Instead of the typical work filled weekend, last weekend was actually quite enjoyable. On Friday night we had a farewell barbeque for our Head of Programs (HoPs), Jonathan, at Annisha's house. Jonathan has been in Sierra Leone for over 3 years (and he was a CRS Fellow here back in the day) and is heading back to the US to be with his family. They had been living here with him, but Sierra Leone became an unaccompanied post soon after the Ebola outbreak began. His family had gone home for a few weeks and the decision to make the post unaccompanied was made while they were away so they weren’t allowed to come back. I’m sure that was difficult for all of them. We’ll all miss Jonathan, but I’m happy that he’ll get to be with his family again.
On Saturday morning I watched Jonathan and Sasha play tennis, something they do every weekend. Since it was Jonathan’s last day, I really wanted to see this match and it was a lot of fun. The weather has started to change though and it’s gotten very hot and humid so I was sweating just sitting there. Jonathan and I went for a quick swim afterwards to cool off. Later in the day, Annisha, Meredith and I went for lunch at a place called Brews and Bread (where I got a delicious chicken bacon melt and a milkshake!) and then fabric shopping at the outdoor market. I expected the market to be a lot crazier than it was. There were definitely a lot of people, but the people selling stuff were nowhere near as pushy as the Maasai mamas in Kimana. It helped that Annisha speaks Krio quite well and was able to negotiate for all of us. At one point, two little girls were showing us some fabric. It quickly became clear that they were sisters as they started fighting. As I was watching them I was struck by the fact that they were no different than my sister and me. That easily could have been Haley and me fighting on a dirt street in the middle of Freetown surrounded by trash and dirty water. Even the smallest things that we take for granted every day are probably luxuries that these kids will never have and that’s really sad. Anyway, when we left the market, Meredith had to pick up a shower head and fiberglass for Sasha. She wasn’t really sure where to get it so Annisha started yelling out the window to an old man working on the street and had him ask inside a building material store to see if they had what we needed. This old man was so helpful. He went and asked if they had what we needed and helped us park (which is an experience all in itself on the crowded streets of Freetown where there are no defined parking areas and you basically just park anywhere you want). When Meredith finally came out of the store we headed back to the compound.
On Sunday Annisha came over and she and I went to Sasha’s house and worked on social mobilization stuff for most of the day. Sasha watched Mockingjay at one point and I was significantly less productive when it was on. After Annisha left, Sasha, Meredith and I went swimming for a couple of hours. We were joined by our German neighbor, Rudy. He manages our compound and this was the first time I had met him. I’m pretty sure I only understood approximately 4% of the words that came out of his mouth, but he was hilarious when I could make out what he was saying. He brought out sparkling red wine, some of which he randomly proceeded to pour on Sasha’s head. Honestly, the guy is crazy and I love him. After we got out of the pool, we decided to make brownies and relax for the rest of the night.
|Religious leaders got really into the role playing activity. This pair is acting out a message about |
not touching dead bodies and calling the hotline for safe and dignified burials.
|Tippy tap outside the CRS office in Kabala|
|CRS office in Kabala|
|Decontamination site for burial, ambulance and swabbing teams and vehicles in Kabala|