A brief night’s sleep, and we were off to the airport for the first leg of our mission trip journey, Sierra Leone. I wandered around the duty free shops, checking out prices on their products. I could purchase a watch for $430 US, perfume for $80, carvings for $45, kenti cloth clothing for $200, umbrellas for $20. Jewellry, gold necklaces, were going for $105 and up. The store was open and no employee in site. The general store next door had beautiful Christian music playing. It was so very soothing.
My Kenyan Airline was packed to capacity, as I soon learned boarding the plane. Many of the passengers were from America and South Africa. Occasionally, there would be passionate chatter in the cabin, as various African nationals would talk animatedly with one another across the isles.
I learned that Sierra Leone mines manganese. Many positive developments are in the works, including training their military. Touching down at the airport in Sierra Leone, I learned, quite to my surprise, that in order to get to Freetown, the capital, we had to take a speedboat on a 9-mile journey. Just embarking was a challenge, as the launch site was in constant motion with waves rolling in. The 30-minute trip required pilot expertise, as waves hit our boat and we would often fly off the water. My carryon luggage got wet, as water seeped into the back of the boat, so close to the water’s edge.
I was met by Tamba, a Sierra Leonean, who is conducting research for John Hopkins. He escorted me to the capital. Arriving in port, we waited for John Sampson and Megan, and soon they joined us and we were off to a resort for dinner. Meeting the owner, we learned that he is passionate about supporting the redevelopment of his country.
Tomorrow, I meet the staff at the Konar Hospital. Yesterday, they began their biannual operating room spring cleaning. Everything gets cleaned and fumigated.
Click here to see some images.