Tuesday 12 November 2013

Remembrance Day Service

I was honoured to be invited, along with the current team of volunteers to the Remembrance Day Service held at the Cenotaph in Freetown. We were seated with the press in prime position to watch the ceremony. We started off in the shade, but as the sun climbed higher into the sky we ended up sitting in the blazing sun, and although we were quite hot and bothered by the end we all enjoyed the event and were very pleased to have been able to be part of it.
We watched the various dignitaries arrive, including the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. Once everyone was in attendance the ceremony started with Muslim Prayers, followed by a Christian Serivce led by my friend the Forces Chief Chaplain Lt Colonel MEA Kargbo and his team - his message was very well received. After the two minutes silence we had the wreath laying ceremony.
After the service I was honoured to be able to meet the Minister for Social Welfare and the Chief Justice, who invited me along to a training course she is setting up for the youth of Sierra Leone, which I'm very excited about. We also met the military attaché for the British consulate.
Later we spent the afternoon at the beach which was a great way to cool off after such a hot morning.
These photos show the arrival of the President, The President laying his wreath and Forces Chief Chaplain Lt Colonel MEA Kargbo


Friday 8 November 2013

Soaking and a Sunset

I'm still in Sierra Leone with Mission Direct. I currently have a team of 8 volunteers from the UK over working at the Nehemiah Project painting walls and laying a new floor.
I have my lovely friend Adele here working here with me and together we make up the staff team.
When Adele and I were preparing for the team last week we went to check out possible locations for the team debrief. We ended up at China Town in Lumley, where we shared a couple of star beers as we chatted over the day. As we sat there under the thatched umbrellas the sky got slowly darker and darker, until eventually the heavens opened. We decided to sit it out as we thought it would pass quite quickly. Soon the umbrellas were letting the rain through and we were soaked to the skin and the rain was so hard we could barely stand up to run for cover. There were three men and the waiter taking cover by crouching behind the bar, so we had to convince them to shove up to make room for us too. Eventually there was a break in the rain and we were able to make a dash for the vehicle, but by that time EVERYTHING was soaked! The photo of us doesn't do justice to just how wet we were.

We then headed to the Atlantic bar and restaurant for a meal where we wrung out our clothes out as best we could. While we enjoyed our meal the storm resumed and continued as we ate and chatted into the evening and we were treated to this wonderful sunset.


Ground Breaking at Waterloo

We have a team in country at the moment and we were all invited to the ground breaking ceremony at the AHS SDA Hospital in Waterloo for the new ward that will be build next year.
It was a very nice ceremony with the doctor and staff of the hospital, local chiefs, the president of AHS, Mission Direct, headmaster from the SDA school and people from the local community.
I was asked to give a short speech and also given the honour of being the first to break the ground.
I'm so happy that the project for the new ward is going ahead.

Dr David Koroma
Breaking the Ground

Dr Koroma Breaking the Ground

Monday 3 June 2013

RIP Mr Bangura

Sadly Mr Saidu Bangura, one of the residents at the King George VI Home for the Elderly, passed away at we weekend.

Many of our volunteers will remember Mr Bangura from the days when the King George home was in Kissy.

Saturday 25 May 2013

The City of Rest has Moved!!

In November 2008 we attended the dedication of the site at Grafton for the new City of Rest buildings. Many of our teams have worked at the new site and have helped with the land clearance, digging foundations, making blocks, laying blocks, plastering, painting and many other tasks.

In May 2013 the residents were finally relocated to the new site at Grafton!!

Finally in their new home!!


Pastor Ngobeh at the new facility

Monday 6 May 2013

Mr Charles - Update

Charles has continued to improve and was discharged from the hospital on Saturday. He is now back at the King George VI Home for the Elderly who were able to send a vehicle to collect him.
They have promised to monitor him and to let us have regular updates on how he is doing. His friends at the home were very pleased to see him again.
The home tell us that he is slowly getting his apetite back and they see a big improvement in his condition.
Please pray that Charles continues to improve.

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Mr Charles

Many of the Mission Direct volunteers will know Mr Dore, one of the residents at the King George VI Home for the Elderly - better known as Mr Charles. He is thought to be the oldest resident at the home with an estimated age of 84!
He has been quite poorly recently, he has an enlarged prostate and when I went to visit the home a few weeks ago he was in agony as he hadn't been able to urinate for around 5 days. The home had called the dispenser who treats the residents but he had been unable to insert a catheter. We arranged for Charles to go to the Adventist Hospital in Waterloo where they were able to catheterise him and make him comfortable. He spent almost a week at the hospital before being discharged again into the care of the King George VI home.
He still had the catheter in when he went back to the home and he was given an appointment to return to the hospital one week later. Unfortunately the King George vehicle was not available so he was unable to keep his appointment. On advice from the doctor the catheter was removed after a week.
Last week I went back to see how Charles was getting on and he was in the same situation again, unable to urinate and in a lot of pain. We took him to the hospital last Wednesday, where he was admitted again. When I went to see him on Thursday he was very poorly, he didn't recognise me, was very confused and agitated and he was obviously in a lot of pain - I was very worried about him.
I went back today not knowing what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. He very alert and chirpy, we had a nice chat and I've arranged to go and see him again in a couple of days.
I am concerned though about what will happen to Charles when he is discharged from the hospital, the home aren't able to give medical care and unless we can find a solution I can foresee him ending up in the same situation again and again. I am hoping to be able to contact his family so we can work out a care plan for him.
Please keep Charles in your prayers.
The photos below show Charles before he was admitted to the hospital and after he had been treated - he has given his permission for the photos to be used here.
Before admission to hospital
After treatment

Tuesday 23 April 2013

One Week On and Feeling Better

It's a week since I posted to say that I was poorly and I am feeling much better now. I still have pain in my right side and pain in my upper tummy when I breathe deeply - but nowhere near the amount of pain I was feeling this time last week. I'm still taking two types of anti-biotics, painkillers and various other medications, but I think I'm well on the road to recovery now. I still don't know what it was, but I'm grateful to be feeling better!! I will be going back to the hospital at the end of the week for the doctor to check me over again.
It has been a busy week with Nigel and Terry (the CE of MD and one of the MD trustees) here with meeting after meeting with various contacts, organizations, officials and friends. They leave on Thursday after which I am looking forward to some time off.
I need to visit the provinces, I have people I need to see in Kambia and Kenema and then I plan to have a few days off to relax at Tiwai Island - I want to get out of the city for a few days to relax and recouperate.
The way the teams have worked out this year my first day off since I got back from Gambia in February was to be the 15th of April.....but of course that was when I was sick! I am really looking forward to having some down time and to spend some time with my Sierra Leonean families - I do feel that I have neglected some of the kids since I've been here as I've not been able to spend any quality time with them.......I need to think of a way to make it up to them!
I really do appreciate prayers for my continued recovery - thank you!!

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Farewell to the Team - Hello Poorly Tummy

The Easter team left Sierra Leone on Sunday.....11 of them to head back to England and one to head back home to Romania. The team spent the two weeks here building the new toilet block for the Nehemiah Project in Kissy and also repainting the Palava Hut at the Adventist Hospital in Waterloo that Mission Direct built in December 2011.
One team member spent the two weeks with the staff and patients at the Waterloo Hospital, helping with admissions, taking blood pressure and observing the doctor as he did his rounds and other staff as they went about their duties - on the last day at the hospital we were given permission to observe an appendectomy operation......not something many of us get to see everyday!!
Since BA have taken over the BMI route between Freetown and Heathrow the flight times have changed - we had to leave the accommodation at 04:30 to catch the 06:00 ferry to Tagrin on order to be able to get the flight. I said my goodbyes to the team at the airport and as I made my way home for a much needed rest my tummy started to hurt......it slowly got worse until it was so bad that by half past two in the afternoon I was in bed......I stayed there until almost 4 o clock in the afternoon the next day, when I decided that I should see a doctor. It hurt when I was laying down, it hurt when I sat up, it hurt to breathe and it hurt when I coughed.......whatever I did it hurt! I've never felt anything like it before and as I'd seen an appendectomy just a few days before my imagination went into overdrive so I thought it best to get myself checked out. I went to the Adventist Hospital in Waterloo where the doctor examined me and arranged for me to have two injections and prescribed me some medication. Later that night I found out that Steve (my regional manager) had the same symptoms.....and while I felt sorry for him I was relieved that it wasn't just me - making it more than likely that it was something that we had both eaten that was giving us the problems.. It's now Tuesday evening and while I am still uncomfortable I am feeling much better and hopeful that after another good nights rest I'll be on the road to recovery.
I have the Chief Executive of Mission Direct and one of the Trustees arriving here on Thursday and I know that they are going to keep me busy so I need to be better by then!! Your prayers would be much appreciated!!

Thursday 11 April 2013

Nehemiah Toilets Update

The work on the new toilets for the Nehemiah Project is progressing well
Working on the cess pit

Building the cubicles

Friday 29 March 2013

New Toilets for Nehemiah

We have a team of 11 arriving on Sunday who will be building new toilets for the Nehemiah Project in Kissy. Nehemiah is a boarding home for boys, they also have a nursery school, primary school and junior secdondary school.....as well as a new vocational center that is currently being built.
We intend to build VIP (ventilation improved pit) toilets for them.
Here's a photo of the toilets they are using at the moment:

King George VI Update

The residents of the King George VI home have been in their new location at Grafton (right next door to our City of Rest site) for some time now.
Sadly quite a few residents that Mission Direct volunteers will remember from the days that they were in Kissy have passed away over the last year or so.
Mrs Edwards, a lady with very bad eyesight who used to be in one of the beds at the far end of the womens ward passed away last week (below bottom left)
Other residents who have also gone to be with the Lord include:
  • Kadi - the friendly youngish woman who used to often sit outside the womens ward
  • Fatmata - she had the bed just inside the door of the womens ward and a very strong grip when she held your hand (below top left)
  • Mr Roberts - the blind man who played the harmonica and sometimes came with Mr Charles to talk to the teams
  • Mr Paul - the old soldier
  • Onekai - the deaf lady who often sat on the wall opposite the team house (below top right)
  • Mariama - the small lady with gray hair who used to enjoy singing and talking to the children (below bottom right)