Sierra Leone Day 6
What a day today...it has been incredible emotional and we are all now back at the hotel emotionally and physically drained.
We left at 8.30am this morning to head off to Tombo. We took the mountain road and arrived just over an hour later. The new school took our breath away. It looks fantastic and Abs and his team have done a superb job. There are 8 classrooms, plus a library and an office. And a working toilet which is very unusual for a rural community. The school children arrived just before 10.00am and were fantastic. At 10 the ceremonies began and there were speeches, songs from the children and the adults, prayers and the formal opening of the school. It all took an hour and a half in seering heat. It was so hot!!! The school children sat so well and it must have been very boring for them and very hot!
After the opening we all had much needed drinks and the children were able to play around the school. The classrooms look great and have the school furniture that was generously donated by Harmanswater Primary School in them. To see the children sitting at the same desks that children at Harmanswater have sat on was quite something!
After all of that had finished we headed off to another even more rural community a few miles from Tombo to see the church and school that Regent Road Baptist Church are building there. It was deep into the bush well away from any main roads. The village was called Morcombai and the children there are having to walk 5 miles to school and 5 miles back every day...hence the new school. It was such a poor area. We met the chief of the village and 10 of his 17 children!
Then it was back to the city to the Freetown Cheshire Home where Abs grew up. Here our hearts were broken. The school needs a lot of work, but the children were amazing. Then around the back we met two small children (no more than 2-3 years old) who were ebola orphans. They had been pushed from pillar to post until then ended up in the care of the kitchen staff at the Cheshire Home. There was no paperwork or case files for them and no one even knew their names. The staff have given them the names Florence and Abdulai, but they have been so traumatised that they just sit and rock and cry. Florence was in a trance like state, just opening her eyes every so often. It was gut wrenching to see and reduced several of us to tears. We will definately be trying to do something to help.
Now back at the hotel I can still feel the raw emotion of the day. So much joy and excitement at the new school and it was so great to see the difference that it will make...thank you so much to all of you at EBC who made it possible, it really will make a huge difference to that community. But also so much heart break and the realisation that there is so much more to do.
P.S here are some photos from our day
The new school building ready for the opening cermony
The furniture from Harmanswater Primary School
Florence and Abdulai