Sierra Leone Trip – January 2013 Day 1

13th January 2013 | Posted in Nigel's Blog

Sunday 13 January

Off the plane at 5.30 and new things keep appearing at the airport. This time was parallel queuing, so instead of try and pick the shortest line the passports we’re checked in an orderly manner. It just left lots of people outside and funny how you could just step across the ribbon and miss passport control altogether.

Then no longer can we get our own trolleys, we have to pay 20,000 (£3) for a porter. Through customs and the words “mission direct” meant a chalk mark on 1 case as we were waived through. Sullay our driver was there and realised we would need an extra vehicle at the airport to get all the people back as they have 3 cases each as bringing aid.

To the docks by 7am and a queue. Can’t get in as the man selling second class tickets has not shown up. Talked to Dowda, who had polio and poor crutches and his friend James, in a wheel chair. Both young men, teenage boys, maybe 14/15 who did primary school and now spend their days begging and sleep rough in the market. Such sweet spirits, yet no one to care for them. Felt a bit helpless as like so many here I felt I wanted to just adopt them. Disabled, no family or real education and nowhere to live – the story of many lives. The one thing I could do was simply give the a shirt each – they loved it, not much but for boys that beg to just live it was a moment of connection.

Ferry packed up, and amazing to have a seat. Comedian entertained the crowd, then loud TV and Muslim evangelistic film- the message on offer. Discussed Islam and Christianity for an hour with Alex, a Sierra Leonean man (maybe 35) who lived in the UK with wife and 2 children and come for 3 weeks to be with his SL wife. Seemed funny in such a young man. Discussed who Jesus was for an hour- he said to Alison that we agreed on 95% of things – she said I bet he didn’t agree on the 2 wives – maybe less than 95% but always interesting to learn in matters of faith. No arguments ever won, it’s all about attitude.

Landed and up to hotel. No power or water and dark room – OK Alison what have you booked me in to! Then breakfast arrived – cold egg – I said to the man who brought it please give it to someone you know is hungry – I will eat it he said!

Then off to church – went to All Nations first and joined worship. In fact I visited 4 churches in 2 hours. Each so loud it’s hard to move in any of them. Alison said she heard a documentary on how Africans can relate to louder music because of the vibration in their ears is different to mine! In one church I was positioned 3 ft from a very large speaker. So, the pastor the first church, Alphonse Barry, I had not seen for years but great to see how there was now a school on the site which started with a tin building. Then on to redeemed church – spoken there before and welcomed – chatted about progress in their school. Then on to Grace church – lots of noise not sure about the grace and finally to pastor Joseph at Christian Hope School. He wanted to introduce me and asked if I wanted to preach after the first bloke. Not quite time but great to see the progress he made. He was pleased that the land we paid for 6 years ago was now his!

Next to Lifelines to see how the base coming along. Prince and colleagues had all in hand and set up Thursday meeting to sort detailed plan as Peter will be with us.

Travelled to the west side of town and sat on Lumley beach. Hussain arrived to change money. He happened to know the minister of lands if I wanted an introduction! Introduced us to his friend. Then Andrew Sesay joined us, even though he was unwell with Malaria. Talked for 3 hours about his plans and projects and what God had done in his life. Amazing link to Terry Murphy ( a Mission Direct Trustee) and then met another friend David Metcalfe (from Dallas) when living in Brazil. Now employed by Heidi Baker Iris ministries but income remains a constant challenge as they look to develop an area just outside Freetown. Many notes made so much to think on.

Then on to Alexes, my favourite restaurant in Freetown. Met with Patrick and his wife for Dinner. Patrick is the MD of Joule Africa building a hydro- electric power station in SL. Has a real passion for low cost housing and immediately agreed to come with us to The British High Commission tomorrow. As someone who has built hundreds of low cost homes his insights will be invaluable. Inspiring new friend! Then home across town to bed – but the car broke down and needs a clutch fixing – eventually made it to bed

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