Wednesday, March 14, 2012

the march trip to freetown (1 of 5)

>> this post is about the completion of my project! for some reason, blogspot isn't letting me choose my own font or format this. whatever. so, for those paying attention, i started the chairs and desks project in january 2011 after our IST (in-service training) and it took a long time. there were problems with arranging the metalworker to come to gbendembu, there were problems with the pricing and paying for workmanship, there were problems with receipts and then getting those receipts back to freetown from the village. but, with the first half completed, the embassy staff was pleased, and the work continued. i took that trip home in july 2011 and work sort of stopped altogether. upon my return, i stoked the fires, and work continued until the welding machine broke and then my metalworker came down with malaria, which meant the metal chairs weren't done. on the side of the wooden desks, they were done relatively quickly. finally, the machine was fixed and the metalworker was healthy and work continued, only to be stuck again when we had no paint to label the chairs and desks. an exercise in patience, yes. finally, finally, finally, everything was finished and the embassy came to gbendembu. i should write that again, clarifying and emphasizing. the AMBASSADOR to SIERRA LEONE, MICHAEL OWEN, came to GBENDEMBU! It was an incredible day that went without any problems and the embassy staff was truly impressed with people's generosity and honesty and, perhaps most important, that the chairs and desks were finished and beautiful. the Ambassador gave a short optimistic speech (that was truly uplifting to hear) as well as my principal and the Paramount Chief, then a short tour of the campus, finally coming to the staff quarters i'm constructing. it was an amazing day, a memorable one, and perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime event for the village. the project is finished. i love and miss you all :)

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