Julia has been blogging furiously, but with no Internet access, she has had to send five blogs at once. Over the next few days, we’ll put her back-dated blogs from Sierra Leone here until we catch up in real time.
We’ve now moved from Freetown to Makeni and last night the staff from the Caritas office here in Makeni asked us out in order to be able to embrace local culture by experiencing the social life here. We started off with a few awkward British shuffles and ended up with pulling out the classics like big fish, little fish, cardboard box and (even though we didn’t have the music) the Macarena. And as I looked around at my fellow “gappers” I did wonder how it felt to be out danced by the known socially awkward British. Unfortunately though we put a lot of effort in, our dancing skills are not up to scratch. However it is okay as next week we are learning traditional dancing and so we may be able to show off our new moves when we return to the UK. (Watch out YMT!)
So it hasn’t been all social dancing and fun since we arrived in Makeni just over 24 hours ago. We’ve been busy meeting various people and seeing different organisations. It started off Wednesday afternoon with a visit to the caritas Makeni office (partners with CAFOD) where we were introduced to Joe the director and other members of staff. On Thursday morning we were able to discuss with the team our expectations and what we wanted to achieve while we were in Makeni. We were then able to meet the local priest and see the site where the office is.
After our tour we headed to the University of Makeni, we were met there by Fr Joe, who is the Director of Education, he allowed us to ask him a whole range of questions about the university and education in Sierra Leone. He then took us on a tour of the Campus which included a visit to their radio station (which is the Catholic Radio station in the main cities) unfortunately they were off air when we were visiting otherwise I’d have loved to have a go. For those who know me, I love radio and try to get as much experience of it as I can after joining the radio station at university. The tour of the university was interesting as we learnt lots and got to see how classes here differ from classes in the UK.
As our day was visiting the local catholic institutes we also headed to the local hospital to have a tour of their facilities and how the hospital works. We meet a lot of different people from Lab technicians to Doctors and Surgeons to even a physiotherapist from the UK. So as you can tell our first 24 hours in Makeni has been busy and it doesn’t stop, today we are off to a local community and on Monday we are staying with another community for three days. I am sure that I will have lots to talk about in my next blog.
Not surprisinly Julia has more to tell us in her next blog as she reflects on her first full week in Sierra Leone. Drop by to read more in the next couple of days.