What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New home

So it's 6:13 and I've been up for a bit, but it is much quieter here than at the old place. No mosque call to prayer, no 6am family prayer session, no rooster in the house, no one cleaning the house by 6:30. Much calmer here.

I am stayng at the Hanci Sierra Leone/Street Child compound. It is actually a much better set up than where I was. It is basically a two bedroom apartment (no kitchen) with a nice little living area with soft couches!! (Haven't sat on something soft in a while). Lindsay has been staying here in one room with the other room spare for other volunteers (or stranded crazy Americans!!). There has apparently been a mouse/ rat problem, but I saw/heard nothing last night.

Their operation here takes children that, for whatever reason have been living on the street, and tries to reunite them with family. They also put them through a support program that includes psychological counseling, mentorship programs, job training, and will actually give micro-finance support to the families the kids are reintegrated with. They are run here by a local man "JMK". These are the people I went on the trip to Tambaka with.

There is a big difference between this NGO and Kap's. This one is UK funded and partnered with several organizations at different levels. They have a consistent funding source, well defined project/aims and seem to be doing very good work. They also fund schools in rural areas (the place we were the 1st white people). They have almost doubled enrollment in some of these schools.

But anyway, this is my new home for a couple days (which I am counting down). I can't express how grateful I am to them. This obviously has been a hard couple days for me and Lindsay (who is a volunteer assessing current and prospective projects for them), JMK (John), and the rest of the people here have been very accomodating and friendly.

As for the other side of my affairs. I will not be climbing Mount Bintumani now and am VERY disappointed about this. I went to the police yesterday to file a report on the pickpocket stuff and will have to go back today to (I think) pickup the paperwork. I also told them about the other scenario at Kaps' house, but that I was giving time for possible resolution. I am however not holding out much hope right now on that. It is just sad given what that money was earmarked for. I will now get off the plane literally without a dollar in my pocket. Not the best way to get a business started.

But all told, I said that if I got on the plane January 17th with nothing but the shirt on my back the trip would have been a success. Yeah, it'll be a few weeks earlier, and its sad to have money disappear without material benefit, but the value of that money's disappearance is actually much more valuable than the money itself was. I will be coming back with two Memorandums of Understanding to do work with the local development council and have another possible project to bring solar street lamps to the city I've been in, Makeni.

I've had a crash course in Sierra Leone that I never got in all the academic work I did on the country. It has been tremendously educational and tremendously motivating, but I am ready to get back to the US. Of course though, I still have to get to the airport and don't have but 100Le ($25) to last the week on - food and then get to the Freetown, stay the night, and get to the airport!! But hey, what good would an adventure be without the adventure!?! Lol!!

No comments:

Post a Comment