Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bo Sierra Leone

Danny after reading a bedtime story.

George the trauma counselor with some of the younger children.

Worship at Leader UMC.

The choir at Leader UMC with graduation gowns and tassels.

Teenage girls after a creative writing project with Kathy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

West Africa

We are doing well and settling into life in Bo, Sierra Leone. We have unpacked our clothes and are located in one place for the whole month of September! So excited! We are living at a new facility the Mercy Training Center. We have a little apartment with a sitting room, bedroom and bath. Someone is cooking for us and doing our laundry. Not a bad gig! The peanut chicken stew is great! We are working at the Child Rescue Center and Mercy Hospital, both UMC projects. Check out their web sites. They are doing amazing work. I will communicate when I can, not sure about internet access. No worries though, we are in a GREAT place! The kids are so excited we are here and the church has been so welcoming! I am very excited about our work here.

The need is so great in Sierra Leone who was at the bottom of life before a 10 year war and is still struggling to recover. They did not have electricity before the war, many parts now do. The main roads are still dirt roads that get washed out in the now rainy season, making travel and development difficult. There is still a 10 percent infant mortality rate. HIV/AIDS is rampant. Poverty and simple living is everywhere. It is a country in deep need for development and aid. The diamond industry is still uncontrolled, meaning the people are not benefiting from taxes from the selling of diamonds. They did just have an election with a change in political power that happened peacefully, thankful for that. There are now laws against littering. May sound like a small thing, but much of Africa is so dirty and littered with garbage! It makes such a difference to see a clean city street or people no longer throwing trash out of the bus window. Helps with health concerns and overall pride in a country. That is just a bit about the changes we have seen since being here two years ago. It is amazing, people remember us from when we spent a day with them 2 years ago too! I have even remembered a few names and faces too!