Day 4 Blog post: Sierra Leone
Updated: Jan 10
January 9- Sierra Leone :
Today was one of those days at SHGO that we will hold in our hearts and memories. We started our day spending time with 350 children who attend the BO city school we built in 2016. The school serves grades 1-12 in the inner city of BO. All of the children gathered in our outdoor courtyard and we were enthusiastically welcomed by them all. Marissa, Isaac, Andy and Peter were swarmed by cheering children so happy to once again welcome a team from Seven Hills. It’s hard to adequately describe the sound of 350 children laughing and welcoming our arrival. We then toured every classroom and we would ask the children “What do you want to be ?” They answered with enthusiasm- “A lawyer - a doctor - an engineer- a banker - a teacher ! “. The intent of our work at Seven Hills Global Outreach is not just in building clinics, or schools, or wells. These things are important , yes , but they are the ‘means’ toward a larger intent. And that larger reason is to give poor women and children ‘hope’ for their lives. To transform an entire region of a poor country like Sierra Leone so that children believe they can have a new future is the ‘why’ we do this work in Sierra Leone and in 7 other developing countries.
After leaving the children and teachers in our BO school we traveled to our remote Bandawa catchment region to a village called Njarnum where we have partnered with a cluster of 6 villages to construct a school for grades 1-4. This will be the first school this jungle area in Sierra Leone has ever had - with the hope of extending the gift of literacy to hundreds of children. It was quite amazing to witness the enthusiasm of the local villagers in participating in the clearing of the land in anticipation of construction start. I am so grateful to the donors and friends from Garland, Texas for making this new school possible.
From Njarnum we traveled to our jungle campus at Bandawa to tour the progress being made in offering healthcare services at our Bandawa medical clinic and schooling to over 250 children in our Bandawa school. What’s been made possible through our birthing center, medical clinic, and school at our Bandawa campus -and- the public health efforts in bringing clean water wells and sanitation to 26 remote villages has been truly remarkable. Child mortality in children under 5 has been reduced by 80% since we’ve brought clean water and sanitation to the jungle villages. We then walked to the village of Bandawa to talk with local leaders about the need to construct a bridge over a dangerous stream. Thanks to our good friends at Consigli Construction in Massachusetts we hope to begin the building of a bridge in the months ahead. Over recent years several women and children have lost their lives falling into the river during rainy season as they traverse traditional “stick” bridge walkways made up of wooden poles lashed together with vines. The village community cheered with joy in knowing Seven Hills is collaborating with Consigli Constructiin to provide a safe alternative for women and children.
Early tomorrow morning we leave BO to begin our travel to Kenya where we will be visiting with our local partners ; Childrens Garden Orphanage, FOCUS Center, and Bethel School in Kibera. Bethel School is located within the largest slum in Africa consisting of 500,000 people in 1 square mile. I’ve traveled to Kibera many times in support of Bethel School and I have no words to adequately describe the overcrowding and despair shared by so many slum dwellers. We have been assisting Bethel School in Kibera for 6 years but now, along with our funding partners, we’ve determined that the broken, tin roof Bethel School can no longer be safely used to educate children in grades 1-3 and so we hope to finalize plans in the days ahead to start constructing a new Bethel School.
Once again , my earnest appreciations to this January’s SHGO travel team of Marissa Ruff, Isaac Adusu, Peter Demko and Andy Graham. They are remarkable individuals who care deeply about uplifting others in need through Seven Hills Global Outreach. I am continually amazed to witness their selfless acts of compassion extended to the many women and children we meet.
Follow us again tomorrow from Nairobi, Kenya.
Dr. David A. Jordan ( Dr J)
Photos will be posted tomorrow in a gallery as the internet service is performing badly tonight. Stay tuned!