The village of Busura
The first contact
During the building of Palm Beach Hotel around the beginning of the third millennium, we had met a teacher called Alhagie Camara. He had come to work at the construction site in order to make money for his his school in the bush village of Busura, meaning ‘peace’ in the local tribal language. Alhagie had cordially invited us during a tea break to come and have a look at his life’s work. When we arrived there for the first time, there was a small building underneath a gigantic mango tree, viz. the nursery school. With only a few classrooms, scarcely any school materials and pieces of chalk and pupils who had to sit on logs of wood they had dragged out of the jungle, it is another school example of making do with what you have got!
We decided to give the little Busurians a hand as well and after some time we came into contact with the ‘FioKids Foundation’, who were looking for a new good cause for their Lent fund raiser and after some deliberation it was determined they were going to support us in Busura. In the course of a number of years, a diversity of projects was realized because of this new stimulus, so that you may see something on the school premises now that is exceptional according to Gambian standards. The complex comprises a nursery school, two primary schools, two ‘Skill Centres’ for learning a trade, a kitchen with a baking oven, real toilets instead of squatting-blocks, a shower, a water tower and a fence with a steel gate! Besides, all buildings have strong foundations and have been constructed with concrete instead of the usual, local (hence cheaper) ‘mudstones’, stone-shaped pieces of clay which are dried in the sun. Furthermore, all facilities on the premises are equipped with running, crystal-clear water and there is electricity, generated by means of solar panels.
During our very first visit, there was already a ramshackle construction on the site, which served as a simple First Aid post. Because of our interference and the sponsorship of – in this case mainly – the Dutch metal company NTS-group (formerly ‘Nebato’), it has developed into a regional health centre. Nowadays, babies are weighed and injected here and people can get simple things like plasters and bandages, so that they do not have to go to the nearest town on foot, which is about 10 to 15 kilometres away. So, the Nebato Clinic, named after her most important benefactor, is not really a hospital, but yet a very essential institute for people who have very little or no possibility of getting health care!
The official opening of the entirely fenced-off school complex and the Nebato Clinic took place on 30th April, 2009. The festivities for the opening ceremony were sponsored and so musicians, a stilt-walker (‘Mamaparra’), a bush man (‘Samayo’), a straw man (‘Kumpo’) and – of course – plenty of food and drink turned it into a memorable day for all villagers. In about eight years, a great deal of Dutch enthusiasm and effort established an educational institution which will benefit the population of Busura and its surrounding region for many generations! Please, surf to www.fiokids.nl. for more details and photos.