Friday 26 September 2014

John 14:6

'Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'
John 14:6 NIV

This bible verse means a lot to me, it is the verse that led to to Christ.

Years ago I was on a train going through London when I saw the words "I am the way and the truth and the life" emblazoned across a building.  The words stayed with me and when I had the chance I looked them up........then forgot about them.

A month or so later it was Easter and the film Jesus of Nazerath was on TV, I heard those words again "I am the way and the truth and the life"

I started an Alpha course and I think it's during the first session on the video I heard Nicky Gumbel quoting "I am the way and the truth and the life"

Why did I keep seeing and hearing this, what did it even mean? It was popping up all over the place. It kept hearing it in my head, finding it on my mind.

Anyway, the long and short of it is, that hearing it on that day at the Alpha course made me decide that I would really give Alpha my best shot. That night I went home and started reading the New Testament,  I finished reading it the week the Alpha course which time I was ready to give my life to Christ.

"I am the way and the truth and the life" those words mean so much to me........funny thing is whenever I've been on a train in London since then I've looked out for that building with those special words.....I've never seen it again.  Did I imagine it? Has it been removed?  Was it there just for me to see? Who knows.......but I do know that those words have changed my life.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Being in the UK

I've been back in the UK for two weeks now and it's not been an easy transition.  I feel guilty for leaving my Sierra Leone family behind.  A lot of people have commented that I must have been pleased or relieved to get out of Sierra Leone.....well no, I'm not, I feel terrible about it.

I'm still shocked that there were no checks or information given when I came from Sierra Leone first to Belgium, then onto the UK. The flight was full, and any one of us passengers on that flight could have been exposed to Ebola, any of us could start having symptoma and be spreading the disease.

I will get the all clear from Ebola on 1st October. I'm not particularly worried as I'm quite confident that I wasn't exposed to the virus, but even so when I feel a bit hot, or get a headache the first though that comes to mind is that it could be ebola.  It is always with me in the back of my mind, like a black cloud looming on the horizon.

I'm still avoiding touching people. When I pay or take change in a shop I try to do so in a way that avoids touching the hand of the other person. I avoid brushing past people in the street or in queues. It is good not to have to be washing my hands all the time and I no longer smell of chlorine or dettol but I kind of miss that!

The three day lockdown helped to identify many new cases of Ebola and since then Port Loko, Bombali and Moyamba districts have been isolated because of the surge in cases. Other hotspots have been quarantined. 

While I'm in the UK the best thing I can do is raise awareness about the situation in Sierra Leone and continue to collect donations for rice for families to help them get through this crisis. Donations can be made using the DONATE button at the top of this page, please consider giving £13 for a 25kg bag of rice.

I travelled back to the UK to attend a family wedding,  but unfortunately they felt that having me there would be a risk to other wedding guests so I wasn't able to go. My husband took me away that weekend to Torquay to cheer me up and we had a lovely time, so we returned again the following weekend.  This weekend we are going to stay in a B&B in Buckfastleigh and we are planning to spend our time geocaching on Dartmoor. It sounds like the food at the B&B is going to be great, so I'm defiantly looking forward to that. 

Buckfast Abbey

The past two weekends we have visited Buckfast Abbey, a place where I feel great peace.  I'm looking forward to staying so close to Buckfast Abbey this weekend and to attend a service there. 

We don't get much opportunity to take holidays, so we've decided that when I'm in the UK we'll get away for weekend breaks as often as possible.

I have setup office in my husband's showroom so that I don't have to work from home. It works well and means that we get to see more of each other while I'm here.

I'm in daily contact with Sierra Leone. Unfortunately Obai wasn't able to keep his hospital appointment for his eye because the hospital was closed after a patient tested positive for Ebola. A nurse friend is going to keep an eye on him and if it starts to get worse again she'll get more medication for him.

When his grandmother died Obai had to leave the home that he'd shared with her. For now he's staying with another family in the same area.  I'm hoping this will work out and turn into a long term solution. His mother is alive but unfortunately it's not possible for him to live with her. He misses his grandmother terribly.

Please keep Obai and the people of Sierra Leone in your prayers

Wednesday 24 September 2014

James 5:12

'But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation'
James 5:12 NIV

It's never fails to amaze me when someone will ask me for something, then the next time I see them they'll remind me that I promised to do whatever it was they asked for.........I know that can't be true because I don't make it says in James I let my yes be yes or my no be no.

People who know me well know that I don't make promises. If someone asks for something and I am able to help, just saying yes is enough, there is no need for promises.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Lockdown & Rice

Rice Delivery
By time the lock down in Sierra Leone started on Friday the 19th of September 2014 we had purchased and delivered 135 bags of rice, that's a total of 3375 kilograms of rice!

The day before the lockdown the price of food increased dramatically, by evening time some items were seven times their usual price. The streets were crowded with people trying to stock up on food for the lockdown.

During the lockdown 92 dead bodies were discovered and a number of new cases of Ebola were identified.  More than 20,000 people made up small teams to carry out the house to house visits.  The teams educated households about Ebola and each household was given a bar of soap and a sticker to show they had been visited.
Thank heavens the lockdown was peaceful.

The staff at the Waterloo Hospital were released from quarantine on 17th September, but only had one day of freedom before the lockdown started. They are waiting to hear when they will be allowed to reopen the hospital. 

The need for rice is still very much apparent so I will carry on taking donations for rice and providing them to the families that need them most.  If you would like to make a donation to purchase rice you can use the donation button at the top of this page or contact me for alternative ways to donate. If you use the PayPal button to make a donation there is no charge if you send it via your PayPal account,  if you use the option to donate by credit or debit card the charge is 3.4% + 20p.

Sticker Showing Household Has Been Visited by Ose to Ose Team

Friday 19 September 2014

Galations 6:9

'Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up'
Galatians 6:9 NIV

For various reasons I have been having quite a difficult time since I returned to the UK from Sierra the point that a couple of days ago I found myself wondering why I bother.  At just the right time I was given this verse. It reminded me that I am not doing this for myself, nor even for the people I work with......I am doing this because I believe it is what God wants me to do. I will continue to try to help the families that I work with in Sierra Leone and I will return to Sierra Leone as soon as I am able.

I will not give up.

Lockdown aka Ose to Ose Ebola Tok

The lockdown in Sierra Leone is being referred to as the 'Ose to Ose Ebola Tok' - house to house ebola talk

The lockdown started at midnight last night and will last for three days.  During the lockdown people are not permitted to leave their homes, there will be house to house visits to educate people about Ebola and to try to find Ebola patients that are being hidden in homes. 

There have been many rumours around the lockdown, here are a few of them:
That the soap being distributed will give people ebola
That a corpse was discovered in the Guma Valley dam and has infected the water
That all mobile phone networks will be shut down, so there will be no communication with the outside world
That the lockdown will be extended to either 7, 11 or 21 days
People are really worried about these rumours and I can only think that they are being spread by people who want the lockdown to fail. I just hope and pray that people will comply with the lockdown and that the country will remain peaceful.

There are a lot of homeless people in Freetown and I wonder about them, how will they cope during the lockdown,  where will they go? It's been reported that there will be some food provision for the homeless - hot food for street children and dry food for the adults. 

In total we were able to purchase and distribute 135 bags of rice before the start of the lockdown with donations pledged and received. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated, it means such a lot to the families and households that we have been able to help.

If anyone would like to make a donation for rice for after the lockdown please contact me.......or you can use the new PayPal donation button at the top of this site. There are no fees for donations made via your UK PayPal account,  but for credit/debit card donations there is a fee of 3.4% + 20p.

Please keep the people of Sierra Leone in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this lockdown

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Lots of Rice

Wow, I am so happy with the amount of rice we've been able to provide for the upcoming lockdown in Sierra Leone.

With donations from friends and family we have so far supplied 73 bags of rice to households in Sierra Leone. We will be delivering at least another 42 bags on Thursday.  

A total of 115 bags of rice! 115 families that will be able to eat during the lockdown 

The generosity of friends and family is amazing, thank you so much to everyone who has helped with this appeal for rice.

There is still time if you would like to help, I will be making the last transfer before the lockdown in the afternoon on Wednesday 17th September - if you would like to pledge a donation I will add it to the donations that are being sent on Wednesday. If people would like to we can continue to provide rice after the lockdown as it will still be much needed and appreciated.
We can receive donations by cheque, bank transfer or Paypal - please contact me if need more information on how to make a donation

Saturday 13 September 2014

Back To The UK

I reluctantly left Sierra Leone to return to the UK for my niece's wedding,  although because of worries about the ebola virus I won't be going to the wedding after all.

I drove from Freetown to the airport via Port Loko.  I had my temperature checked at 4 checkpoints on the journey. At the airport I had to fill in a questionnaire about Ebola and had my temperature checked before passport control and then again just before boarding the plane.

Ebola Questionnaire
Some of the air crew on the flight wore masks and gloves, as did a few passengers I had been worried about being seated near someone who was ill, but I sat next to a lovely girl who was travelling to attend her grandmother's funeral.

I was expecting to be checked in either Brussels or London (I had to transit through Brussels). I was surprised that when we left the plane in Brussels we went straight into the airport with other passengers. When we got to London I went straight through passport control, got my luggage and checking or information about what to do if anyone gets symptoms at all.

In Sierra Leone they did everything they could to ensure no one sick was allowed to board the plane. In Europe there was nothing at all.

I'm really sad to have left Sierra Leone and the people that I care about there during this crisis. 

As I won't be going to the wedding that I returned for my lovely husband is taking me to Torbay for the weekend. We are planning to do some geocaching while we are there.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

On The Ground

On the Ground - isn't that a strange saying? People ask me how are things on the ground and I see news articles from reporters on the strikes me as a strange phrase......anyway.....I was lost for a title to this post and thought it would do the job.
The appeal for rice to help families through the lockdown is going well - so far I've been able to purchase and deliver 24 bags of rice with the money donated! So many families are being blessed by the rice being purchased with these donations and it will help them so much during this difficult time. Many people here live day to day......the money they earn in a day is used to buy food for the next day, there just isn't any spare to be able to save or stock up. I will continue to collect donations for rice until the crisis here is over.
I had two very different experiences in banking institutions this week. First I went to the bank where my account is held to try to sort out internet banking. I had to wash my hands on the way in, but once inside no-one seemed at all concerned about body contact with others - I was pushed, pulled and jostled as I waiting to be seen. When I finally got to the front of the queue I had to ask the lady behind me to back off as she was leaning right over me trapping me against the wasn't pleasant!!
After this I went to another bank to pick up a Western Union - this place couldn't have been more different. All the staff wore gloves, which is sensible but must get so uncomfortable. The customers were all spaced out and everyone was keeping to their own personal space.

I've had no electricity at home for over a week now, I saw some NPA workers in the area today so hopefully it will be fixed soon. I have a car battery that I use to charge my phones when the power is out, but I used the last of the juice in that three days I'm writing this camped out at the nearby Hotel 5/10 pinching their electricity.
One of the sponsored girls came to see me because she wasn't feeling well. She had been vomiting, she had a high fever, her body was aching - she thought it was malaria, I was scared in case it was Ebola. I wanted her to go to get tested, but she refused, in the end all I cold do was give her some money for medication. Thankfully she has recovered was malaria after all.
One of our sponsored boys list his Grandmother recently - she had bought him up and he is devastated. We're trying to find somewhere for him to live as there are people ready to move into the place he shared with his Granny. I'm hoping we can find a nice family for him to live with.
The number of  'ebola ambulances' to be heard is increasing, a few go screaming by each day. When the kids are in my office they rush to the door to try to get a glimpse and to see which where they ambulance is going.
I think I mentioned in another post that my British Airways flight was cancelled, BA have cancelled all flights to and from Sierra Leone until next year. They were very helpful in the BA office in town and have transferred me onto a Brussels Airlines flight for the same day that I was due to fly with BA.
I'm worried....
I'm worried about leaving,
I'm worried how my Salone family will cope with the lockdown.
I'm worried that people will think I am abandoning them
I'm worried that once I leave I may not be able to get a flight to come back
I'm worried in case I'm sat next to someone who is sick on the flight
I'm worried that I might get a high temperature and get detained
I'm worried that when I get back to the UK that people will be scared to be near me
I'm worried that I won't be able to act like everything is normal....when for me at the moment it is anything but
To summarise......I'm worried

I'd appreciate your prayers xx

Mohamed's Mum

One of the sponsored boys, Mohamed, got a call telling him his mum had died. He went with his brothers to the village with a white lappa and scent so the body could be readied for burial. When they got to the village his mother was alive, sick but definitely alive!!
Can you imagine what this young man must've gone through? The pain of losing his mother, the relief to find her alive, the worry that she's sick......
A friend in the UK recently gave some money to be used for medical issues and out of this I was able to pay for the lady to be treated...... I'm praying that she will recover

Monday 8 September 2014

Inside Quarantine

During one of our daily calls Dr Koroma of the Waterloo Hospital asked if I could stop by the hospital to pick up something that needs to be taken to the UK. When I questioned if I'd be allowed he assured me that the armed police and military are there for the safety of the hospital staff and to make sure no-one leaves and that there would be no problem with me calling into the hospital compound.
I had presumed that I would have to talk to the Doctor through a window, but I was allowed into the hospital. It was quite strange seeing it so empty (most of the staff were outside getting some air). There are 35 hospital staff currently quarantined at the hospital.
I don't really know what I had expected, but it wasn't as grim as I thought it was going to be, the staff still have another 10 days of quarantine to go and they are not allowed to leave the hospital compound until then, but they are allowed outside to sit in the canteen and the palava hut - they aren't nearly as restricted as I was expecting, I had expected that they would be all locked inside the hospital at all times.
Everyone seems to be in good spirits, although they are obviously saddened by the recent loss of their colleagues.

They are taking all the possible precautions and recording temperatures regularly so that any sign of fever will be picked up quickly, but so far all the remaining patients are showing no signs of Ebola. It was through the taking of temperatures that the Doctor identified the three staff that tested positive for the virus.
The doctor is desperate to get an infrared thermometer (one of those gun like contraptions used to record people's temperature) - if anyone can help with that let me know.

The Doctor talked about the two nurses that lost their lives to Ebola and the conditions he described at the Ebola Centre sound horrific. The doctor had to send money to the Ebola Centre to get food and treatment for his staff there, he believes that had he been allowed to treat them at Waterloo that they may well have lived. I saw a photo of one of the nurses taken as she was being loaded into the ambulance to take her to the Ebola Centre, she walked herself to the ambulance......two days later she was dead.

The lab technician who has Ebola is doing well and is expected to recover.
Please continue to pray for the Doctor and his staff

Rice For The Lockdown

Many people here in Sierra Leone are very worried about how they are going to feed their families during the planned three day lockdown of the country starting on 19th September 2014. A lot of people do not have the resources to save and store food for the lockdown.
I would like to try to help some of the families that we are working with by providing rice to tide them over for the lockdown period

Many are already struggling - because of the current restrictions in the country many people are unable to earn money, on top of that that cost of basic commodities has risen and continues to rise making it so difficult for people to provide enough food for their families. Now with news of the lockdown they just don't know how they are going to cope. We can ease this burden by providing rice for families who are struggling.

The cost to provide a 25KG bag of rice is approximately £13 (I have rounded this up in case of further price increases), but any amount would be welcome.
If you feel you are able to help by sending a donation towards the purchase of rice for the families we work with please contact me either on Facebook or Email me

Any excess money from the donations will be used towards purchasing rice for more families.

*IMPORTANT NOTE - 100% of donations sent will be used to purchase the rice, no money will be deducted for admin and the funds will not be used for any other purpose

Friday 5 September 2014

More Sad News From Waterloo

Sadly the other Waterloo Hospital nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola has passed away.

Here's an update from Dr Koroma :

Dear Friends in the UK & Canada
The Adventist Hospital In Waterloo - Sierra Leone has suffered 2 deaths from the Ebola crisis, out of the 3 cases we send 2 has died and they are all nurses, the remaining is the Laboratory Assistant who is doing well for now, we hope and pray that the Lord will give him a speedy recovery. Please join us in prayers daily as we seek the Lord's intervention.
Thank you

Dr. David Joefrey Koroma
Acting Medical Director
Adventist Hospital - Waterloo

Three Little Angels

I went to Mahanaim to deliver some rice and received the very sad news that Desmond, Ezekiel and Sallay have passed away.

Desmond was very sick earlier in the year and had spent some time admitted at the Waterloo Hospital. He was admitted with another child from the home who passed away, and when she died Desmond didn't improve in hospital so was discharged with instructions on how to care for him at home.
I was saddened but not surprised to hear that he had died as he really was very sick the last time I saw him.
The only photo of Desmond I have to hand is this one taken when he was sick.

Sallay was one of the children that moved to the new home in Rogbere last  September, so I don't really know what happened with her yet.
The last time I saw her she seemed healthy.
Sallay didn't talk or communicate much, but she loved cuddles and was very affectionate..
She loved to play with balloons and bubbles and would always choose a yellow balloon if she could.

Ezekiel, oh how I loved this little boy!
He couldn't use his arms so he would pick anything and everything up with his feet. He would always pinch my flipflops and try to wear them even though they were massive on him.
He had very bad scarring to his head from when he had been locked in a room and the room set on fire when he was a baby.
He was beautiful and his smile would light up the room.
He had a seizure a couple of weeks ago and died.

Wednesday 3 September 2014

RIP Nurse M

Sadly one of the Waterloo nurses who tested positive for Ebola passed away today at the Ebola treatment centre
She was exposed to the virus while treating a patient who was later confirmed as having Ebola.
May she rest in perfect peace and may God protect the other staff at the hospital from this dreadful virus

Tuesday 2 September 2014

It's Creeping Closer

At times Ebola has seemed like a far off problem - even to me here in Freetown. I see news articles and I read the updates from the Ministry telling how many new cases, how many have survived and how many have died. I wash my hands with chlorine after ever possible contact, I avoid direct contact with people, I tell people about the dangers and how to stay safe, I see the information signs everywhere I go........but I didn't know anyone personally that has been diagnosed with Ebola - until now
Three staff at the Waterloo Hospital have been confirmed as having Ebola - two nurses and a lab technician. These are people that I know and admire, who have treated me when I've been admitted to the hospital. Please pray that they will recover.

At the moment there are no other suspected cases amongst the staff of Waterloo Hospital - Please God let it remain that way.
Over the last week the numbers of confirmed cases had been going up rapidly....over the last 7 days more than 150 new cases have been confirmed in Sierra Leone and the cases in the Western Area (Freetown) are growing steadily.
The sight and sounds of the 'Ebola Ambulances' are more common - these are easily spotted because the driver and crew are wearing PPE. I saw one yesterday heading into Freetown with sirens blaring. If sirens can be heard the betting is high that it will be an 'Ebola Ambulance'.

I went to Bureh Beach and I was the only visitor there, there were no children playing, no sellers selling, no fishermen fishing. As with everywhere else I had to wash my hands with chlorine water on the way in.
A couple of weeks ago people were becoming a bit blasé about Ebola, but it is being taken seriously again now. Let us pray that all of the expertise and aid that is coming into the country will be able to halt the spread.

Short Update - Ebola at Waterloo

Dr Koroma sent a short update with the news that we've been dreading, one hospital staff member has tested positive for Ebola and two other suspected cases are awaiting results.

I was so sad to drive by the hospital yesterday and not be able to pop in as I usually do and say hello, to know my friends were in there and there was nothing I could do. From the road I could see the military personnel who are ensuring thst no one leaves the hospital.

Here's the Doctor's note:

Dear friends in the UK & Canada
The Ebola has hit the Adventist hospital, we have got so far 3 suspected cases and one has proved positive two are awaiting results, and the whole hospital has been quarantine including the 40 staffs, so we are all in the hospital. Your donations has been used to buy preventive wears and disinfectants, we are now faced with the challenge of food and other necessary condiments for our staying here. We need your prayers and supports.
Thank you
Dr. David J. Koroma.