Friday, August 20, 2010

The Gambia 101

The Gambia is Africa's smallest country, completely surrounded by Senegal (other than the ocean line), located on the western side of africa along the Atlantic Ocean. They are colonized by the Brittish therfor their countries language is english
however most are unable to speak it. You will find 4 different languages being spoken there which are Wolof, Mandinka, Fula and Serehuli. Most Gambian are able to speak 3 out of the 4 local languages but only 1 being their primary language.

You know how here in the States we get our own plate along with silverware can choose from eating a large array of foods and usually end up eating it in front of the TV, well in The Gambia it is for the most part completely opposite. All lunch and dinner meals consist of rice accompanied by some sort of sauce, cassava and okra, as far as meat is concerned you don't really eat it often, it is a luxury to have it. With that said they do eat fish
a lot, since they are right along the ocean and there is a river in the middle of the country that runs almost completely across there is plenty of fish to go around. The food is served in a large communal bowl, typically women eat with other women and men eat with other men. When eating you do use your hands but make sure to use your right hand only!

So you think you've never heard of The Gambia? Odds are you have somewhat heard of it, remember the movie ROOTS or Kunta Kinte? Well if you haven't already figured out where I am going with this, yes, ROOTS is based off of Kunta Kinte who is from The Gambia. The picture to the left is an island called Juffure Island, also known as James Island. Kunta, along with many other Gambians were held captive on this island until ships came to get them. They were bought and sold as slaves to Europe, Haiti, Jamaica and America. They have kept the island in the condition that is was in 200 years ago, it is really a touching experience to see the African side of the slavery that went on.

So, I know none of this was really about school supplies or anything that my actual project is for but I thought it may help to get a bit of the Gambian background, for you to understand where The Gambia is and what they are known for. Hopefully soon I will do a "The Gambia 102" for you because this does not even cover half of what makes The Gambia!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A discount & book bags!

Pizazz It! Scrapbooks, a wonderful store that I have mentioned before, is offering a 20% off discount on your entire purchase to those who bring in a donation of school supplies!! This has gone over wonderfully, I have had the small collection container there for about 3 weeks now and have emptied it about 4 times!! I know I say it in every blog entry but THANK YOU to everyone who has helped, I really cant say this enough.
If you are in the central Ohio area and love to scrapbook bring in a donation of school supplies for your 20% discount, this is going on until September 19, 2010.

This project originally started as a personal project, I wanted to be able to help out a school or 2 full of children who really needed it. I ended up opening up and extending this project to those who also want to help. I know personally I have always wanted to donate and help children but never knew which organization I wanted to choose and where exactly everything I donated would go. For that reason I started the blog, I want those who donate to see how happy the children are when receiving what you gave them, I want those who give cash to know exactly where it is going (you can even tell me specifically what you want it to go toward, IE: shipping, supplies, sponsoring a child to attend school). This week I went out with my stash of cash I had set aside and bought some book bags! Book bags are a pretty big deal to have there so I am really excited to see their faces on these!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And The Countdown Begins

Time is moving faster and faster each day! Only 4 months and a couple of weeks and I will be arriving in The Gambia, I cant wait! I have enough items to start packing my 2nd container, I plan on doing that next weekend. I will begin shipping the containers around the beginning of October so hopefully they will arrive around the same day that I do. My plans for when the containers get there are to meet up with Ian a peace corps volunteer leader over there who has been living in The Gambia for a little over 2 years now, we will be separating the school supplies and clothing donations I have shipped so that they can go to several different schools in multiple villages. I also have purchased chalkboard paint to repair and paint new chalkboards for the schools, I will be visiting one of the schools (if I'm lucky more) to help repair the chalkboards and visit with the children.
If you would like to donate or have any questions about donating feel free to e-mail me! Or if you would like more information about sponsoring a child to attend school for the year, suggestions or just comments please e-mail! I want to hear what you have to say