Modou Saidy

moudous catchWhen Phil and Joan Feller visited the Gambia in November 2016 they were delighted to find that Modou Saidy, Lamin Saidy's son, had continued to do very well after his heart surgery in 2013.  Phil went fishing with him again and Modou was caught a large Captain fish.

Going fishing with Modou and his father  was the highlight of Phil's visit in May 2014 (see below). Modou was very active and healthy after recuperating from his operation - and was delighted to catch a nice Ladyfish which he cooked himself for the family's meal that evening.  

The Fellers were very grateful to all those who supported and took an interest in Modou and reported that he continued to well after his heart operation at Aswan in Egypt during Easter 2013. He was back at school and taking additional studies on Saturdays as well as enjoying cycling and being a young man.

During their visit in November 2013 Modou and his mother travelled to Dakar in Senegal for his first major check-up. After they returned Lamin, Modou, Joan and Phil went to the MRC Hospital (Medical Research Centre) where the report was read by Dr Suzanne Anderson. She had supported Modou throughout his illness and liaised with The Chain of Hope who sponsored his operation.

Dr Anderson was very pleased with the report and arranged for Modou to have the required antibiotics which he will need for the foreseeable future.

Read more: Modou Saidy

Goal Ball Court

goal ballWhen Phil and Joan Feller arrived in The Gambia on November 18 2017 the Goal Ball court was not only completed but ready for the official opening. It was virtually two years to the day that that they had received an invitation from Tony Wright, then the MP for Great Yarmouth, to attend a reception hosted by the UK Parliamentary Football Club at Portcullis House in London. At that reception they received on behalf of what was then the Friends of GOVI (now the Friends of Visually Impaired Children in the Gambia) a cheque to help develop sports facilities for disabled children in Africa.

The UK Parliamentary Football Club is an all-party group of British Parliamentarians based in Westminster which is sponsored by the National Grid. This club has raised thousands of pounds for charities at home and abroad over the years. At the presentation in 2009 Tony Wright said: It is always a pleasure to be in a position to donate to charities and knowing Phil and Joan's voluntary work in the Gambia with the visually impaired encouraged me to ask our football club to make a donation. I know the money will be put to good use."

Read more: Goal Ball Court

The Friends on YouTube

The charity has a collection of videos on YouTube uploaded from members' trips to the Gambia available on YouTube. To view these videos please visit Friends of GOVI on YouTube and remember to add ratings and comments to any videos you enjoy.

There are also playlists of videos collected from other users of YouTube which give an overview of life in the Gambia as well as its geography, culture and heritage.

Video of the children singing the school song
©2006 Ray Wright. Used with permission.

The Girl Who Barked

When Musa Mbye was 15-years-old he was sent from his home in the Gambia to Senegal to stay with a blind man so that he could learn how to beg. For most blind children in the Gambia that is the only way they can expect to make a living.

Mr Mbye is very honest about his profession as a beggar. He is also an important member of the GOVI rescue team. As chairman of GOVI’s district branch work he regularly visits outlying villages to make people aware that the blind and visually impaired are not useless members of society.

Read more: The Girl Who Barked

FGVI and the School for the Blind

This charity was founded in 1998 with the aim of raising funds for a purpose-built school for visually impaired children to be built at Kanifing, just outside the main town of Serrekunda, Gambia's largest town.

Until this was built GOVI's school for the blind and visually impaired consisted of two classrooms and a head teacher's office beside the Campama School in Banjul. Conditions at the old school were woefully inadequate, with a leaking roof and very little equipment, but the drive and commitment of the staff and the enthusiasm of the children were wonderful.

Read more: FGVI and the School for the Blind