I brought $3,630 (the balance of the Sierra Leone fund) with me to Sentho in Sierra Leone when I went in January. We made a trip to Makomray and met with the school and village leaders. The new 2 classroom building for the preschoolers is close to be being done. See photo. The floors still need to be cemented and furniture is needed for one of the classrooms (the youngest children can use mats).
The other classrooms have had an issue with bat guano spoiling the ceiling and many ceiling tiles will need to be replaced along with mitigation to prevent further bat problems. There is also a need to do repaint some of the classrooms. Sentho plans to return to the village soon and get input on what specifically the community wants done with the current $$. She’s holding it for now and will report back to us once the decisions are made on how the money is spent.
We showed up during a school day. It was encouraging that there were many students and the teachers and principal were present. Neither of us were impressed by the apparent level of order and education that was going on. It’s not like we did an evaluation, but from appearances it didn’t appear a lot of learning was happening. I’m afraid the level of training of the staff combined with adequate supplies makes for a challenging learning environment for all. Some of the supplies we’ve sent in the past were there and are really valuable in such a poor community.
Anyway, we’ll hear more detail from Sentho in the coming months.
From Sentho: Hello Everyone and greetings from Sierra Leone.
Yes, Steve gave me $3,640 and I still have the $$ (not yet exchanged to leones) with me. Again,I want to say many thanks to all, but especially to Marilyn, Kay and Rhea, Andre, Steve and everyone who participated in various ways in making a difference in my village. I will forever be grateful!!
The Head chief finally called last week and gave me an estimate of the materials (cement, cellotex, paint, boards, etc) needed for the work. It’s a lot more than I had expected and he himself said that, so I will have to reduce the quantity so there will be money left for the teachers and some school supplies. I’ll send details later after delivering the items and paying the teachers.
I am planning to travel to the village to take the materials some time soon (before they start their farm work) or else they will not do the work.
Greetings, peace, and many thanks to all.
Special thanks to Marilyn Shaw for the many years in which she organized bike ride fundraisers to help to fund this school and support the teachers. Especially now, as Sierra Leone continues to recover from Ebola we give thanks for Marilyn’s generous heart and commitment to the children of Makomray, and for the love and support of this community .