Today, Jen Green, an incredible teacher from California, and I (Sharon Gardner) finished our last day of collaboration with 8 inspiring teacher-leaders from Sierra Leone. This relationship and collaboration began last summer when these teachers and I were part of a group of 30 Sierra Leonian and 5 American teachers learning together and sharing our teaching lives with each other over 5 days. This summer, these 8 were invited to participate in a 4 day trainer-of-trainers professional development where, in partnership, we deepened our understanding of children and learning and developed a curriculum for these teacher-leaders to use with other teachers in Sierra Leone. Our time together was filled with laughter, strong opinions, serious conversations, respect, years of experience, a deep love for children and education and great joy!
The last couple of days have been busy and fun filled with time spent directly interacting with children. Saturday was family fun day at the CRC and 70 children from the community and their parents attended the event. The team and children played “football”, volleyball, games like musical chairs, and even had an impromptu beauty parlor where the girls plaited some of the team member's hair. Many of the sponsored children were at the event which was especially great as we had the opportunity for extended time to interact with our sponsor kids. In the afternoon, part of the team traveled 2 hours to the village of Pujehun to visit a sponsored child and bring the family rice and gifts. The rest of the team bought fabric in town and visited the local tailor laden with colorful fabrics for pants, skirts and accessories. Dinner on Saturday was a special treat as we shared a delicious meal of sweet roasted chicken and yummy rice Jallop with German Missionaries who have been serving in Bo for the past 3 years. The evening ended with a movie night- Indiana Jones and fresh roasted popcorn.
Thursday - July 18, 2019
Everyone has been working hard with the CRC and Mercy Hospital!
Julie and Jess worked with the CRC case workers on interviewing techniques and ways to gather information more efficiently.
Sharon and Jen continued with TLC (Teacher Learning Collaborative) with nine Bo teachers discussing topics to cover when they teach next summer.
Gary has been working on the donated medical equipment to get it all up and running. Gary, Misti , Beth and Mary Ann attended an Outreach Clinic where over 130 patients were seen and tested for diabetes and HIV. Patients received prenatal care and babies were weighed and measured for the malnourishment program.
On Friday we all attended the wonderful celebration in honor of Mohamed (Nabs) and Kim Nabieu - Nabs for his work as the CRC Director and Kim for her work as the Mercy Hospital liaison.
Several team members were able to visit their sponsor children.
The July team has been busy in the last few days! From arriving in Freetown and traveling to Bo, to tie-dying team shirts with Fudia, the team has kept busy and Nabs has kept everyone positive!
Today was a productive and positive day for all of the team. Our team dietitian is starting a program to educate the hospital staff on diabetes care which once formalized, will allow for funding through insulin for life. Both the teachers and social workers started their discussions and collaboration with the community teachers and case managers and all reported positive responses. Nabs continues to work tirelessly with the leaders at CRC while always having time to encourage the team here and visit people in the community. It has been such a wonderful experience seeing Bo with someone who loves the country and knows it so well! Having Sam Rich, a professional photographer here doing a story on Nabs, has also been a great additional bonus! Not only is Sam a delightful person but he is a great photographer and is sharing all his photos with the team. Here are a few of them below.
Our first full day in Bo started with devotions with the Mercy Hospital Staff. The staff was eager to learn that one of our team members would be educating the nurses on diabetes care. A second team member, who is visiting for the first time, was also put to work immediately by the Hospital staff and was instrumental in helping in a crisis birth situation.
The rest of the team spent most of the day meeting staff and preparing for the projects and activities planned for the week ahead. The team then toured Mercy Hospital and the Child Rescue Center. Our next adventure took a group of us out in the pouring rain to buy rice and gifts for our sponsored children. Although the rain limited our picture taking, the rain ended up being a nice relief from the humidity and everyone was thankful for a relatively cool afternoon.
More news tomorrow- But we are all doing well and easing into life here in Sierra Leone and as Sharon says - becoming free to be “our best selves”.