An unusual engagement recently. Not often you get asked to work in equitorial Africa!
Bigger (but not by much) than the UK but with a population of 1.7 million, Gabon has huge tracts of unspoilt rain forest and jungle. It’s rich in natural resources too and oil has been exported from Gabon for many years. There’s a large Shell camp at Gamba supporting ex-pat engineers and their families, and where there are families there are schools. The Shell school – Ecole Yenzi – educates younger international pupils as well as the children of Gabonese employees at a higher grade. I worked with head teacher Martin Westbury last year in the Shell school in Sakhalin, Russia and he invited back again when he took up his new post. So, a very exciting trip was in prospect! After two flights via Frankfurt and Libreville, my final flight was delayed as both (!) planes had broken down. A replacement was found and took off just in time for us to arrive in Gamba in the light (no runway lights there!). Spent the next three days working with staff and pupils in what is a great school. Very gifted teachers and enthusiastic pupils. For example, I introduced the Beebot to the early years teachers and Gilles, in the French stream, used this with his young pupils. It was a superb lesson full of team work, problem solving and logical thinking. The children loved using iPads – still astonishes me how quickly and easily using these devices can be learned. Not a lot of time for sight seeing but spent some time in the jungle and on the beach – unfortunately the elephants, hippos and gorillas were too shy to appear. An evening session for parents was well attended and we had some great discussions about e-safety and children.
A memorable trip:)