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 stick.......so 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.
also posted at www.minklemar.com

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