With less than a week until their return to the UK, the team get to see more of CAFOD’s work as well as Sierra Leone’s natural beauty.
Bless the rains down in Africa
Saturday 16th March, 5pm
Lizmed Guest House, Makeni
Our time in Makeni is drawing to a close but our final few days have been truly excellent. Please forgive me for being overtly British but we have even been treated to some greatly-appreciated cloud cover and even the Holy Grail itself: rain. Whilst in the moment it was enjoyed by ourselves and the locals (we enjoyed it slightly more), there are likely to be very serious repercussions for farmers and traders as this unanticipated rain in the middle of the dry season may accelerate crop growth and could therefore disrupt natural patterns and ruin their harvest. It will take great care and effort to prevent this. But as I said, we enjoyed it at the time.
This week we have visited some more Caritas projects, which have included fish farms in Mabamba, an HIV-aids clinic in Bambuna and various community-coalition projects around the community of Rofainka. The range of projects Caritas supports is very impressive as they work in health, education, livelihoods and disaster risk reduction. It seems that whatever project Caritas is implementing, the local community is extremely grateful as we have been given unbelievable welcomes everywhere we have been as representatives of Caritas. This is a sign of their genuine appreciation and it will always remind me just how worthwhile supporting CAFOD is.
Away from work we’ve had a little time to see some of the beautiful surrounding area. On Thursday evening we climbed to the top of Mena hill on the outskirts of the city and at the summit overlooking Makeni is a simple wooden cross: a sign that God is always looking over the people. It boasts an exceptional view of luscious green bush and vast valleys edged by the sloping mountains of Sierra Leone. But to go one better for natural beauty, today we visited the waterfall at Bambuna and sat on the rocks, surrounded by steep banks of green, eating pepper chicken off the bone and drinking local ginger beer (so gingery) whilst the spray from the crashing water misted over us.
The past two and a half weeks with Caritas Makeni have been truly excellent and we owe a lot to our hosts, especially Thomas (our driver), Polo and Marvel (who have escorted us to the project sites), Barbara (who made sure we never went hungry) and Joe, the Director, who has been a superb host. Last night Joe invited us along with the entire staff to his house for a farewell celebration. We were treated to an African banquet, a few local beverages and even some goodbye gifts. We were truly honoured and moved by their generosity though any tears were masked by the aforementioned rain as we danced the night away in the downpour.
Thank you to everyone here, it’s back to Freetown for us tomorrow to meet up with our friends in Kenema and the CAFOD staff.
Peter. (The African’s don’t seem to understand ‘Pete’ so I’ve been going by ‘Peter’ and I’m quite liking it)
We’re hoping we’ll get a blog before the team leave Sierra Leone and if we do, we’ll post it straight away.