January 10, 2020 Until we meet again...
“Bandawa, Sierra Leone - Today was our last working day in Sierra Leone starting early this morning, with our return to the Bandawa campus and the distribution of school supplies to the 250 children attending our grade 1-6 school. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience passing out pencils, notebooks, and other school materials which are sorely needed. The photos attached to today’s blog depict the children and the SHGO team. Frances, Tracy, Andy, and Ali then returned on motorbikes to the villages of Bandawa and Toobu to spend time with the villagers.
This afternoon we dedicated a well in the village of Faala that we had recently constructed with funds made available from our ‘Running4CleanWater’ donors from five churches in Garland, Texas. We then traveled to the village of Komende to dedicate a road and small bridge SHGO had funded in 2019. Another full day for this year’s SHGO team to Ghana and Sierra Leone.
We ended our day the way we have done every evening since our arrival in Ghana a week ago; we sit together after dinner and quietly share our “pearls” of the day. I’ve been traveling to developing countries for the past decade and in all of our humanitarian trips we have ended each night this same way - with a reflection on one experience, sight, or feeling that most moved each of us during the day. Tonight we ended our time together by each sharing two pearls - one of today and a second one which reflected the entire ten day SHGO trip. My reflection of the week was the sincere appreciation I leave West Africa with of the generosity and joyful spirit we have experienced everywhere we have been. The conditions here are rough - poverty is rampant- resources are few; yet, there remains in the people of Ghana and Sierra Leone an indescribable generosity. This observation was perfectly reflected this afternoon when a village chief from a poor remote village stood before us and said, “We have nothing to give in return for all of the gifts you have given us over the years; clean water, village toilets , our medical clinic , a school, and much more. The only thing we have to offer you is our love”. And what greater gift can anyone offer another, than an expression of genuine affection. Love transcends race, religion, wealth (or poverty), and geography. All of our SHGO team leaves this year’s trip to West Africa changed and humbled. In a few hours, we begin our journey home to our loved ones. All of us, however, will be leaving a part of our hearts in Sierra Leone and Ghana.