Rogberay Village, Sierra Leone, West Africa
23.03.2010 - 30.03.2010 97 °F
Dear Family and Friends,
Hello from Sierra Leone, Africa! It's 7pm and it's 90 degrees. March is typically the hottest month of the year here, so needless to say, I've had to do some adjusting. After Easter, I will be transferring to a hospital in Freetown (the country's capital and largest city), but for now I at at the Emmaus Skills Training Centre in Rogberay Village.
Emmaus is a boarding school/orphanage/medical clinic that is still in the building phase. To pay for the building of Emmaus, they manufacture Hydroform blocks on site. These are cement blocks used for building which do not require mortar, like regular bricks. The people who are working here are locals called “trainees.” They get paid just under $2/day. Here they are trained in construction so that they can help manufacture blocks and build the necessary buildings on the site.
The project managers living here are a couple from Indiana. They have graciously offered to host me and two other boys who are here from England. I am in a house and have my own bed and bathroom, for which I am very thankful. Although we are without air conditioning and don't have electricity much of the day, I am living in the most lavish accommodations I have seen since I entered the country.
I have been helping around the house with cooking and cleaning and have also been doing some book-keeping. I try to interact with the workers as much as possible. The locals are so friendly and fun to be around. They have a great sense of humor. They speak Creole which has English roots. It's fairly easy to pick up on and I'm doing my best to learn as much as I can. Musu, one of the women who helps around the house has had fun teaching me how to balance things on my head. It's incredible to see what the locals can balance on their head. In Freetown, I saw men carrying 4x4 wooden pallets!
On Saturday, we went to Bureh Beach. It was so beautiful. To get to the beach, you drive through a village and pay one of the locals to walk you down to the beach and give you a sort-of cabana. Then you tell the local what you want to eat and he goes back to the village to tell the women. They prepare the food and deliver it to you about 2 hours later. It was so delicious. We had grilled Barracuda, fried yam, and rice with onion sauce. The whole meal was only 25,000 Leones, which is the equivalent of about $7.
When I first got picked up from the airport, it was too dark to travel out to Rogberay Village, so I stayed in Freetown for the night. Since I was there, I went and looked at the “hospital” where I will be doing some of my work. It consisted of 3 patient rooms, a medicine cabinet, and a “laboratory” which was a small closet with 2 of the microscopes we used in 4th grade in it. This particular one was a Methodist free clinic opened during the civil war in the nineties. Although the war ended in 2002, they have remained open to provide care to those who cannot afford it. Sister Lillian is a midwife there and said that they deliver about one baby per week. Right now they are campaigning for “exclusive breast feeding during the first 6 months” and “eating all different fruits and vegetables.” I'm excited to go do work there and experience even more of the culture, but am nervous to be away from the other Americans who are helping me adjust. I am just trusting in God to give me the strength to overcome the challenges I face and to keep me safe. I appreciate all of your prayers and support!