Where to start……
Since coming back from the last fund-raising trip on Easter Monday, it has been incredible how besieged and battered we have been. It feels up close that we have never had such a difficult time since I arrived in 2000. Maybe it is because we are in the middle of it …
How in nine years have we avoided the health issues with which we have been beset in the last 18 months? Where can we start with taking on the corruption issues which we are daily encountering? I have almost forgotten that it was not health or corruption that brought me out to Sierra Leone.
I have always maintained that the large picture in Sierra Leone is overwhelming and I have to keep my eyes firmly on the small picture and I wish that were always possible.
This year alone, we have lost 3 students, each time it seems more pathetic and more unnecessary and reminds us of how extremely vulnerable we are in terms of health. We have a number of young British volunteers with us at the moment. One of them called me from near the Magbeni school [2 1/2 hours from Freetown]. His panicked question: ‘Who do you call here in emergencies?’ He had been sitting at the junction when a minibus banged into a 12 year old boy, failed to stop but injuring him seriously. Two days later one of our teachers lost his 1 month old, directly consequent on the mother’s ignorance and failure to give her husband key information which could have saved her baby. The same day one of our classrooms lost its roof when the beginning of rainy season wild winds hit. That night another teacher had his house broken into by armed thieves who removed all their property. I am dreading tomorrow’s news!
Meanwhile – we battle on – actually EducAid runs schools [that is what we really do!] and the quality of the education being provided continues to improve. The senior students finish their final public exams tomorrow. The leadership team are developing in confidence and competence all the time.