Julie’s aid to Gambia
A Barnstaple businesswoman and councillor has been inspired following a charity trip to Gambia – and is already making plans to return to the West African country in July. Julie Hunt joined a team from local charity Seedlings for Christ in March on one of
A Barnstaple businesswoman and councillor has been inspired following a charity trip to Gambia - and is already making plans to return to the West African country in July.
Julie Hunt joined a team from local charity Seedlings for Christ in March on one of its regular trips to take aid and assistance to the poverty stricken people of Gambia.
She was not looking forward to the heat, giant spiders and monstrous insects she would face, but was even more shocked by the extent of the poverty facing the cheerful, courageous people she met - and her own determination to do more to help them.
In July she plans to return to the area on her own with a shopping list full of much needed items, and begin the process of setting up a nursery school, something the region is greatly lacking.
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The original trip was an eye-opener. Julie had joined the group at the invitation of Ruth Kingdon from Barnstaple, who along with husband Martin set up the charity several years ago.
During the two week visit the group spent some time helping out at the Seedlings School in Serrakunda - set up by the charity - and working with the children sponsored by donations to study there.
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They also visited the hospital and distributed food, clothing, educational and medical supplies to extremely poor rural communities.
"It is very, very poor," said Julie.
"Some things were very poignant. You would see a piece of corrugated iron resting on wood and that was someone's home - and if people could go and visit Serrakunda Hospital they would never complain about our NHS again.
"I was shocked by the poverty, but quietly surprised how the people conducted themselves. As one man told me 'we have to look beyond what we have otherwise we would not cope.'
"But you have never seen people so happy - whatever they had they would share with you and everywhere I went the hospitality was overwhelming."
While there Julie ended up sponsoring three girls, Anna, Evine and Elizabeth, to go to school, as well as volunteering to help a young man named Salieu to go to college.
She added: "While there I met a man and lady who ran a nursery but were struggling and I felt God showing how I could help them. The youngsters have played heavily on my heart and I am returning to meet with this couple and see where I can help, because I believe the children of Gambia are the future but they need to be educated."
Julie is hoping the people of North Devon can help in a number of ways. Salieu is studying accountancy and she has appealed for donations of business studies or accountancy text books to help him on his way.
There is also a need for nursery age children's books and - due to the extreme prices in Gambia - she is trying to collect Canon inkjet cartridges to take back with her, models black 37 and colour 38.
The Dawson family from Marwood who featured in the Gazette last week after winning �1,000 at the Milky Way, have kindly donated �100 of their win to Julie's appeal.
If you can help, would like to find out more, or make a donation, call Julie Hunt on (01271) 850423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about the work of Seedlings for Christ at www.seedlingsforchrist.com.