Helping local children

  • Some years ago we visited The Gambia and prior to travel the tour operator suggested taking things like pencils and crayons for that purpose. Whilst there we met a couple who had been holidaying there for many years and had what they thought was a good relationship with a local school. They would arrange a meeting with the headmaster and hand over a lot of things they had collected from their friends prior to travel. However on one occasion they decided just to turn up at the school unannounced. They walked in and noticed that none of the children had any writing material of any kind. They went to find the headmaster, walked into his office and discovered storage cabinets stuffed full of all kinds of things which had been donated, but not distributed to the children. They walked back out, and discovered later that the headmaster had a nice little side line of selling these items to other schools and pocketing the proceeds. I'm not suggesting all, or even most, work that way, but it's worth bearing in mind.