The Free Internet Cafe for the Blind & Visually Impaired, the first in the whole of Africa, which opens the World Wide Web, making The Gambia a leading light in Africa, with this technology by allowing free and total access to surf the net send and receive emails and for students to enhace their studies with the aid of this pioneering software. No more do they need to rely on a third party to read to them newspapers, magazines, books, letters and world wide information. Kingfisher - The Story

Gambian leader says thank-you to Kingfisher Trust. H.E the President says thank-you to Kingfisher Trust . 

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An East Anglia Daily Times Exclusive Story


travelled to the Gambia, thought the generosity of Instone Aviation - International Marine Travel Agents, and Simon Wezel, Founder of Kingfisher Trust,who strated the Aminata Appeal for an exclusive behind the scenes look at live in rural Africa. We bring you the first of two special reports from the West African country highlighting the problems faced by six-year-old Aminata and showing just how vital plastic surgery will cure her deafness and give her the chance of a normal life. Doctors and nurses at the st.Andrew's centre for plastic surgery in Billericay have offered to perform the operation free of charge and in their own time and are backing our campaign to raise money to cover the costs of Aminata's stay in hospital.

LITTLE Aminata Sawaneh lives in the sort of tiny rural village duplicated a million times all over Africa.

life in Sukuta for its 7,000 inhabitants is difficult. The majority scratch a living from the parched soil under either a fiercely beating sun or torrential rain, depending on the season. other earn their basic wage of £15 a month by making beautifully crafted tables, chairs and beds from tropical hardwood, trading in clothing and radios or hustling tourists. it is a hard life and the meagre money they make is often needed not only to feed their own partner and children, but also up to 15 uncles, aunts, cousins and in-laws which make up the extended family.

it is an unforgiving lifestyle, one based on long hours, hard work and continual struggle. Good health is a basic necessity for success and survival.

Aminata's village is made up of dozens of "compound" -basic concrete house with corrugated roofs and each with five rooms for up to 20 family members.

They have no electricity or water and are only accessible down dusty tracks lined on each side by 6ft high plantations of couscous or pampas grass. women dressed in the bright. oranges, greens and yellows of the traditional Gambian costume can be seen daily collecting water in plastic buckets and proudly carrying them home, perched high on their heads.

The compounds or plots of land are scattered haphazardly across the countryside, fanning out from the centre of sukuta village, which is up market in the sense that it had a local maternity unit, mosque, primary school and market. Even to the outside it is immediately evident that at the heart of sukuta, like every African village, is the market. it beats daily and pumps life into the surrounding village.

At about 6am farmers and traders start their long trek though the heat and dust, by foot or rusty bicycle, to sell their fresh produce of fish, meat, peanuts, palm-oil, chillies, onions and tomatoes.

Hundreds crowd into the crudely roofed concrete market square, displaying their precious wares on scrap of worn material. often the sheer volume of sellers causes the traders to spill out onto the red dusty ground surrounding the official market place.

unlike western markets there is no mass production here. Each trader may have just three spring onions, two fish, ten tomatoes or a handful of chillies. He must sell these to make enough money to feed his family.

voices are raised high as traders compete with each other to sell their products. firewood painstakingly collected from mango swamps and the countryside goes for as little as 6p a bundle. Haggling is the name of the game and the emphasis on vocal communication both to buy and sell and to strike up a relationship with potential customers, makes it obvious why a child facing deafness had such an uphill struggle in Africa A warm, firm handshake and the passing of pleasantries are not just a greeting in the Gambia, but a traditional from of address that is vital for respect and friendship. the local market is frequented by nearly all the village's

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