of emailing universities all over the
world for scholarships along with his sheer grit and
determination he has finally managed to secure himself a place
at a university in Frankfurt to study International Law & Human
Rights for the next 18 months.
All the staff, students and GETS wish him every success in his
Week ending 8th March 2019
This week we found LB3 measuring the school
hall. Fatoumatta Singhateh (Classroom Assistant) helped Mrs Cham
with the whole class getting involved.
Jammeh (Cookery Teacher) has been teaching hygiene to the Skills
1 students. This usually means cleaning everything, whilst
explaining why. Keeping things clean in the sandy environment of
The Gambia is not easy.
The whole Sunrise
Nursery and Lower Basic schools dressed up to celebrate ahead of
Commonwealth Day. It was an absolutely wonderful effort by the
We all walked singing
and dancing around the local streets, to the surprise of the
locals and taxi drivers who all took pictures. During the
celebrations the children sang the national anthems of the
countries they were representing. The whole day was accompanied
by Mr Willams playing the drum.
Gambia was allowed to
rejoin the Commonwealth formally last year after a surprise
announcement in 2013 by the old administration (under Yaya
Jammeh) to leave.
The sign carried by
teachers said "A big thank you from Sunrise Centre and GETS for
Week ending 1st March 2019
This week we were pleased to entertain two
of our long-term supporters, Tom and Mary Ikin, who sponsor a
student at a local school in the nearby area. They brought along
their grandson William Livesey and his girlfriend, Eve, to see
us at Sunrise too.
and Eve visited our beautiful library to find out the reading
interests of the children before posing for a family photo with
Helen in the Hall.
Every year the Skills
students make their own uniforms. Starting with cutting out the
cloth (guided by Fatou Nyassi and Chris Humphries), this is the
trickiest bit because errors here can affect just how many we
can make from a single bale of cloth.
Colouring and treating
comes next, using red/orange tie 'n dye processes.
drying in the hot sun.
Sewing will be next of
course but that's for another day.
Elsewhere in Skills
Training, the students were mixing and cooking cakes.
Then icing them. Very
Week ending 22nd
are so grateful to Steve Humphries, seen at the back of the
group here with visitors to Sunrise last week, (from L to R)
Steve's wife, Chris, her daughter Selina and grandson, Joe.
Steve has been helping at Sunrise with lots of DIY jobs to keep
us going each day, as well as providing us with blog pictures.
We often forget the
important role of our cleaners who come into school most days to
improve our challenging environment. Our building is completely
tiled to aid cleaning but also to keep us cool of course too.
The pictures show the recently cleaned classrooms -
Skills Training (with
traditional school benches)
and Nursery 3
It is quite a
challenge to keep things clean and tidy, just like in most
schools but with extra sand everywhere!
Mr Cham, Education
Director, welcomed our new Cluster Monitor (School Inspector in
UK). Ousman Sowe will regular monitor our performance by
visiting Mr Cham and some of the Lower Basic classroom teachers
to make sure that we are doing well.
This week staff
organised a school trip for Lower Basic Classes 3, 5 and 6 to
the villages of Albreda and Juffureh and nearby Kunta Kinte
Island (formally James Island). This is a chance to visit the
Museum and try and understand a fundamental part of the history
of The Gambia. The children are pictured here with a model of
the island where slaves were held, as a guide explains the
Quoting from the web
site Access Gambia -
"The small Gambian
village of Juffure (also spelt Juffureh) became famous in the
1970s following the television release of the bestselling book,
"Roots", written by the African-American author Alex Haley, a
descendant of Kunta Kinte. The series told the story of Kunta
Kinte's capture in Juffure by slave traders and his subsequent
enslavement in America round 200 years ago." - see more at
Week ending 15th
This week Chris and Steve Humphries
introduced their friends from Denmark to the school at Sunrise,
they stay at Oasis (in Senegambia) every year on holiday and
often meet up with Chris and Steve. They came with their 2 boys
(on a first visit to The Gambia); from L to R Danut, Bastion,
Bjarne , and Vibeke Bangley
Danut is a teacher in
Denmark and wanted to see a Gambian school. They all said they
had a fantastic time with Chris as tour guide and they made a
donation to the school. Their final comment, "It was beyond
Jamila and her
partner, Ryan Rowlands, also made their first visit to Sunrise
and brought us some welcome resources.
We also had another supporter visit -
Diane Sheriff who sponsors Sally Gomez (LB4) and Ebrima Gomez
(LB3). She is pictured here with the children and family that
she helps - from L to R Diane, Ebrima, Mum with a little brother
and Sally Gomez.
We were also pleased
that Selina Henson (Chris Humphries' daughter) with her son Joe
came to meet the child whom they support. Selina and Richard
Henson sponsor "Momodou Alpha Nicholas Ntul". He is the son of
one of our teachers, Fatou Sanneh, and is otherwise known as Ba
Ba (Names in families can be very complex!)
We also had another
supporter visit; Diane Sheriff who sponsors Sally Gomez (LB4)
and Erica Gomez (LB3), pictured with the children and family
that she helps. Pictured from L to R Diane, Ebrima, Mum with a
brother and Sally Gomez.Below are Selina, Ba Ba and Joe .
We also caught
another picture of Selina and Joe posing with Diane.
We thank them all our
visitors - and all our supporters - for
their help with our work.
Week ending 8th February 2019
This week in Sunrise we helped by hosting a
Gambia wide vaccination campaign against meningitis, also
providing vitamin A supplement & de-worming for children aged 1
– 7 years. This included Nursery and some Lower Basic children
at our school. Workers from the Gambian Ministry of Health came
to Sunrise on Wednesday 6th February to carry out the
We are always
grateful to our volunteers who come on a regular basis to help
and support teachers in Sunrise. One such lady is Ruth Mcmeechan
who helps us every year. As a retired teacher, she brings a
wealth of knowledge to help staff and as a regular visitor to
The Gambia, Ruth is also much welcomed by all at Sunrise.
Keeping things going
in The Gambia is a challenge. The conditions are great for
holiday makers but mean that many things that we expect to last
for nearly ever, go brittle in the sun and eventually need
replacement. Our school tools box (or one of them) is an
We are now regularly
going through things that are now at end of life. An extra cost
to our charity.
Another reason that
holiday makers come to The Gambia is the magnificent bird life
that is all around the country. Some of the birds will be
familiar to UK visitors since they stop in their country during
their long migratory trips south from Europe during the winter,
returning in time for summer. Others are quite exotic and new of
course. This picture shows just few of the 600 species of birds
that populate the areas within 5 miles of our school. (Clockwise
Glossy Starling, Blue bellied Roller, Pied Kingfisher, Black
Kite and a Red Firefinch centred)
Week ending 1st February 2019
This week we were pleased to hear from two
of our supporters; Judy and Giles Pepler. They have both been
coming to see us in Sunrise for a long time now and we are
grateful that they help two of our Skills Training Year 3
Both of these students
are on attachment at present but Judy and Giles were please to
meet up with Fatoumatta Barrow (our Local Language Prefect),
sponsored by Giles, in a local tailoring shop in Sukuta (next to
sponsored by Judy, introduced her and Giles to everyone at their
family compound. Saikou (our Head Boy this year) is on work
experience at a new hotel in the tourist area.
Skills Year 2 have
been cooking again, making sandwiches and omelettes, using local
stoves (as they are called). These use charcoal to make an
intense heat and are seen on every street corner in The Gambia,
usually brewing green tea (Attaya). For more details see
They also had the
best china out to practice serving at tables in the hall, as
part of their course in bar and restaurant work.
Week ending 25th January 2019
we were pleased to welcome Wendy and Philip Pulling again as
regular visitors to Sunrise. Wendy and Philip sponsor Adama Dem
(one of last years' LB6 leavers) and current student, Bubacarr
Wally Jeng. They are pictured here, on the right, with Mr Cham
(Education Director) and Ramatoulie Ceesay (Admin Assistant).
Humphries has been helping us again, clearly enjoying his work!
This time painting blackboards with some UK sourced paint. This
produces a great finish as the second picture shows. Steve has
also helped us capture some great pictures for the blog.
the Bantaba, run by Mrs Alimatou Jammeh, was underway when Steve
popped in to catch the students preparing to start work and took
students often pose when they see a camera, as demonstrated by
Mary Harding (far left).
Week ending 18th January 2019
We have managed to find a new Classroom
Assistant to join us; Hassanaou Bah (in pink) was appointed to
Lower Basic on 7th January. She attended Kotu Senior
Secondary School from 2015 – 2018. She sat to the West African
Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and graduated in
2018. This is her first employment.
We are also
being host to Ya Abie Janko (in patchwork colours). She is a
student at Gambia College on their two year primary teacher training
diploma programme. She
started this programme in September 2017 and hopes to finish in
2019. She is on attachment at Sunrise Centre for T2 from January
– April 2019. Our very own Yassin Yammeh (one of our classroom
assistant)s is also doing her teaching attachment for the same
course at Sunrise and should graduate with her diploma in 2019
This week we had a
planned (and notified) Fire Practice. As it was the first this
year, we briefed all the new youngsters to make sure that they
understood. The evacuation took 5 minutes.
Sunrise garden has been cleared of weeds and is coming back to
life again. The delay this year was because of water shortages
on the whole site. Gambia has a much improved electricity supply
now but the next challenge seems to be water in some areas,
including our part of Bakoteh. The priority for water use has
not, therefore, been for the garden.
pictures show the latest crop of cassava that been planted and
beds prepared for other vegetables.
Week ending 11th January 2019
Happy New Year!
is the start of our second term of the academic year in the
Sunrise Centre and the middle of the tourist season now. We had
regular visitors to Sunrise on Thursday (from L to R) Joyce
Derry, Jane Derry, Tracy Hill and Christopher Hill. They brought
lots of resources, thank you.
Jane, Tracy & Christopher sponsor students at Sunrise and
Christopher is our Facebook administrator.
were delighted to welcome Chris & Steve Humphries back to The
Gambia this week. They are planning to come regularly to
volunteer again at Sunrise. Thanks again!
every night at this time of year we see beautiful sunsets down
at the beach. These are very short but spectacular when the air
is dusty because the sun sets really quickly in the tropics.
Our Cookery Teacher, Mrs
Alimatou Jammeh, is seen here with some of the lads in Skills
She finally received here
Diploma certificate from Gambia Tourism and Hospitality
Institute. Although she knew that she had passed the course last
year, she has had to wait patiently for the proof, now being