It was a shock to wake today and realize that it was already our last day working with our new friends at the CRC and Mercy. Each activity from breakfast, to our meetings through the day, and our devotions in the evening, took on special significance knowing that we were experiencing each for the last time, at least for a while. Seeing how much the folks here have done, and are doing, with such limited resources and against a backdrop of such significant need, is humbling.
While the CRC and the MTC have had consistent internet connectivity through a satellite dish on the CRC property, Mercy has been forced to rely on cell modems for their Internet connection for several years. Today the IT Team connected Mercy to the satellite system, so they no longer have to rely on the the cell modems. They worked that magic with some equipment they found in storage. The IT team also taught a small group of CRC Aunties and older children the operations of the new sound system in the Great Hall, perhaps inspiring a crop of future Sierra Leonian MC's or DJ's.
Jessica, Bill B., Vicki, and Ilene joined a nutrition and prenatal care outreach to Nyandehun, a village significantly more impoverished than the one we visited when we first arrived, where they provided vitamins and Benemix (similar to Plumpy'nut) to those who most needed it. They also brought a woman who was having serious difficulty with her pregnancy, and a child suffering from what appeared to be severe malaria, back with them to Mercy. Leo also debriefed Kim on our observations from the prior outreach, which she will share with the Mercy staff.
Bill H. attended the opening devotions/meetings at CRC and Mercy, and was able to thank the teams at both for their openness in allowing him to work with them and offer them some final thoughts on the good things they were already doing, and the areas where they might want to concentrate to go to the next level. He also had fun with the Mercy Manager and CRC Director doing an exercise of each drawing, and explaining, a picture of our visions of how CRC and Mercy should work together. We agreed on many elements of what that would look like, but mostly on the fact that none of us will be moonlighting as artists!
Joseph Junisa, the Sponsor a Child (SAC) Coordinator at the CRC, his assistant Henry, and the guidance counselor Princess, spent an hour with several of us discussing the details of that program, and expressing the hope that we would share this information with our friends back home, in hopes that sponsors might be found for additional children. You can learn more about SAC by clicking here.
We were pleased that before we left Jess was able to be with Dr. Kanneh to confirm that Abu’s burns were healing well.
Tomorrow morning we say goodbye to the MTC and begin our journey back home, taking with us fond memories of meeting shared challenges and light-hearted moments, inspirational stories and images, and new friendships, that we hope we can build on ourselves, and share with our families and friends.
(Filed by Bill Hafker)