Trip Start Sep 28, 2007
20Trip End Oct 12, 2007
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We arose at 7:30 from our "hotel" in Bo at the Countryside Inn. We all slept poorly since the beds were uncomfortable. The old mattresses were covered by paper thin sheets and each of our beds had a dirty old small woven blanket that smelled. The pillows were like hard foam couch pillows but at least we did have mosquito nets. We all slept in our clothes but as the temperature dropped we were forced to put the blanket over our legs. We were grateful though to have had shelter and a bed instead of sleeping on the road in a broken down car. God once again had provided safety and shelter for us!
We had a leisurely breakfast at the "hotel" and ate 1 of the papayas given to us in Kono...it was delicious!
We decided to only visit with the SLASC amputee soccer team in Bo and skip our trip to Kenema so that we could arrive in Freetown during daylight hours. Once again we were reminded that this is God's plan and not ours. About 2 miles from our "hotel" our car broke down for the 4th time. The brake pads were completely gone! Not to be defeated we took off on foot to try to locate an "Internet Café" to update our blog. We left Eddie, our driver, to make arrangements to get our car fixed. We quickly discovered that the internet was down in the whole town of Bo. As we were walking back we ran across a woman's resource center in a dilapidated warehouse. They were teaching tailoring, weaving and bulgur production. We bought 2 beautiful wool table runners from the "school". We were so excited because we could use this training facility as a resource for the job retraining center we will be building for amputee women in Bo. Three acres has already been granted by the chief to GGM
As we were talking, Raymond Scott Manga (a retired Boeing executive from Sierra Leone and now one of the chiefs in the Bo Province) found us in the warehouse. We had met with him in Seattle at Lynn and Jim's house in August. He is in SL until early January using his retirement money to try to restore rice farming to his village. Before we left Seattle he promised to get together with us in SL. Since we arrived so late in Bo with no working phone he started searching for us by pounding the "pavement". This was not too difficult since we were the only white people in town and stuck out like a sore thumb! He appeared like a knight in shining armor! He invited us into his air conditioned Ford Expedition...WOW...what a glorious treat!!! We shared stories as we drove to the SLASC amputee soccer demonstration. The team was formed only 5 short months ago under the guidance of Pastor Samai but their skills were incredible! Like the other teams we met before, they were in great need of forearm crutches, cycling-type gloves to protect their hands from the wear and tear of the crutches, soccer shoes, equipment and uniforms. They were so grateful for the camaraderie from their fellow amputees and the hope they have for GGMUSA to help them in their desperate situation. When they hug you or shake your hand they hold on so tight as if to say "Help us, PLEASE help us." Such warm and beautiful people!
Raymond chauffeured us to the SOS orphanage where we planned to leave some candy and toys we brought with us for the children. There are 139 children from infants to age 15. It was by far one of the nicest facilities we had seen on this trip. Many women die during or after childbirth and 1 out of 5 children dies before the age of 5.
We then visited the amputee resettlement camp where a home was built for Mamuna (the amputee traveling with us). Her mother, step father, 2 sisters, 2 brothers and an aunt live in this meager home consisting of 2 bedroom and a parlor. The cooking area and outhouse are outside. They have a small garden for vegetables, 5 pigs and chickens. She would definitely be considered wealthy by SL standards.
We went back to find Eddie and the car which has been repaired by now so we were ready to head back to Freetown. It is now 4 pm and we are just getting on the road! So much for traveling during daylight hours!
At 5pm, in a very remote village, we experience breakdown #5 with a flat tire! We pulled off the road and immediately the children came running! Lynn (Lizzie) was on the far side of the car and pulled out her camera...big mistake! She started taking many, many "snaps" of the children to the laughter and glee of the children as she showed them pictures of themselves. The group continued to swell and soon things were out of control. Anne-Marie suggested that we play some games. Since there are no toys we played "Duck, Duck, Chicken (they don't know what a goose is) and "Red Rover". There must have been over 100 people surrounding the chaos. About 1 hour later we were back on the road but as we leave the children surround our car. The older kids bring paper and pencils to get our names and phone number. We have been leaving them along SL. We are unsure what they will do with this but it makes them so happy so we give it to them with pleasure.
The remainder of the drive was filled with silly songs by Lizzie and Anne-Marie much to Jim's chagrin. We also did LOTS of brainstorming on how to raise funds. We finally arrive in Freetown at 10pm. We were dirty, gritty and tired and the hot shower felt so good but we were sad that a shower was not available to our traveling companions, Pastor Samai, Memuna and Eddie.