Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Thanks so much!

After the sponsored walk along the Newry towpath and the marathon in Edinburgh earlier in the year, as well as other gifts, a total of just over £1,400 pounds has been raised to help restore the school and medical facilities in the village of Gogo in Ivory Coast.

Some money has already been sent out to Africa to make a start at providing much-needed school desks for the children.

Thank you, everyone, for your generosity so far.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Edinburgh Marathon

Peter Briggs, our oldest son, is planning to run the Edinburgh Marathon on May 31. He is giving any money that he raises to the Aid4Gogo project.

If you would like to sponsor him, please hit the PayPal button on the right!

Thank you.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


click for larger image

1 April 2009

Located deep in the wooded savannah of northeast Ivory Coast, West Africa there is a small isolated region called Gogo.

Twenty five years ago, Gogo was an underdeveloped mud-hut village on a junction of four dirt roads with a population of about three hundred people. There were no medical facilities for the sick, a very limited supply of water and the government-sponsored teacher struggled to get six or seven students to attend school even though there were well over 100 children in the immediate area. As subsistence farmers the villagers, with limited tools, struggled every year to grow enough food to feed their families.

Between 1984 and 2002, in addition to their regular tasks of Bible translation, literacy and church work, Paul and Marina Briggs, along with other missionaries:

  • purchased text books for the school and helped provide housing for teachers, which contributed to a huge increase in school attendance;
  • built a medical facility, supplied medicine and trained local villagers in basic medical care;
  • provided an ambulance service to hospitals 16, 60 and 150 miles away for those more seriously ill;
  • repaired the village well to provide cleaner water for the people;
  • planted a mango orchard;
  • introduced oxen to the region to help the local people grow more food;
  • built a mill for the village ladies to grind their corn and millet.

Sadly, in 2002, a war broke out in Ivory Coast that has had a devastating effect on the development of the Gogo community. Paul and Marina had to evacuate the region. Educational, medical, telecommunications and travel infrastructure crumbled in the northern part of the country. Schools no longer functioned properly, hospitals and clinics lacked staff and medical supplies and telephone and postal networks were destroyed. Large sections of dirt roads in the region were also washed away during the rainy seasons.

After more than six years of civil strife, peace is at last gradually returning to Ivory Coast and things are beginning to stabilise, with UNICEF and government authorities and agencies returning to the region.

Paul and Marina are planning to go back to Ivory Coast in the summer of 2009 to help the villagers recover from the terrible effects of the past years. During the war, school books, desks and equipment were destroyed. The medical building was looted and damaged, with doors and chairs being used as firewood. The school and clinic buildings have also suffered from the effects of many years of neglect and extreme weather conditions.

There is an immediate need for desks and school books for over one hundred children who have enrolled at the school. The medical centre also requires basic medicines and equipment.

Would you like to help the school and medical facility to function properly again and be a help and service to the wider Gogo community, which now consists of many hundreds of people?

Do you want to play a part in rejuvenating this region which has endured such hardships?

Any help, no matter how little, will be greatly appreciated. Click here for more information.

Thank you.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Clean Water

Still waiting for a pump! 
Update, May '09 - Good news! A pump has been installed and is now supplying clean water to the whole community.

Village ladies still get most of their water from the local swamps and water holes

Local Villagers

Gogo School

School building in a sorry state of disrepair

Squeezing into every available space

Most of the school desks were burned during the war

'Blackboard' painted onto cement wall

Sum total of school books that were left after most were burned or stolen during the war

Providing some basic sports equipment

Leaky roof - rafters and tin need to be replaced

Medical Centre

Introducing new farming techniques

Adult Literacy

Teaching group of teenagers how to read and write in their own language

One on one

Newly trained literacy teachers

Having meal together with literacy teachers