From the container arriving at our premises at Moorside, and leaving fully loaded, takes about 4 hrs. Not a mean fete considering that every item has to be “hand-balled” into the container. As you can see from the bottom middle photo we utilise every inch of available space.
It takes approximately 4 weeks for the container to arrive at our distribution depot in Farafenni. Usually we are allocated a dozen or so soldiers from the local barracks to help us unload, and in return we give them furniture, school materials, and medicines for the school, and clinic they operate at the barracks. The soldiers also keep a wary eye on the children and teenagers who turn up at the depot to see if there are any easy pickings.
As the container is unloaded, the items are segregated and put into other containers in the compound - desks and chairs in one, clothes in another, computers in yet another, and likewise with writing materials and other teaching aids.
Quite often goods will be collected straight from the container - to the right we see an ambulance which has come from the local hospital, to pick up medicines, and medical equipment, which have been donated by hospitals and doctors in the UK. Most of the medicines are given to us by National Health Partners, UK.
Unfortunately we can only send one or two containers each year, because of the very high shipping and transport costs - approximately £3,500 per container. Fortunately a number of people who donate materials for The Gambia will also make a monetary donation. We are always open to suggestions for ways of generating money for our coffers to pay for the containers, so if you have any good ideas, or can even make a donation yourself, please do not hesitate to get in touch.