Sierra Leone, April 29
Bo, Sierra Leone - Today witnessed the culmination of a 2 year effort to establish a FREE Community Library in a poor neighborhood in Sierra Leone. In 2020, after witnessing the degree of illiteracy among the very poor children in Bo, where we have worked in providing healthcare and schools since 2009—children who did not have the advantage of attending a local school. Pastor Kanu and I discussed the dream of opening a community library in one of the least advantaged neighborhoods, with the hope of bringing books to thousands of children.
Upon returning to Massachusetts during pre-Covid in January 2022, we set to work in raising the funds needed to both build a new library—one with the latest library management automation software, and at least 20,000 texts, for the new li tart as well as Zion Ministries schools.
In 2021, through funding made available from our friends at the Consigli Foundation, the ‘Running 4 Clean Water’ 5k in Garland, Texas, and a gift from my wife Kathee and I, the $45,000 needed was fully secured for the land and library construction.
It was such a joy to see the library dedicated today, knowing that children would be it’s beneficiaries for decades to come. I was also humbled that the people of Bo determined to name and dedicate this new facility after Kathee and I. And so, I was moved to see the children here celebrating the “Drs David & Kathee Jordan Community Library,” and the joy on their faces in seeing more books and computers than they had previously seen in their lives.
Both Kathee and I can only dream that one day a poor child from Bo can become a leader in this West African nation and speak about the influence this library may have had on their lives. Education and books encourage children to dream BIG dreams about their future and being a small part of this today was truly one of the most rewarding moments of my life! The pictures aligned with todays blog bear witness to the joy felt by all.
Tomorrow we return to our medical clinic at our remote Bandawa campus, through which we serve 26 remote bush villages and thousands of people. Walking for miles through the bush and over log bridges to reach each village is always the highlight of my return to West Africa. Through the support of our friends in Garland, Texas, we have now dug 23 clean water wells and a similar number of community toilets. In doing this, we have reduced child mortality under 5 years of age by 80%. No longer are villagers forced to drink river water tainted with animal and human feces—causing severe illness in children. Only 3 more wells are needed before all the villages throughout the bandsaw catchment area can reap the benefits of clean, safe drinking water. In tomorrows blog we will post photos of our meetings with the local village chiefs and the village women & children who have always been so generous in greeting me and my students or Seven Hills colleagues each time we are here. Over the past 10 years I’ve seen children grow into young adults and middle aged friends become respected elders of their villages. I cannot adequately express my feelings in sharing friendship with people so far from my own home. They are my extended family— and I hope I am part of theirs. Appreciations to my Seven Hills colleagues Peter Demko, who has been instrumental in helping me in organizing the technical needs in the new library and serves as our documentarian, and to Tim Johnson, one of our Seven Hills Vice Presidents who has taken a ‘leap of faith’ in coming to Sierra Leone with me for the first time. I hope it will not be his last SHGO trip.
Seven Hills Global Outreach is just a small sliver of our larger healthcare work through Seven Hills Foundation and yet it supports the lives of so many. Follow our work in Guatemala, Ghana, Kenya, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Haiti and elsewhere at SHGO.org More updates tomorrow so return to our blog ! Be safe.
Dr. David Jordan