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  • Writer's picturePeter Demko

Bo, Sierra Leone. January 7

It was quite a remarkable day today walking nearly 10 miles through the bush from one village to another seeing women and children as well as the clean water wells and village toilets funded by Seven Hills Global Outreach. Our day started at 9:00 am with the temperature already 90 degrees. Our first walk was to the village of Komende where we funded the construction of a village toilet facility 7 years ago and where we are now funding the hand digging of a water well. We were met by all of the villagers singing and dancing as their gift to us. Within a month 300 villagers will have the first clean water they have ever had. I met the same village chief I had met 7 years earlier and it was quite amazing that he remembered. Our SHGO team all danced and sang along with the villagers. From Komende we walked to the village of Pellahun, a smaller village of 150 people, and once again was met with singing. On the way we had to traverse 3 streams with single pole footbridges. Needless to say our team got wet but took it all in good humor. The distant village of Bandawa was next and we were given a grand welcome once more along with a demonstration of the clean water well funded by Seven Hills just months earlier. Finally - after 4 hours of hiking from one village to another we arrived at our Seven Hills Global Outreach - Zion Ministries ‘Bandawa Medical Clinic & School’. Our clinic campus supports nearly 9000 children and adults providing primary healthcare services, a school for nearly 200 children, and well and sanitation services funded by our many U.S. based donors. Following lunch we walked another 4 miles on trails to the villages of Tobu and Ganga. We were amazed, again, at the love and generosity given to us by the many hundreds of remote villagers who expressed such joy because of the new wells and toilets we have made available to them during this past year. Everyone on our team remain healthy. Each is filled with awe at both the degree of poverty which exists in each village; yet, people are so filled with a simple contentment and hearts of gratitude. We are all quite exhausted tonight but spent our evening meal recalling our day together. I have for years, whenever I’ve taken students or others to locations around the world where we work, ended each day by asking each member to recall just ONE “pearl” from the day. My intent has always been to force each member to critically think about something they might have seen, touched, discussed, or experienced during that day. It has been my nightly ritual for years with every team of students or others I’ve traveled with. Last evening we began this ritual and the comments were thoughtful yet measured. Tonight’s sharing of “pearls” was spontaneous and deeply personal. If I were to capture the collective feelings expressed by our team this evening- I would refer you to the photo on the left taken by Siwen Wang of the arm of Qixian Wang being held by a little girl in one of the villages. It - I think- expresses the power of when we allow our hearts to be opened to the needs of others - we become as one. The photos linked below are of our remarkable team of travelers. We look forward to another incredible day in Sierra Leone tomorrow.

Dr. D. Jordan - (“Dr. J”)

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