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Sierra Leone Trip - Janet

Janet, Simon and Bethany are now back in the UK from their trip to Sierra Leone, where they report having an amazing time!  While Simon and Bethany were kept extremely busy preaching, encouraging and leading conferences with nearly 100 delegates, Janet spent time teaching at Foo Foo Water, where her class of 19 pupils quickly grew to 58 children! Read Janet's account of the trip below:

If I'm honest, I found the experience of teaching at Foo Foo exhilarating but also exhausting. Thankfully, the class teacher, Marian, was 'an absolute bonus’, soaking up everything that we did and demonstrating her newly found skills with clear understanding. After the children had gone home, with the help of Simon, Bethany, Marian - and anyone else who could hold a paint brush! - we gradually transformed the classroom walls to create a far more effective, learning environment. 

Meeting with the Headteachers was equally encouraging and challenging, giving them an opportunity to be honest about their situation, within the realistic constraints about how change could happen. It was a valuable time to be serious, but we also made time to have some fun!

One concern, however, that was glaringly apparent is that Foo Foo Water's school building is showing signs of collapse. The community came together to build three classrooms, but the building is not finished (I taught in the middle room). There are no ceilings, there needs to be a veranda, and the building still needs proper doors and windows. The location has plenty of land to build, so thoughts arise for prayers about building a new school for the children - as we did in Tombo.

I very much appreciated working with Simon and Bethany during our period of preparation and during the actual visit to Sierra Leone. I felt that we worked well together as a team; each of us using our different strengths and abilities. With the additional organisational skills of Magnus, and the predominately guidance of God, we were able to forge fresh links between the UK and SL.

Many discussions took place during the trip about how we could make improvements to our supportive work. One issue raised about the forthcoming shipment to Sierra Leone in September, was the need to clearly label all boxes that are contributed, and create a simple inventory to accompany them. In addition, we ask that anything sent for the health centre is labelled as HC.

On previous occasions I've mentioned that the provision of tools would be a great asset to the schools, and during the trip I tried to encourage the Headteachers to ‘roll up their sleeves’ and mend the furniture in their classrooms! To encourage this, we would be very pleased to receive any non-electric tools to add to the shipment.

Also, when we decorate the classrooms we use brightly coloured acrylic paint. This year, between the three of us, we were able to share the weight of transporting the paint to SL. But again, it would be so helpful to include acrylic paints in our shipment so the schools can continue to decorate their classrooms. We have left behind some templates particularly for this purpose.

Finally, please may I thank you for your continuing support for the Sierra Leone Mission, without which we would not be able to help our communities in SL in the way we do.

Thank you!

Janet O'Shea



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