Sierra Leone Trip – January 2013 Day 9

21st January 2013 | Posted in Nigel's Blog

Day 9

Checked on breakfast, I bring extra supplies from the UK to supplement the hotel but their porridge isn’t that bad.  Then gathered and Peter led us in a thought for today, linking the stories of the Lifelines leaders (which are truly amazing they recovered from) to the film Les Miserable.  Team starting to bond.  So all dressed in work clothes at the site by 8.45.

Having thought everything was set, sort of went in to “oh no” mode when asked where the spades were to be told they hadn’t got any.  Soon the opposite proved the case and we put the team in 3 groups, painting, block making and laying block. Feeling more relaxed that is OK to hand around a bit and we don’t come in to a production process, soon everyone was with their building buddies and engaged in the work.  Block makers were told mix 18 and to 1 cement and after a hard mornings work produced 72 blocks.  The first coat of paint on the boys accommodation block had a bi of lime and tuned the building white.  The block layers each had some lessons and were soon getting the hang of it as the local guys mixed the mortar.

I became the water boy, encourager and acted as the liquid police.  It’s over 30 degrees and so many of our team were leaking like sieves.  Got to discuss a bit more about the school with the leaders.  Then lunch of a box of Kus Kus – very tasty actually and felt all had done a remarkable job.  It was then back to the hotel.  A bucket of cold water is so refreshing after the heat.  Thought I’d washed and then saw ring of mud on foot so did it again.  Then we split in to 2 groups.

The first went with Alison to St George Foundation street kids work.  It was unusual as there was a YWAM team staying there.  The children sang and team interacted well, learning perspectives of street life.

The rest of us met up with Patrick in town and after a diet coke in Crown bakery we met the urban planners at the mayor’s office.  We walked down the steep steps of the castle, slaves had walked centuries before.  Then to an air conditioned office and met Kurt from Holland who was a consultant town planner.  We learned so much and a real insight for UK town planner’s to see what was being worked on in Sierra Leone.  They were working to get a strategic plan ready for the summer and surveying the city of Freetown.  We all came away impressed and I felt I had learned so much great input to develop a housing plan.  They welcomed our suggestions about social housing which will go in the Plan as it has been low on everyone’s agenda.  We did track down the 3 million euro feasibility study on Kroo bay so that will prove interesting.  In development there are so studies, but I wonder how many turn in to action.

One team member could not get his key to open the door to his room, so  the manager kicked the door in and then replaced the handle and lock.

We picked up Michael Green form the Joule Africa office, who is leading the YWAM team and his wife Jessica joined us from St George and we made our way through the traffic to Lumley beach.  There we met Major Moses and his men who did a SL cultural orientation.  An hour and half of interesting perspectives, including political, spiritual and social issues.  Perhaps most interesting as the Christian Muslim peaceful relationship here as the team asked if what is happening in Mali could spread here.  I asked a question and Moses gave a long answer.  Unfortunately I fell asleep during the answer and then he yelled  “You ask a question and fall asleep while I answer!”  Bit embarrassing.  I went in search of a restaurant as all the ones we expected to use shut on a Monday.  So headed up to Mamba Point and covered many issues with the team over dinner.  Then to take Michael and Jessica home was a 45 min detour on very rough roads but eventually made bed.

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