Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rolal construction - amazing feat!

The human conveyor belt and concrete mixers went into action once again and Rolal's new Senior Secondary School has a new ceiling / first floor.

An enormous team of water carriers, cooks, cement fetchers, concrete mixers, concrete shovelers, concrete passers, concrete squashers and flatteners were mobilised by Dunia and the Rolal staff. Parents, students, staff and the local community were all drafted in for a whole day operation. Organised into three teams with a competition going between them, they managed to concrete an enormous area taking the construction through a very important phase.

Now, all that is left, to have the building operational and ready for its new students for the summer school, is the finishing touches: cupboards, plastering, doors and the likes.

The whole team did an amazing job and are congratulated for all their hard work and contribution to this signficant development in the Port Loko District.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Friday, June 18, 2010

What a team!

Great planning session with a transformed leadership team.

From a group of self-constraining self-doubters the leadership team has metamorphosised into a dynamic team of people who are genuinely proud to be making a difference to their country through their work with EducAid. They are proud of the changes in their own professional status and capacity and rightly so. The team now confidently takes decisions, makes suggestions and wisely runs a very successful programme of quality education to some of the poorest in the world. It is a very full time job and requires considerable sacrifice in terms of time, energy and finance.

Our planning day was a great success and demonstrated the abilities of the team. Well done all. This is what real development looks like - development for Sierra Leoneans led competently and confidently by Sierra Leoneans.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Engineering : ) Engineering : ( Engineering : )

A very happy Musa ready for his adventure and a complete transformation of his life.

Engineering : )

Fantastic news - Musa Koroma is now our fourth EducAid student to be selected for an international scholarship. He is due to go to Russia for the new academic year to study engineering. We greatly appreciate the assistance that he has received from the friends of EducAid who sponsored him into Fourah Bay College from where he was able to so successfully apply. Without their help this next step would not have been possible.

Congratulations Musa and we wish you every success in such a challenging but exciting endeavour.

Engineering : (

The newly re-engineered Magbeni road.

Still challenging but more frustrating than exciting. The engineers paid to 'improve' the road to Magbeni have thought it wise to put all the mud from their new drainage ditches in the middle of what was previously a sandy road which drained well! The result is that the five mile track which never caused any problems to cars, bikes or trucks, up to this point, has now been turned into a field. The result is that all the villages along the road are cut off for days every time it rains. This is rainy season. It rains a lot.

We have just had to make the decision to supply enough rice and stationery etc for the next 3 months as we are very unsure of being able to get through again. If I have an army on board I probably will be able to make it as they can offload and push but it becomes risky and is extremely annoying. Alhassan always 'enjoyed' the description of Sierra Leone as a developing country as he was only able to see potholes developing. This might well illustrate his point quite well.

Engineering : )
The new railway line under construction!
Female construction workers - definite signs of positive change.

Siaka Stevens, in his presidential role of father of the nation, helpfully sold the tracks of the entire railway which previously served Freetown and the provinces several decades ago but there is a new initiative to rebuild a single track which will reach to Lungi, Pepel and Port Loko. Maybe there is some development after all!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I must be back in Sierra Leone

Grim skin lurgy 1.
Grim skin lurgy 1 again.
Grim skin lurgy 2.
Grim skin lurgy 2 again.

Days shared in almost equal parts between hope, despair, delight, beauty, sweat, dust, anger, sadness, frustration and awe. I must be back in Sierra Leone.

10 months ago tomorrow we lost Alhassan. I still can't believe I will never see him again. On the way back from cleaning his grave, we came across a pathetic little funeral procession with a father carrying in front of him the bundled body of his dead 2 year old wrapped in a mat. Yet another wasted life.

On arrival back at the school, I was greeted by a request from a previously troublesome lad who has got his act together quite dramatically over the last few months, improving his academic output and behaviour. Having made the necessary improvements, he wants to join the LIT [Leaders in Training group]. Fantastic.

Minutes later I was trying to work out treatment for two nasty looking skin diseases. The doctor had sent the first one back with a prescription for Nivea soap [must be good as it is ten times as expensive as normal soap!], calamine lotion and piriton. Using my copy of 'Where there is no Doctor.' it was quite clearly not an allergy. My best guess is fungal. The other one looks like eczema but he has never had it before so why should it kick in suddenly now? I don't know. I'm a French teacher. Let's hope hydrocortisone cream works. Certainly paying for the doctor's guesswork seems worse than unfruitful.

Next was the return of a very determined senior student who had come and borrowed some money this morning to buy a bulk load of umbrellas in order to sell them and buy one for herself with the profit. She is a hardworking and tough young lady and has pulled herself, through sheer effort, out of many trials. Today, she has once again achieved her aim and in record time.

The accounts are on their way [late but with integrity]. Kofi, KK and Miriam Tholley are playing celebrating imaginary birthdays. There seem to be two competing parties playing their music in loud competition just outside the school. The carpenters are hammering mosquito nets into the window frames. The live-in kids are enjoying playing and shouting about football. The handbrake on the land cruiser has stuck and needs urgent repair as the wheels don't go round any more. The internet is so slow that this is the second time of writing this and I will likely be trying to send it for some time. There is gari and beans for lunch [oh and for supper : )].

I must be back in Sierra Leone.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Successful UK fundraising trip

We are just back from a very successful month of fund-raising in the UK. Successful because many new liaisons were made. Successful because many long-standing relationships have stood not only the test of time but also the test of the recession. Successful because much generosity has been shown. Successful because Anne [who organises my timetable - many holy brownie points for that nightmare job!] ensured we wasted not a minute and all time was gainfully utilised.

This year has been a tough one financially. A new tax has been introduced - the GST. In theory this is not added to food stuffs or fuel. In practice, everything has gone up a good 15%. Government teachers' salaries have been increased by 40% although we have been unable so far to respond in kind but must, to be fair to a very committed staff, try and do so as soon as possible. We have the great excitement of the donation of funds for a new building of a new senior secondary school to be completed in the next few months which then incurs significant costs to run it starting in September. And so on and so on.....

We are therefore greatly appreciative of the generosity and commitment of our very loyal donors who continue to make it possible for us to respond to the needs of the youngsters in our care. Thank you!