Block works in progress- a construction worker mixing cement, sand and water to mould blocks
Blocks moulded and ready to be used for construction works
Excavation of foundation trench
Positioning of baskets and starter bars & concreting of strip foundation
Positioning of baskets and starter bars concreting of strip foundation
Erecting super structure walls
Construction workers busy erecting walls
It’s just amazing the progress these men could achieve within a day! (compare this photos to previous photo!)
Concreting of beams & lintels
Erection of walls & concreting of beams
Erection of walls & concreting of beams 2
Building for a better future;
Most people reading this article will understand the mechanics of creating a new building. It generally involves architects, lorry loads of building materials, a myriad of different professionals, various bits of heavy machinery to put things together, and lots of cups of tea! It also tends to cost a small fortune.
Building work in Bansang is VERY different! There is no heavy machinery with which to dig foundations, or building merchants from which to buy most of the materials. Nearly everything (right down to the individual bricks) are made on the hospital grounds, and are laboriously put together in the unrelenting African sun.
Given these challenges, we are simply blown away by the speed with which this latest building has come together. Even more impressive is that the majority of the team (24 youths) were unemployed prior to this project. Just two months later, and they are already a cohesive team working from sunrise to sundown to get the project finished. The skills they will take back into the Bansang community will give them a great opportunity to earn a living for themselves, and their families.
Rather than us tell you all about the project, please take a moment to read the interim progress report that the hospital sent us. It is a highly impressive insight into the way these projects operate, and what they mean to everyone working at Bansang Hospital.
A big thank you to the British Plumbing Employers Council (BPEC):
We are incredibly pleased and grateful to have BPEC supporting this project via the BPEC Life Award. Founded in memory of BPEC’s founding Chariman, Raymond J Brooks, the award has a simple objective; to use plumbing skills to enhance life in the UK or abroad.
Although this project has yet to be completed, it has already had a dramatic impact. Our local contractor has taken 24 youths out of employment; giving them skills that are readily transferable, and a sense of purpose and pride that many of them have never experienced. When the project is completed, it will give our maintenance team a renewed pride in the vital role they have at the hospital. It will also allow them to operate far more efficiently and effectively – which will ultimately help everyone else at the hospital fulfil their own potential.
We are pleased to announce that the renovations are now complete at our Chief Executive’s house. Baba Jeng and his family have already moved in, and are absolutely thrilled with the incredible changes delivered to them through the support of our long-term donors, John and Janice Brotherton.
Those who have followed the story of Bansang Hospital over the years will know that these renovations are far from unique. They are in fact part of an extensive staff retention and motivation program that Anita has overseen for much of the last two decades. It has helped take our staff from living in squalor, to living in accommodation that truly reflects the magnificent contribution they all make to the health and well-being of their people. Valuing each and every member of staff has helped Bansang Hospital achieve the remarkable statistic of retaining almost 100% of its staff for more than 4 years running. To the best of our knowledge, this is a feat unparalleled anywhere in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Thank you again to John and Janice; you really have transformed lives over the years, and you have now given a real home to a truly remarkable chief executive.
You can help:
We have created a dedicated ‘Staff Retention and Motivation’ Campaign page on Virgin Money Giving. So if you would like to join John & Janice in supporting this fantastic project, please donate using the link below;
(We will be converting all of our website donation links into ‘campaigns’ over the coming days. We are doing this as we think it is important that you are able to choose exactly where your money goes. We also think it is nice for our staff in Bansang to be able to see your donations and the comments you leave on the donation page; it will hopefully highlight just how much support there is for Bansang Hospital from our international donors!)
To view our latest newsletter, please click on THIS LINK. Whilst you are reading it, please remember that the hospital would never have achieved so much without the ongoing support of people just like you.
If you would like to make a donation to support our future work, please click on the donate button below;
“Many burns and snakebite cases. Not going out at night as need to be careful. Changes [at the hospital] are phenomenal, great management. Hospital goes from strength to strength with staff now asking to transfer from RVTH [the main hospital in the Gambia]. All going so well.”
With the Ebola outbreak being just a thousand miles to the south, there is of course a risk to Anita (mum) as well as to all the staff in Bansang. However, I personally wouldn’t wish her to be anywhere other than where she is right now.
Diseases like Ebola – as always seem to be the case – affect the poorest people so disproportionately. At such times, I am proud to say that Bansang Hospital has been transformed into a robust, cost-effective and capable healthcare resource. I am quite sure that if it ever had to deal with such a terrible outbreak, Bansang Hospital would prove itself to be a strong and capable breakwater…a place that would continue to be a sanctuary for all Gambians that are in need, and a safety net for us all against such an awful disease.
So on behalf of Anita, thank you to everyone that has supported this charity over the years. It’s nice to know that in the heart of Africa, there is a hospital that has defied the odds – one which I trust implicitly to keep my mother (and your friend) safe.
Our apologies for not adding news in quite a while! However, Anita would like to share some exciting charity news. After much deliberation, the Scooters in the Sahara team have now purchased a Massey Ferguson tractor for the hospital. The farming package was completed via the purchase of a roller, harrow and plough (kindly funded by our wonderful long term supporters, Meg and John Townsend, and Peter and Michelle Bates).
Costing £14,000 including shipping, this tractor/plough/trailer/roller is going to help the staff cultivate a huge area of land donated to the hospital by a local village chief. The produce from this project will go towards providing the patients with a healthy and enriching diet. Any surplus will be sold in the local communities – with the profit going towards future farming efforts as well as funding medical services at the hospital.
The BHA is incredibly grateful to the Scooters in the Sahara team, Meg and John, and Peter and Michelle for making such a brilliant contribution. This is a project unique to Bansang Hospital. It is one which really has the potential to make Bansang that much more sustainable, and that much more able to cope with future challenges. It will save the hospital from having to rent the local tractor (which is terribly unreliable!)…and will also play a big part in various maintenance/construction projects that we have planned around the hospital site.
Thanks to all the individuals who made this project happen!