Monday 28 December 2009

Bob's Here!

The Christmas team left today - it was a really good team, and what made it even better was that my husband was part of the team! Bob is staying on for a while and we're looking forward to having our new year celebrations at No 2 River Beach.

I've not been too well for the past week or so - I think I can blame a dodgy burger that I had in a hotel restaurant. I've hardly been able to keep anything down since last Tuesday! This afternoon I was really bad, but I seem to be over the worst of it now and at the moment I'm feeling much better.

Work is coming along at the site and the team worked really hard making blocks on site.

We had a lovely Christmas day with the team first of all at King George then later at International Dove

Thursday 10 December 2009

RIP Kiwi

Bob called early this morning to tell me that my cat Kiwi has died. He was up late last night and she seemed ok when he went to bed, but when he got up at 05:30 she wasn't waiting for him in her usual place, so he called for her and when she didn't come running like she usually does he went looking and he found her dead by her bed. I've had her 11 years and I feel so sad that I won't see her again for another cuddle.

All is going well here in Freetown - we've been preparing for the next team and are going to take a couple of days out. Jill is going to the beach in Sussex and I'm going to visit an orphanage in the provinces.

I'm especially excited about the next team as Bob (my husband) will be one of the team members, it'll be his first time in Sierra Leone and I'm so looking forward to him finally coming here.

Monday 30 November 2009

In Between Teams

Here's a picture of the Novemer team with some of the children at King George. They left us just over a week ago. We had a couple of days rest at Banana Island at the end of last week and now we are getting ready for the December team.

I've just about got my voice back now and I've recovered from the cold.

This week we are hoping to take delivery of the minibus that was shipped over and get it registered so that we can use it for the next team.

Monday 23 November 2009

Hassan's Eye

This is Hassan, he got hit in the eye with a stick while he was playing with his friend. His father bought him to see us 2 weeks after the incident. He's in a lot of pain and can't see out of the eye (the left one). We arranged for him to be seen at the Kissy Eye Hospital. He's seen a specialist who is giving treatment which will continue until 14th December, then they will operate on the eye. We don't know yet if it will be possible to save his sight. His father is going to contact me again in a week to let me know how Hassan is getting on.

Sunday 22 November 2009


The foundations for the main building at the City of Rest site at Grafton have been laid! The November team achieved a lot on the work site and I think they enjoyed working with the builders. The team left on Friday - the photo on the left was taken just before the team left site for the last time.

When the team left on Friday Jill and I waved them off in Kissy then spent the afternoon working at the team house. Yesterday I spent most of the day catching up with office work, and today we had a really nice day at Bureh Beach.

Saturday 21 November 2009

Baby Margaret

Last Wednesday the lady who looks after Abu came to see me because her baby was ill and she couldn't afford treatment for her, I was able to give her enough money to get the baby to hospital for treatment - it was thought that she had malaria. On Thursday the mother came back again in a real state because the baby (Margaret) was having convulsions.........we arranged for her to go back to the hospital and she was put on a drip and kept in overnight. Sadly Margaret died in the early hours of Friday morning - she was 8 months old. My heart goes out to Margaret's family and I wish there was more I could do to comfort them.

I don't know what else to say for now......

Saturday 14 November 2009

Digging In

The team have cleared the land where the main building will be going at Grafton and have almost finished digging the foundations - the picture shows some of our ladies getting on with the job.

Tomorrow we will be going to Church in Kissy then spending the afternoon on Bureh Beach.

The boy with the burnt hand (Mohamed) had his operation earlier this week and I'm waiting to hear how he's doing. If he's not back in Kissy by the time the team go Jill and I are thinking of going out to Lunsar during our time off to see him and check on his progress.

I've caught a stinker of a cold and have almost lost my voice - but it's holding out so far!

Tuesday 10 November 2009


Margaret is a little girl I met in April when she was badly burned by boiling water. The pictures below show how bad her burns were and how well she healed. Ever since I first met her she has cried whenever she sees me....I think because she associated me with the pain of the treatment for her burns. Today was a different story - when she saw me she shouted my name and ran into my arms for a cuddle!! After a long and tiring day it was just what I needed and really made my day - I'm so glad she's finally forgiven me!

Monday 9 November 2009

The Team Have Arrived

The November team arrived safely tonight and we transferred them by ferry over to the Hotel 5/10 in Kissy. The team will be working mostly at the City of Rest site in Grafton, we are going to start work there tomorrow with some land clearance in preparation for the foundations for the main building.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Mohamed's Hand

This is Mohamed, a couple of months ago he was playing with his friends when he fell into a fire. His hand was badly burnt - his index finger and middle finger are fused together and the next to smallest finger is fused to his palm. His whole hand is twisted inwards towards his wrist. His mother bought him to see me this afternoon as she'd been advised that he needs an operation to open up his hand. The operation would normally cost 600,000le (£100), but the hospital have agreed to take 400,000le (about £67) - this is still far more than his mother can afford, and this amount is just for the operation itself, the aftercare will be on top of that. The family have been trying to get the money together so that Mohamed can have his operation and one of their neighbours suggested I might be able to help. Luckily just before I left the UK a very kind couple gave me some £ to be used as and where I felt it would be of the best benefit, and I just knew when I saw Mohamed that the money should be used for his operation. We've arranged for the little boy to be taken to the hospital on Monday so that the operation can be arranged. Please pray for Mohamed as he goes for this operation.

Friday 6 November 2009

10% or 90%?

Here's Abu in a new outfit that I bought over for him.......his t-shirt says '10% Good, 90% Trouble' - he thought it was really funny and that I'd had it printed specially for him!! I think he looks really good! He's decided that he's going to save the outfit for Christmas (he only realised today that I'll be here for Christmas and he got quite excited about it!).

Thursday 5 November 2009


I was left speechless today.....something that doesn't happen very often. I visited the Mahaniam home for disabled children in Grafton to drop off some rice and let them know that I'm back in the country. A familiar looking girl in a school uniform appeared in the doorway and very slowly made her way towards me. I had to do a double take - it was Ramatu and she was walking!! She has joined the school in class 3 (3rd year primary school). She is looking so well - she was able to walk from the doorway to me very precariously unassisted!! Then after saying hello she walked back to school with the help of a pair of crutches.
I was so suprised - I had to keep looking at her to make sure it really was her!! The progress she has made since March is amazing and I'm so proud of her for the strength and determination she has shown - she's an amazing girl.

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Back in Sierra Leone......again

I arrived back in Sierra Leone on Sunday night with Jill - we stayed at the Mahera Beach Hotel in Lungi the night we arrived then got the first ferry over to Kissy on Monday morning.

We went straight to the staff flat to unpack then started work getting ready for the first team who'll be arriving this Sunday.

It was great to see the kids again. Abu has been great although I've not seen much of him yet as he started at a new school in September so he's not around the compound so much.....he does seem to be staying out of trouble though which is definately an improvement!!

Yesterday we visited the Abdulai Hosetta school for special needs children - they were so welcoming and it was lovely to spend a little time with them. We're going to be visiting there with the team next week - the children will be so excited!!

Today we spent some time going around the King George VI home for the elderly chatting to the residents - then I had to head over to town to sort out my internet access and have a meeting with a couple of other charities to make sure that we're not duplicating our efforts.

Tomorrow we are going to Hastings to review the new accomodation block, then popping in to drop off some rice at Mahanaim, followed by a quick 'hello' at St George Foundation....after that we'll head over the mountain road into town to get the remaining shopping needed for the first team and to stock up on first aid supplies. We're also going to call in at City of Rest to introduce Jill and catch up with Heleen - it's going to be a busy day!!

Friday 30 October 2009

Start of a New Campaign

I'm going over to Freetown this coming Sunday to get ready to host the teams for the new campaign, we have a new staff member (Jill) who will be working with me and we are travelling out together. The first team, a group of 13 British volunteers, will arrive a week later.

We're hoping to start work on building a chicken farm at the City of Rest site in Grafton with the first team and we also plan to paint the new accomodation block at Hastings.

We're going to have a very busy first week before the team arrive, among other things we have to visit all the projects, open up (and clean!) the team house, arrange a full program to keep the team busy, have the vehicles serviced, employ in-country staff etc etc etc
.......but before I can do any of that I need to get packed - no-one who knows me well will be at all suprised to find out that I haven't started yet, I'm hoping that Bob will do what he usually does and sweep in tomorrow and sort it all out for me.

I need to get to the shops to stock up on essentials for my trip - jammy dodgers, mini cheddars, chewing gum, pasta shots - you know....all the important stuff!!

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Ramatu 2009

Things have changed a lot for Ramatu this year. When I arrived in Freetown in March I went to see Max who runs the Epilepsy Association for Sierra Leone, he told me that Ramatu's family had stopped feeding her again and that she was in a bad way. He knew of a home for disabled children in Grafton called Mahanaim that he thought might be suitable for Ramatu. I went with Max to meet the Melrose, the lady who runs the home and between us we arranged for Ramatu to go to live there.

The photo above on the left was taken a couple of days after Ramatu arrived at Mahanaim in March, the one above on the right was taken in in June after she'd been there around 3 months.

The first time I saw Ramatu this year was a couple of days after she was taken to live at Mahanaim - she was very underweight and malnousrished.

She settled in there quicky - this photo was taken a week or so after she arrived.......that day was the first time I'd ever seen her smile!!

These photos of Ramatu wearing a scarf were taken in April. Week after week I was able to see her slowly improve. After about a month she started talking - she has a very quiet voice (it hasn't been used much during the years she was kept locked in a room on her own) but she can make herself understand......she calls me Alice! She has put on weight and is now able to stand and can even walk a little with a frame. Ramatu's best friend is another girl who lives in the home called Mariama who has polio and has been in the home since she orphaned as a baby in the war. Mariama helps Ramatu with washing and dressing - they get on really well and are always together!!

Since Ramatu moved into Mahanaim her mother hasn't been in contact or visited at all - it seems her family have washed their hands of her.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Sponsorship Trip.....and getting ready to go back

When I arrived in Freetown at the beginning of September it was raining......and it continued to rain for pretty much the whole trip - I've finally experienced Sierra Leone in the wet season (allbeit the tail end of it). The whole place was a lot less hectic and a lot more subdued than usual - this is probably partly because of it being the wet season, but also partly because it was Ramadan.
I was told that the flooding was particularly bad this year, with people losing their lives in a landslide in Kissy Brook and also deaths relating to the flooding in Kroo Bay.

The trip to work on the child education sponsorship program went really well - while I was there I was able to arrange the schooling for over 40 children, as well as having uniforms made and providing shoes, schoolbags and school supplies for each child. This included the children of our Sierra Leonean staff, some of the children of staff at the City of Rest and some children from the area we work in in Kissy.
I have plenty more children who need sponsors - email me if you want more information!!

I'm going back over to Freetown in November as Country Manager for Mission the teams of short term volunteers who will come over between November and January. This time I'll have a lady called Jill working with me - she visited Sierra Leone on a short term trip in 2006.

We're having a 15 seater minibus shipped across for use in-country, and we still have the landcruiser - I don't know if the teams will be relieved or disappointed not to be crammed into a poda poda!

Also posted at

Friday 4 September 2009

Back to Blogging

I've been really bad at keeping up my blog lately. Apart from the post I made about my Dad I've not posted since 1st June!! I got back to the UK mid-June and my Dad was admitted to hospital not long after that.....since then I've been travelling between Portsmouth and Stevenage visiting my Dad and I've not been in the right frame of mind for posting.

I'm going over to Sierra Leone this weekend for a couple of weeks to set up a child sponsorship program that I've been working on. I'm matching up people in the UK and US who are willing to help with a child's schooling in Sierra Leone with children who need sponsors. If anyone who has been to Sierra Leone with Mission Direct wants to sponsor a child please contact me.

When I get back to the UK I'll be going straight from the airport to Center Parcs for a family holiday - we're all sad that my Dad won't be there with us this year, but we've decided to still go and have some family time.

Although I've not been there much I'm still enjoying living in Portsmouth. Just today I head a racket outside and when I went to investigate say the Red Arrows doing a display. I was able to watch it all from our roof terrace - I love living in the city as there is always something going on. Last weekend we went to a kite festival!!!

I've not got much news from SL.......Abu has a nasty wound on his head - he told me that he's fallen down but when I investigated further it turned out that he'd be trying to hit his friend but missed and headbutted the wall behind!! Maybe that'll make him think next time he gets it in mind to hit his friend!

Also posted at

Thursday 3 September 2009


Sadly my Dad passed away on 13th August 2009.

He had struggled for a long time against his various illnesses.

My sister and I were with him when he slipped away peacefully.

I miss him so much.

Also posted at

Monday 1 June 2009

Farewell to the final team

Our last team of the campaign left on Friday, 9 of the team were from Texas and there were also two Brits. This team worked mostly on the new accommodation block at Hastings which the US team last year started. They also painted the last remaining mens sleeping area at City of Rest in town and did some work at the new City of Rest site in Hastings.

Becky will be going home on Friday and I leave the following Friday - it's going to be a busy last couple of weeks shutting everything down and tying up loose ends.

I've really enjoyed my time here this time around and feel like I've got to know everyone so much better. I don't for sure when I'll be back, but I know that I won't be able to stay away for long. I'm going to miss the kids here so much when I go home. I'm looking forward to seeing Bob and my family though and getting back to some English food. I'm going to work on Bob when I get back to the UK and try to get him to visit Sierra Leone with me later in the year.

Saturday 9 May 2009

More Goodbyes

I've been saying goodbye again - this time to a volunteer team. Most of the 3rd team left yesterday, although 5 of the team of 12 went on to a pastors conference in Lumley where they will be until next Wednesday. As always I was sad to see the team leave and it seems really quiet here now with just me and Becky here.

We spent today at King Georges doing office work and sorting through the aid left by the team. I had promised to give one of the boys (Lamin) computer lessons which we started today - he'd never used a computer before, but he's picking it up really quickly so I don't think it'll be long before he gets the hang of it. By the end of the lesson he was getting used to the keyboard, had setup an email account and had sent his first ever email.

Yesterday morning I took the team to visit Mahanaim before they left - I think everyone enjoyed the visit and the kids there love the attention they get when we visit. Ramatu is continuing to improve each time I see her. The picture here of Ramatu taken the first time I saw her stand. She is so much happier now, she has friends at Mahanaim and is taken care of and gets food every day - I'm hoping that eveuntually she'll be able to go to school. Sadly Ramatu's mother hasn't been in touch or been to see her since she went to the home over 6 weeks ago. Becky and I are planning to go to Church with the children from Mahanaim tomorrow.

We have a few days work to prepare for the next team who arrive on 22nd May, and then Becky and I are going to take a couple of days off - we've not decided yet whether to go to the beach or to head off into the provinces.

Friday 1 May 2009

Team 3....Margaret & Abu

Here's a photo of Margaret, the girl who was burnt with boiling water - her burns have healed so well. The only problem is that she seems to relate the pain she went through with the burns and the treament to me.....and so is scared of me! It's great to see her out of pain and to have healed so well.

The 3rd team have been here since Monday - we've had a couple of days working at the Grafton City of Rest site with them, working on the generator house and digging the well. Today we went to City of Rest in town and cleaned and painted two of the mens dormitories there. This afternoon we visited the Leonard Cheshire home and sang with the children there and then played some parachute games. We have twelve people on the team altogether, 5 of which will be leaving us next Tuesday for a pastors conference in Lumley......leaving us with a small team of 7 for the rest of the week.

The Abu situation is much the same as the last time I posted - he's still staying with another family (Shaka's family). Once the team have gone I'm going to have a chat with Shaka's Mum and see how she feels about having him stay there and if she's happy to have him long term - he seems happy there and so far seems to be fitting in ok and is being looked after.

Friday 24 April 2009

Bye bye Brian

Today Brian who I've been working with over here is leaving to go back the the UK - we worked together here in November last year and then again for the last 6 weeks. I've enjoyed working with Brian and I'm going to miss him. As Brian leaves another staff member Becky will be arriving and will be working over here with me for the next 6 weeks. It's going to be a long afternoon and evening.....I'm getting the 17:30 ferry across to Lungi with Brian so we need to get down to the ferry port by 16:00. Becky's flight is due in at 20:30 and I'm hoping that we'll be able to catch the 22:30 ferry back to Kissy.

We said goodbye to the second team a week ago today. While they were here they were able to start work on the generator house up at the City of Rest site at Grafton, and the digging of the well has also started. When the team left we spent a few days getting things ready for the next team and then we had a couple of days break at Number 2 River Beach. We came back to Kissy and back to work yesterday afternoon. The third team will be arriving on Monday so Becky and I will spend the weekend getting ready for their arrival.

It's around halfway through my time here and the time is just flying by, it will be June and I'll be back home again before I know it.

I'm worried about Abu as I recently found out that he's not being allowed to sleep at his aunties house but has been staying at another boys house.....his aunty says that there isn't enough room for him anymore. I'm hoping that by the time I go home that he'll be living somewhere more stable.

Monday 13 April 2009

Quick update

My time online is very limited so unfortunately this is going to have to be a very short update.
The girl who was burnt with boiling water whose picture I posted in my last update is doing well and her burns are healing very well......much better than I'd expected.
Ramatu is so much happier in her new home....a place called Mahanaim. I spent some time with her today and she was laughing and talking, playing with the other children. She was even able to stand up! There has been a massive improvement in her over the last couple of weeks. I'm hopeful that when she is stronger she'll be able to go to school. Her mother hasn't been in touch at all since she was taken to the home.
Abu is doing well, although he always seems to be in some sort of trouble or other. He got to know one of the team members in the first team well and was really upset when he left.
We are around halfway through the second team at the moment, we have a nice mix of people in the team and I'm enjoying getting to know them. Yesterday we went to church and spent the afternoon at Bureh beach. Today half the team worked on site at Grafton while the rest of us visited Mahanaim, we are planning to show the Jesus film somewhere near Shell Junction.

Monday 6 April 2009

Settling into Life in Freetown

I've been in Sierra Leone now for just over three weeks.

The first few days were spent preparing for the first team, then a week after I arrived we went back over to the airport to pick the first team up.The trip didn't get off to a good start when we couldn't get their luggage to the hotel until the day after they arrived, but apart from that it was a good trip
I enjoyed getting to know everyone on the frst team and I've missed them since the returned to the UK last Wednesday.

While the team was here a young girl was bought to us who had been badly burnt by boiling water - we were able to get her taken to hospital and get treatment for the burns and I'm hoping to get an update on her from her Mum during the week. The girls name is Margaret and she is around three or maybe four years old.

I have some good news about Ramatu - she's now living at a home for disabled children called Mahanaim in Grafton. I've been able to pop in to see her a few times and she is much happier there.

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Getting Organised / News from SL

With only 12 days to go until I fly out to Sierra Leone most of my time is taken up getting organised for the trip. I think I am almost on top of everything now.....except that I still have some shopping to do for clothes for me and first aid for kit we use for the teams.

What with my own stuff that I'm taking, and the things I have to take over for the teams, and bits and pieces that friends have asked me to take over for people they know over there.....I'm getting very close to my 40kg baggage allowance!! I think I'll have to enlist Bob to help me with my packing as I tend to get quite stressed about it!

The Weightwatchers free trial went well - I lost half a stone! I'm still on the chunky side, but very pleased to have lost some of it. I should be able to lose a couple more pounds before I go. The online version of Weightwatchers is really easy to use and it was easy to stick to and lose weight with.......if I were staying in the UK (and if I had a paid job!) I'd probably have kept up the subsciption and become a paying member.

Recent News from Sierra Leone

I have recently heard from the EASL (Epilepsy Association for Sierra Leone) who told me that Ramatu is slowly getting stronger, but she is still unable to stand unaided. Her mother is starting to take some responsibility for her and is trying to earn money for food for Ramatu. As soon as I have the opportunity I will go to visit her so I can see for myself how she is doing. I'm praying that there will be an improvement on her condition from when I saw her in December.

Abu's school uniforms were ruined....completely unreapairable, so he's having 2 new uniforms made for him. There is a chance that he might be able to go to live with the teacer who looks out for him.......where he's living at the moment there isn't enough room for him and the people he lives with don't want him. When I get over there the teacher will show me where he intends for Abu to live and if it's suitable we'll get that arranged as quickly as possible - if it works out I think this will be for the best for Abu.

Also posted at

Monday 16 February 2009

Getting Ready for Sierra Leone.....Again

Wow, it's already halfway through February and less then 4 weeks until I go back to Sierra Leone again.......time is just flying by!

I'm going over to Freetown again on 15th March. Joining me on the Mission Direct in-country staff team will be Brian who I worked with over there at the end of last year and Tina, a new addition to the team. We'll have a week to settle in and get prepared for the 1st team who will arrive on 22nd March. During the time we're there we'll host 4 teams of volunteers who will each join us for just under two weeks. I will be staying in SL until the middle of June.

The next couple of week are prety much taken up with me getting ready for my trip. I can't remember which clothes I packed away and which I gave away just before I left Freetown in December - so I don't know what I need to buy clothes wise. I'm going to have a shopping day one day next week to try and get my clothes shopping done all on one go.

I've signed up for Weightwatchers Online who are giving a free two week trial at the moment. I lost a lot of weight with weightwatchers a few years back, so I know that it works. I'm hoping to lose about half a stone or so before I go away, which should be do-able in 4 weeks. I've put on weight since I left SL in December so I am bracing myself for the comments I'll get from our partners there: 'oh, haven't you got fat - you're even bigger than last time!!'. If I can lose a few pounds before I go I might not get quite so many comments!

The main project that we'll be working on during this outreach will be building the new centre for the City of Rest in Grafton. The City of Rest is a residential centre for people with drug/alcohol abuse issues or mental health problems. The teams in November started work on the site by helping to clear the land and making blocks for the perimeter wall.

Also posted at

Thursday 29 January 2009

Ramatu Update - December 2008

This is an update about Ramatu, the epileptic girl we found in laying in the street in May 2008. You can read about how I first met her here: Ramatu

I was able to see Ramatu again the day before I left Sierra Leone in December. I had visited the EASL (Epilepsy Assocation of Sierra Leone) the day before on the off chance of being able to see Max who had helped me with Ramatu back in May........Max was at a conference in town, but changed his plans to arrange to meet with me.

We headed into town, then went off in foot around the East End Police area of Freetown. It was about a 20 minute walk through a market, down alleyways, then a steep climb down between the houses until we found the room where Ramatu was.

The room was very dark (these photos were all taken with flash, sorry for the bad quality of the pics!). Ramatu was sitting on bare concrete on her own just inside the door. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw her - she was even more skinny that the last time I'd seen her! Because she was too weak to stand on her own she wasn't being given food in the hope that would prevent her from soiling on the floor.

Word soon got around that a stranger was in town and all the neighbours came to see what I was there for......and someone sent for Ramatu's mother. This was the woman who was with Ramatu when I found her back in June, and although we'd presumed she was Ramatu's mother she went told us later that she was het aunt - during this visit she did admit to being her mother though. Since I went back in June one of Ramatu's step-siblings had died and her step-father blamed Ramatu for that and had been trying to prevent her mother from seeing her.

She had been being given her medication and she was fitting a lot less than the last time I saw her.......only one fit in the 4 or so hours I was with her compared to 5 or so back in June. In some ways it's good that she did have a fit while we were there because it gave Max the opportunity to show the neighbours how to take care of her when she fits and they were also able to see that Max and I weren't afraid of her or of catching anything from her.

While I was there Ramatu asked me for a biscuit so we sent one of the onlookers off for some crackers and a drink for her. She was able to eat and drink a little.

Rather than leave money for food this time around we had a bag of rice delivered to the house. We also arranged for a mattress for Ramatu - we're hoping that whoever shares the mattess with her will assist her to the toilet if she needs to go on the night. I was also able to arrange for her medication until April along with vitamins. Max is also going to keep an eye on the situation.

I was very shocked by the condition of Ramatu she is so underwight and malnourished. She is very weak and still unable to stand without assistance. She was being left to sleep on a bare concrete floor. I couldn't believe my ears when I was told that she wasn't being given food in case of her messing the floor.

I spoke to Max last week - he has been to check on Ramatu recenty and told me that her mother is taking better care of har and is also selling some things in order to be able to get food for Ramatu. Max is going to keep me updated with her progress.

Thank you so much to the people whose kind donations allowed me to be able to buy a mattress for Ramatu as well as food and continuing medication

Also posted at

Monday 12 January 2009

What does 2009 hold for me?

I've had a very pleasant start to the year - my Dad come to stay with us for a week over the new year period and since he went home I've been taking it easy. It was nice to be able to spend some time with my Dad, and because Bob hired a mobility scooter for him we were able to get out and about a bit..........Bob and I walked miles, trotting along beside that scooter!! On the last night Dad was here we went for a really nice Indian meal - we went to the Bombay Bay in Southsea Marina - I'd recommend it!!

I'm really enjoying living in the city and it's nice to have so much within walking distance. There are some local shops just down the road, but even the town centre is only about a 30 minute walk away.

We have quite a bit of work still to do on the house in Herts, but we're hoping to get it on the market and hopefully sold this year. I really don't enjoy house anymore and just want to be rid of it now.

I'm planning on going back to Sierra Leone in March as part of the in-country staff team with Mission Direct helping to run the teams of short term volunteers again. I'll be there for 12 weeks or so this time. I'll be there from March until June and Brian who I was there with in November will be there for the first couple of months. I'm waiting to hear who else will be on the staff team with us. There are 4 teams scheduled for the time that I'll be there - I know a quite a few of the people who will be coming on the teams, so it'll be great to spend time with them again and to get to know the people I don't know yet.

Until I go away I'm going to be taking it easy at home, enjoying the flat and taking my time to get ready for my trip.

I really don't know what I'll do when I get back to England in June - I don't know whether I'll be planning another trip overseas or if I'll spend some time in the UK and go back to work for a while's hard to make plans as I just don't know how I'll feel when I get back from Sierra Leone. With the kids over there that I take care of it'll be hard for me to spend too much time away from Freetown......and I'm still hopeful of getting Bob there one day.

So.....I have the first half of 2009 planned, but have no idea yet where the second half will take me - but I am looking forward to finding out!

Also posted at

Thursday 8 January 2009

Happy New Year (I know it's a bit late!!)

I'm sorry I've not posted for so long. I tried to add another update while I was in Sierra Leone, but the server was down at the internet cafe the day I tried and I just didn't get the chance to log on again. I ended up staying on in Freetown a bit longer than planned as our vehicle broke down while the second team were there and so I stayed on to ensure it was fixed and tie up some loose ends. It was good that I was able to have a few extra days there as it gave me the chance to track down Ramatu (that's going to be a long story so I'll post about that another time).

I came back to the UK on 6th December and the following weekend Bob and I moved to a new flat in Southsea (which I am loving!). By the time we started to settle in Christmas had arrived - we had a quiet Christmas at home, just the two of us which was lovely. My Dad come to stay for a week over new year and he went back home this past Sunday - so I'm only just now catching up on everything.

I loved being in Sierra Leone again - it was hard work and very tiring, but I loved it! I lost my voice completely at one point - but glad to say it's back to normal again now! I enjoyed both of the teams of volunteers who came out during November - they started work on the new City of Rest site at Grafton and also cleaned and painted and the current City of Rest in town. The City of Rest is for people with drug, alcohol or mental health problems and it was good to be able to spend some more time there and get to know some of the residents.

One day a boy I'd not met before turned up and showed me his belly.....he's been bitten by a dog, so we got him to hospital and paid for rabies and tetanus jabs for him. About a week later he came again and he was burning up, crying and saying his head hurt. I was concerned that it was something to do with the dog bite and thought maybe we hadn't got him treatment in time, we got him back to the hospital again who diagnosed typhoid. By the time I left he was well on the road to recovery. Poor thing was really sick there for a while.

I had a really upsetting time with Abu - he got badly beaten by his uncle with a badly that we had to take him to hospital. He had an open wound on his head and a big swelling on his leg (I thought it might be broken, but it turned out not to be). Everyone was shocked by just how badly he'd been beaten. A few days later I found out that Abu was sleeping in the street - I guess because he was too scared to go home. Abu's teacher spoke to the family and the uncle came and apologised and has promised never to beat Abu again and Abu has agreed to sleep in the house. I really don't know that to do for him for the best but for now Abu's teacher is keeping an eye on him while I'm not there, and when I go back I'm going to look into finding somewhere else for him to live.....if that's what he wants. When I left he asked me to put him in my pocket and take him with me......

I hope everyone is having a happy, healthy new year and look forward to hearing what you've all been up to.
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