We've been quite busy for the last week helping out with the Valuing Teacher's Research which is being funded by the NUT. Courtney, a VSO colleague, is running this research which looks into the contributions of unqualified teachers to education in The Gambia. We've spent the last week helping out interviewing teachers. It's been really good to get into some pretty rural school and speak to people. One young teacher I spoke to left school with no qualifications at all and is working in a very rural Madrassa school where there are only 2 classrooms and 2 teachers for over two hundred pupils. He was asked by the village elders to take the job as there was no-one else to do it and he will continue teaching until they find someone, although this could be years. He was incredibly motivated in such a situation and being in a Madrassa school doesn't get the same opportunities for training as some of the schools we work with, but spoke very highly of the training he'd had so far. Makes you think.
Last weekend Lucy and I went on a mission to collect a bamboo bed from Faraffeni. Emma and Carol brought the bed from Kerewan and we were to collect it and bring it back to Soma. I braced myself for a hellish day and was pleasantly surprised when the whole experience was actually quite enjoyable! There are definite benefits to living in a country where people are very used to strapping things on the roof of a car. One very helpful taxi driver somehow made a single bed fit into the boot of his car...
It's a dirty business using public transport up-country.
Any views expressed are my own and are not representative of VSO.