Published: May 17th 2012May 17th 2012
So I’m back in Basse again after a long stay in Kombos and a two week holiday back at home. I was really keen to get back to get on with my work and see my compound family again though dreading the infamous heat. I was lucky enough to get a lift up along with Lilli and Kebba in one of the Tostan vehicles (the organisation that Lilli works for). The landscape along the way is looking incredibly dry after 6 months without rain. The land is very bare with all the crops apart from the trees either dieing back naturally or burnt in bush fires. The poor cows look starved. We took the south road meaning we avoided the dreaded Banjul ferry and we also got to experience the beautiful new road that is fully complete between Soma and Basse. It’s been properly tarmaced making for a much smoother ride than it used to be.
I had a lovely welcome from my compound when I arrived though my house was not so welcoming. After nearly 2 months away the dust was unbelievable. Fortunately Adama and Neema, two of the younger girls in the family had a brush in their hand before I even got fully through the door and within an hour it was looking like my old cosy cottage again.
They’re not wrong when they say it’s hot here. On the first night I was pleased to have my two rechargeable fans though my room was still like an oven. I remember Duncan warning me that in the hot season the fan is like having a hot hair dryer blowing in your face. He’s right but it’s still better than nothing.
Last night I decided to do as the locals do and sleep outside. Although it was still hot, at least you didn’t feel like you were sleeping in a small box. However, after a couple of hours out there it suddenly started to rain. It was bliss! Not very heavy rain yet but the smell was wonderful. I could have stayed out there all night in it but the rest of the family ran inside. I didn’t fancy being out there on my own so I retreated inside to my little oven room. The rain continued this morning, only very lightly. Suddenly today the humidity is really high and I'm reminded that with rainy season comes sweaty season. I've had four showers today already and its only 5 o'clock
It's also mango season. I've been looking forward to this. The mangoes are ready in Basse long before they are in Kombo so I was even worried I might have missed them.The streets are lined with women selling piles of them ridiculously cheaply. They're practically giving them away. Today I discovered mango dipped in salt. Yum yum! It's nicer than it sounds.
So I have my first workshops at the weekend to train the teachers in the manual that I’ve written. Yesterday I visited the two schools that will host them to give them money for the food for the day. The one on Sunday is in the first school in the Upper River Region meaning it’s a good trek from Basse. I went on my bike which I’m pleased to say I can still ride after such a long time, and got to appreciate the nice new road again. Honestly, I’ve never been so excited about a road! I’m a bit nervous about these workshops. Teaching to 3 year olds is fine, you can tell them anything and they don’t know any better! Teacher to grownups is much scarier! Wish me luck!