My fantasies of living with other like-minded souls in a large rambling Devon farmhouse, tending our own veggies, feeding the pigs, quaffing our latest home-brew etc etc have been severely knocked on the head once and for all.

Our commune is open to all from early in the morning until the wee small hours.  Gambians do not sleep much.  Fact.  Neither do we, it transpires.  Everything is fair game to the hordes of delighted kids who come in to play with our students.  We learn to tidy up after ourselves or kiss articles goodbye.  We have a store room for staff and students where both breeds can be found cowering in the semi-darkness to escape momentarily from the constant stream of humanity.  We try to make the beds, which are outside, sacrosanct territory, so that people can sleep when they want, but it’s like trying to kip on the hangar lane gyratory.

The staff do battle against the background noise of the kids as they try to deliver lessons on Theory of Knowledge, the laptop perched incongruously on a box.  We argue about the role of technology on this trip – it seems extraordinarly out of place and rather pointless on occasions.

I really don’t know when this photo was taken…

That’s more like it…

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