Before our trip, our church held a meeting to explain to the congregation regarding what we would be doing on our trip to Sierra Leone. As a part of this meeting, we held a small fundraiser to raise money to provide rice to families enrolled in the CRC program.
During our trip, we were able to go with the CRC to deliver this rice. Wow, I will never complain about the potholes in the streets of Philadelphia again! Saturday we went out to deliver rice to families; it took most of the day and a lot of patience. I am truly grateful that yesterday was the last day for delivering rice. The holes, lumps, and bumps in the ground were a challenge to the driver, and a nightmare to me, but we made it safely to every family. At one point we had to drive through a small body of water, I looked out the window to my left and there was a mother and child washing clothes a few feet from us!
Pastor Chaney and I were well please with the selection of people who received the rice. Just to share a few examples; we met with one family that both parents where blind and dependent on help from the village to raise their children. There was also the single mother who was physically disabled; she could not walk needed help daily to do simple chores for her children. And yet at the end of the worse road ever, we met a family that was being cared for by the Auntie. The mother was not available because she had to walk to the city on the very road we were on to sale fruit to support her family.
What a blessing it was to meet these families and participate in the food assistance that CRC provides to vulnerable families.
Looking back over the last two days, I saw the much-needed improvements Mercy Hospital has made. The hospital is beautiful; it looks more like a working small medical campus. I visited with and prayed for the patients who were housed on the second floor. I remember when mothers would come from long distances just to wait outside in the heat to be seen by the doctor. In one day, I have observed almost 100 pregnant women who traveled from far away villages to be seen. Those that came to Mercy where greeted in a building with conformable chairs. During my visit the mothers participated in a lecture on self-care. I discovered the unique care provided by staff was an encouragement to mothers to take better care of themselves and their children.
Today, we are just getting back from the Village Partnership--what a wonderful experience! We first met with the Chieftains and elders of the village and then with the families. We were well received by all adults, but the smaller children were afraid to come close to us. We took pictures of the parents with children who received the rice. They appear to be very grateful; the language barrier prevented much interaction, but the smiles and happy faces said it all. I was so impressed with the size of the bags of rice. We priced the rice we bought based on 50 LB bags, but it actually weighted 50kg or 110.25 lbs! It took 2 men to carry each bag of rice.
Another great experience was Pastor Chaney and I am learning to speak “Mende.” We visited a class of young school age children who native language was Mende but was learning to speak English. After a short time we ask could they help us learn a few words in Mende. We all had fun sharing with each other, it was a wonderful time. It is such a blessing to learn while you serve others.
House of the Lord Church