Alice ‘blown’ away by African experience

A MELBOURN student working with children in Gambia has been “blown away” by her experiences in the African nation.

Alice Phillips, 19, of High Street, Melbourn, has jetted out to Gambia to assist with the work of the Lisa Kent trust, which aims to help improve education in the east African nation.

Speaking to The Crow from her base in the village of Kololi, Alice said: “I’ve have been here almost a month already and my time here is flying by.”

Initially Alice spent her time volunteering at the Lisa Kent memorial nursery school.

“Words cannot describe what it feels like to have three classrooms of children charge at you all at once,” she said.

“I was absolutely blown away by these young children who were beaming at me and shouting ‘Tu-Pa’, which means white friend. I was swamped by these children touching and prodding my skin, touching my hair and saying how soft it was all giggling to each other.”

After a few days assisting in the classroom, Alice was joined by other volunteers from the trust, and set about painting the school buildings, as well as taking a few lessons themselves.

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They also visited the site of another school currently being constructed by the trust.

“It still needs alot of work doing to it but it was a really rewarding feeling to see and know exactly where the money i raised is going,” said Alice, a former pupil at Long Road XI form college in Cambridge.

“We saw some local boys around the area who cant go to school as they are too far away and you could see how much it meant to them. It was the small things like that, that have made it all so worthwhile.”

As we reported in February, Alice raised the �2,000 needed to fund her trip by holding events such as a quiz night.

She is now back at the nursery school, and said her time in Gambia has made her determined to return later this year.

“I already know i do not want to come home. I’m already looking at coming again in November,” she said. “I’d just like to say thanks once again to everybody that has supported me on my trip.”

For more information on the work of the Lisa Kent memorial trust, visit