Wednesday, 30 November 2011


The end of the field servie in Sierra Leone is approaching.

There were the last eye patients,
The last dental patients,
The last patients at the HOPE centre,
The last surgeries on board,
The last patients to leave the hospital,
The last day workers finishing, most left last week. 

We have had our last family day out,
I have had my last times of sitting in Freetown traffic,
I have had my last day working as a midwife at the Aberdeen Women's Centre.

And it is all a little strange.
I'm going to miss the midwives, the mama's and African baby cuddles. 
I'm going to miss seeing all the amusing sights while sitting in the Freetown traffic.
We're going to miss the beautiful beaches and mountains.

Soon we're going to miss the Ship and our friends, but for the next 10 days it is still home. We are so thankful that we had the opportunity to serve here this year, for all the people we met and fun things we have done. And we think of all the lives that have been changed because the Ship came to Sierra Leone for 2011 and that is quite an awesome thought. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

our special day out of Freetown - in pictures

 Josh was able to sit in the back of the truck while we were waiting. Poor Tommy, Joel and Paul had to travel in the back all the way (and Tom chose to sit in the back with them for much of the trip), but they did have a mattress to sit on. Plus Alfa hit a squirrel and put that in the back for his dinner, much to the boys amusement. Then we filled up the back a bit more with lots of vegetables.
 After our tour of London Mining we were taken to the village to see the church they are building and stopped at our hosts house to meet his family.
 They have paid for the church building themselves, it is still a bit of a work in progress, but they have the roof on now which should help.
 We stopped at the hospital for a drink - this was where one of Mike and Vi's children was born.
 And then we stopped in the grounds of the eye hospital for a picnic of home made pizza thanks to Vi. Josh managed to fit some in along with his sandwich, crackers, biscuits and none less than 4 bananas...
 Tom and Josh made sure everyone got some exercise after lunch by challenging people to race them around the grounds.
This sign reminded me of Cotonu in Benin - where there was a signpost to Nigeria. Here the sign reads Freetown one way and Conakry (Guinea) the other. Still seems strange somehow to think of driving from one country to another when we have only sailed or flown to each place and not crossed any borders.

We had a fantastic day out - it really was a great way of finishing our time here and we really enjoyed seeing life in Sierra Leone outside of Freetown. Thanks Mike and Vi!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

visiting the (iron ore) mine

 Thanks to a ship holiday last Friday we fit in a day of adventure with our friends Mike and Vi, another British guy Joel, who is working here a few months, their friend Pastor Paul and driver Alfa - we drove a couple of hours out of Freetown to the Lunsar area, where Mike and Vi lived many years ago. Our first stop was London Mining - where Mike had worked some thirty-something years ago. We could see the mining area as we approached it in the truck.
 We were not expecting to see more than the mines in the distance, but a friend of Pastor Pauls graciously hosted all of us and organised a tour for us within the mining compound. Official badges and all :-)
 After a bit of off-roading, we stopped the cars and walked the last bit to the top for some incredible views and a bit of explanation of what they are planning to do there
 The views were amazing
 There were butterflies everywhere, but our camera is not really fast enough to have any evidence of most of them, but this one stayed still for me :-)
Our guides explained the mining process and the different areas of production. It was really interesting, even the boys really enjoyed it - helped by the fact that they were allowed to collect 'shiny rocks' - bits of iron ore!

More to come on the rest of our day out...

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

holiday dress up day

 Mr F turned into a Christmas tree - can you just tell how much he loves dress up days - especially ones where I go off to work and he has to get all three of them ready by 0745. This was our last dress up day on the Ship, so clearly he has survived the ordeal ;-)
 Tom, as per almost every dress up day, wanted to wear his England football kit - for St Georges Day this time.
And Josh was a shepherd for Christmas.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Meeting local headteachers

Recently the ship was host for a visit of 20 headteachers from Freetown. Tommy and Nikki were asked to provide some training about curriculum development. Tommy started with a discussion about foundations by asking what the headteachers thought the purpose of their school was in order to demonstarte that any further decisions the school makes about curriculum need to come from a clear idea of why the school exists.

"What is the vision for students leaving the school?"

Without a good answer to that question schools cannot know whether they are achieving what they want to.

Monday, 7 November 2011

a real Princess came to school

 Josh and his pre-school friends are in the front row to meet Princess Anne
They were all quite excited to meet a 'real' Princess, although I think the little ones were a little confused because she didn't look like Princesses do in fairy tales ;-)

It was an honour that the Princess Royal took the time to visit and tour the Ship and everyone that met her said she seemed very nice and actually quite down to earth.

Airtel 555

Since it's launch the Airtel 555 number has been operational as the fistula hotline in Sierra Leone. The local media have written a little about the launch: