January 7: Day 1 from our SHGO Humanitarian Trip to Sierra Leone & Kenya
Updated: Jan 8
I cannot express the joy I feel in returning once more to our SHGO partnerships in Sierra Leone & Kenya as we continue our efforts to uplift the poor and disadvantaged in these two African nations. I am equally pleased to have on this trip my colleagues Peter Demko, Marissa Ruff, Isaac Adusu, and Andrew Graham. I cannot express the joy I feel in returning once more to our SHGO partnerships in Sierra Leone & Kenya as we continue our efforts to uplift the poor and disadvantaged in these two African nations. I am equally pleased to have on this trip my colleagues Peter Demko, Marissa Ruff, Isaac Adusu, and Andrew Graham who are enthusiastic partners in our work in serving the needs of others. After 26 hours of flying from Boston to Frankfort, Germany, to Brussels, and eventually arriving in Freetown, Sierra Leone yesterday we arrived at 1:00 am and began our day today at 8:00 am. Today was spent traveling through the capital city of Freetown to experience the many challenges of most every Sierra Leonian living in urban areas of the country; congested street, open sewers, tens of thousands of people selling whatever they can along every streets in hopes to sell a small item or trinket. Freetown is congested, sweltering, and broken in many aspects yet filled with the worlds most affable and intensely open people , despite the daily challenges they face. Poor roads, dismal sanitation systems, a broken healthcare system, a hobbled together public education and a lack of infrastructure are an accepted circumstance for many in this West African nation of 7 million. As we drove throughout Freetown we could not help but be moved by the resiliency of the people we met and their enduring hope for a better life for their children. On our way out of Freetown we stopped at an outdoor market and saw how entrepreneurial men, women and children were in making or producing goods for sale from hand grinding ground nuts into peanut butter to selling clothing and m spices. It was at this outdoor market that we met a young man with cerebral palsy. I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of life he has had as a disabled person in one of the worlds poorest nations, and what would become of him in the years ahead. I will long remember his face reflecting upon the many advantages we enjoy here in the West as compared to this young man. Was he loved by his family? Where did he live- in the streets ? What kind of hardships might he face in the future given his disability in a nation with little to no services available to the physically challenged ?
We arrived here in BO , Sierra Leone late this afternoon tired , road weary, and exhausted. But whatever weariness we might be feeling from our flight and road trip - we are anticipating our first day of visiting our Seven Hills Global Outreach campus and schools - both in the city of BO and our bush campus- over the next several days we are here. Tomorrow we tour our new Jordan Community Library which was dedicated in May, 2022 and participate in the dedication ceremonies of the newest Zion Ministries church building. On Monday we trek 10 miles into the jungle - bush to a cluster of 6 remote villages , among 26 villages we have been supporting through SHGO since 2010. In one of the 6 most remote villages we will be participating in a ground breaking ceremony of a “new” extension primary school SHGO is constructing for children who have never been to school or able to write their name in the past.
Marissa, Isaac, Andy, and Peter have been incredible participants in this trip. They are all well, enthusiastic and filled with questions and suggestions. I could not have been more blessed in having each of them with me. Our work begins in earnest tomorrow and I’ll be posting another blog update then. Follow our next week of daily blog updates on this Januarys SHGO humanitarian travel experience.
By All my best,
David A. Jordan