Sierra Leone Trip – January 2013 Day 8

20th January 2013 | Posted in Nigel's Blog

Day 8

Sunday and up bright and early, lie in so no need to be there till 6.00.  Get to airport to hear the plane has gone to Liberia!  Ironic snow at London and Fog at Freetown, now due around 10.30 here – we will see.  Coffee and return to e  mail.  One channel on the TV it’s like a Chinese equivalent of the BBC world service – where did that come from – is China now taking over news delivery here as it’s the third hotel I have seen where it is the only channel!

Walked back to the airport and the plane is about to arrive.  Met Francis who claimed to know Andy (a member of our staff 5 years ago!) Talked to VSO lady – lots of young kids coming in for 3/6/9 months in projects mostly up country.  They are linked to government and UNICEF.  Had a quick breakfast,( more coffee) in the brand new departures area – what a step up in facility. Then met Lamin and sent him in with some money to get trolleys and see people through.  Felt disappointed in him he had several clients and asked for money for the same things!  Got cold water and the team walked through.  The scrum began as 10 men all tried to claim they had helped load the bags.  Gave Francis some money for them, asked him to sort it and headed for the ferry.

Great bunch of people and 20 minutes later at the ferry.  It goes at 2pm so now a 2 hour wait.  Out of bus and surrounded by people, not threatening in any way and on the whole really welcoming.  It is quite a shock coming here the first time and surrounded by people with many disabilities.  Bought tickets only to find it led to a walk own a locked path.  Reminded to brief better on what to do faced with beggars who are very demanding to people first here.  Bought different tickets and took everyone for a drink.  Great to talk.  On to the ferry and then 45 mins across to Freetown area.  Watched as cars unloaded, one missed the ramp and nearly destroyed its axle.  One broke down at the bottom of the ramp, everyone very helpful blowing on their horns!

And so to hotel.  I had briefed on the water situation which people took well and soon freshened up.  We will have a prize for the best technique of washing from a bucket at the end of the week.  Rooms good though.  After such a journey they have done so well.  Alison briefed everyone over tea and coffee (very British) and then off to Lifelines, our main project.  Bread rolls and then heard 4 stories of young me who fought as rebels and lived to tell the tail.  Despite incredible atrocities they committed as teenagers, they have turned their lives around and now are great leaders over young men.

We walked round the site and the work to be done.  The English football was on as they sell entrance fees for people watching which helps the income.  Back to hotel and some space to unpack.  Drinks, dinner then unpack the aid.  I have never seen 10 people bring so much.  The  kindness of their friends, families and colleagues is almost overwhelming.  We have 11 projects and all will benefit – but the great thing as we sorted is that they will get stuff that really helps them and their needs.

Quick time of first impressions, everyone tired but noticed how friendly people were.  There was a real peace somehow that said, I don’t need to worry.  And so to bed.

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