MBG Volunteer Phoebe's Blog

Had a lovely relaxing day at the beach last Sunday before starting at the school. There is a lodge we like which serves a delicious buffet on Sundays, like an English barbecue! The last week has been fun but quite tough. Have spent the mornings shadowing teachers at school and learning how things work, so we are past the exciting 'holiday' way we spent the first week!

The school works very differently from ours.. The headmaster is incredibly strict. In assembly on Monday morning there was led Islamic prayer and then led Christian prayer. After that the children sung the national anthem, received a lecture on cleanliness and all the girls got kept behind to have their uniforms checked for being too tight ( the one thing which is similar to England)! Sophie, Duncan and I had to stand up and introduce ourselves to the school. This caused laughter and chatting, hopefully in a curious rather than malicious way.

Read more: MBG Volunteer Phoebe's Blog

Follow MBG Volunteer Duncan & Phoebe's Blogs

Three St John's school leavers are currently on a 3 month volunteer placement in Gunjur working as teaching assistants in the local Lower and Upper Basic schools. Duncan is writing a brilliant blog recording his experience which you can follow at There and Back 2015. And Phoebe is also writing an equally great blog right here on the MBG website.

Find out more on volunteering in The Gambia Work Placements in Gunjur.


Free speech comes with responsibilities

Letter published in The Independent, 20 January, 2015.

I was in Berlin a year after the wall came down and asked an East German journalist how it felt to young people to now be free. He replied: "It's great – the problem is we don't know how to use that freedom."

My community of Marlborough has had a 32-year relationship with the Muslim community of Gunjur in The Gambia. In conversation with friends there since the events in Paris, they have said they are all appalled at the murders that took place, supposedly in the name of Islam.

At the same time, they are confused by the demands for the protection of freedom of speech when that speech is gratuitously offensive, not even humorous and is fundamentally about making money through the sale of a magazine.

Hands up, those who do not think that with freedom comes responsibility.

Dr Nick Maurice
Marlborough, Wiltshire