Tuesday, July 2, 2013
We have now finished the core part of our project. We are enjoying a few days resting at the Guest House, the road to Kpetema is very bumpy, and going back and forward everyday has had an impact on our backs.
We are not leaving Sierra Leone until the 22nd of July, but we had to fasten things up because it is impossible to work once the rain comes seriously. Until now we had had a few minutes of rain everyday, but once it comes for real, it can rain for seven days on a row. The soil in Kpetema is sandy, so it becomes almost impossible to work.
Our last week of work was very interesting. Our car broke on Thursday, so we couldn’t go and finish painting the toilet doors as we had planned. We stayed in Pujehun, and arranged for motorbikes to take us on Friday. Junior, the manager of the Guest House where we stay in Pujehun (and Vandy’s cousin) took Omar and I, believe me it was not more comfortable than the car ride. L
On Friday we had our so long planned community event. Every woman in the community was there, and most of the men, at least those who were not working in their farms. The chief helped us with the translation. We talked about the zinc, and how to maintain it for it to last longer in a good shape. We also talked about the toilets, and how to keep them clean, the chief made laws for the community to use them the best way possible. We also discussed soap production in the village. They told us they have sold most of it, so we arranged to have the next production this coming Friday. We distributed soap for free for every adult in the village. We also talked about the Traditional Birth Assistant house (TBA) and the plans for the future, to see if it will be possible for us to help them zinc the houses that could not be zincked this time.
After that we stayed and painted the doors for the toilets, we were in a hurry because we planned a big closing ceremony for Saturday, we had invited a lot of important people in the region, from the Paramount chief representative to the District Councilor, and we wanted all the facilities to be ready on time.
On Saturday we woke up early in the morning. We received Vandy’s parents, coming from Freetown especially for the ceremony. Growth Centre organized a pick-up truck to take us all to the village. We had coverage from the local radio. It was really an important event in the Pujehun district!
In the village we were received by the women dancing and everyone ready for the event. There were speeches from all the parties involved (I spoke on behalf of the three of us), and the meeting was directed by Vandy’s father, who has also been helping a lot with the project. It was a very successful event, hopefully everyone in the village is happy with the work done in the past month and a half.
On Friday we will be going to the village again, starting our monitoring and evaluation phase of the project.
I hope soon we will have good access to internet so we can upload pictures and you can get a better idea of how things were. I also want to encourage you to ask us any questions or leave any comment, we can reply and give you more information you can be interested in.
Keep following us! J