Today is Thursday, we arrived in Salone on Tuesday, our plane landing around 4am on a hot and rainy morning. The journey is a long one. An over night flight to London, followed by a 12 hour lay over, I left the airport for the day to wander around the streets of London, took a nap in Hyde Park, saw the palace, had a pint in a pub by Westminster Abbey, all this followed by another overnight flight to Sierra Leone. The airport is on the other side of one of the largest natural harbors in the world from the city of Freetown, to get across we wait for a few hours to get on a car ferry that takes us to the Government wharf downtown. The crossing is an hour of sweet sticky air on my skin watching the low-slung fishing canoes weave between the occasional tanker. As we get close to the shore we watch the tin roof shanty towns rising up out of the harbor, hugging the hillside looking like they could slip in to the sea at any moment. The swallows and kites are circling overhead in the mist heavy, overcast sky. Women in their colorful lapas, many with huge trays of smoked fish or other goods balanced securely on their heads sit on the upper deck.
We spent one day and night at a guest house in Freetown, dozing on and off throughout a day of rain storms. There was a lovely middle aged American ex-pat couple, returning Salone peace corps volunteers back with a friend. They all teach at the international school for the embassy in New Delhi and do teacher trainings here in Salone. We had a great time talking and sharing stories over dinner and breakfast the next day. We left Freetown yesterday mid day to come up country to Jitta’s home in Bo. Jitta is our translator and all around go to woman here in-country. It took us 2 hours to get through Freetown, the last hour being spent in a line waiting to “pay taxes” to the police, we were waived through after a few minutes of discussion. The drive up was mostly uneventful. There is a paved road now all the way to Bo, so it was a pretty luxuriously bump free. We passed an unfortunate car accident on the side of the road, a mini van full of people had flipped,
there were no obvious injuries but at one village further along there was a group of people gathered along the side of the road, and Jitta said, “that was a dead woman there, lying by the side of the road”. We don’t stop because there is really nothing that we could do to help, we don’t carry any sort of comprehensive medical kit here with us, and our presence often causes more distraction then aid.
We will be here in Bo for a couple of days getting organized going to the market, printing out lesson plans etc, we head farther up country in to the villages on Sunday to begin our first training. Trish has asked me to work on a lactation continuing education module for the program, which should be fun.
It has been so lovely to see every one again. Some of my friends here are far away but we have called as many people as we can to let them know that I am in-country and I hope to see them while I am here. It is good to be back and I am looking forward to my time here. It has been interesting being here again after having been to Haiti for the last 4 years, lots of comparisons and contrasts, but more on that later.
Hope you all are well and lots of love from far away,