The team of eleven students from St John’s School and Marlborough College were honoured guests at the inauguration of the new village market in Gunjur in The Gambia on Monday (July 30). The students had raised £4,000 to fund the scheme and worked hard to construct the main market hall during their month-long stay in Gunjur.
Gunjur has been linked with Marlborough for thirty years and they were the sixteenth group sponsored by the Marlborough Brandt Group to make the summer visit and work on a project in Gunjur since the first group went in 1985 led by the then Mayor, Nick Fogg.
The new market was brainchild of Gunjur’s Village Development Committee which drew up the plans. When the students arrived a month ago three smaller buildings had been completed, their job was to help build the main market hall which will be used by local small businesses, by village women who want to sell vegetables they grow and by local fishermen to sell their catch.
James Moran, one of the group’s leaders, told Marlborough News Online that the group are really pleased with the result of their hard work: “The whole village is really excited about the project. They say it’s the most needed project Marlborough students have worked on – which is why we had so much help from young people of the village. Some days there were three times more local people working on the building than us.”
At the inauguration ceremony the village leader, Alikali Sulayman Touray, praised the local volunteers and the volunteers from Marlborough. And the Chief of the Kombo South region, Mustapha Touray, thanked the students and said he hoped the bond between Marlborough and Gunjur will go from strength to strength.
The leader of the Marlborough students, Rosie Carter, told the local Gambian newspaper, The Daily Observer: “I am hopeful that the market will last a long time and that it signifies how vibrant our bond between the communities is. We have learned a lot during our stay in Gunjur, and I thank the people on behalf of my group for their hospitality.”
The group got back home late on Tuesday night (July 31) and on August 20 will give a presentation about their visit – for details see Marlborough News Online’s What’s On calendar.