Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Views from Wilberforce...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Third blood donation...

Yes, it has been 4 months since blood donation #2. On Saturday the 20th of August I went to the blood bank at Ola During Children's Hospital to give another 450 mls of blood. Since my regular partner in crime has left Sierra Leone (still miss you Shona!), another friend joined me this time. It was his first time to donate (well done Grant!). First things first, we started off with a cold bottle of coke. Then, we headed to the blood bank where we needed to check our own hemoglobins to make sure we were fit to donate. As usual, my Hb was on the low side: 11.2 g/dL. Slightly too low to donate, but I convinced the technician that I was happy to donate at my own risk. He allowed it. He then proceeded to check my friend's Hb. The machine read: error. He tried again. Same thing. He tried another machine. Both read: error. I asked when the machines were last cleaned. It had been a while. He said he would do it now. After a 5 minute search for a special hemocue cleaner, I suggested I get a cleaner from my office. The technician liked that idea so off we went to pick up a cleaning package. The tech then proceeded to clean the machine. However, he wasn't able to dismantle the machine to get to the optic lens, which is the part that needed to be cleaned. He graciously asked if I could help. To be honest, I have done it before, but never quite remember how I dismantle the machine. I did manage however, and cleaned both hemocue machines. Who would have thought I'd be put to work when going to donate blood? Only here. My friend's Hb was much better than mine and so we were ready to donate. We headed over to the donation room, got our weights and ages noted and got settled on the exam tables- one of which is propped up by a box. The process took longer than usual, due to slow running blood through my veins and a dislodged needle in my friend's arm meaning he needed to be stuck a second time. All ended well, and we both donated. It was, once again, a unique experience.

If you would like to donate at the Children's Hospital, let me know! I know the experience sounds a bit crazy, but really it's fine. World Health Organization Standards and all around good staff. No need to worry. And, the offer of an escort and free coke still stand. Come and donate - it's a great way to contribute to saving lives...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A story with a good ending...

Thursday did not start off well. I was showing a visiting doctor around the hospital and the first place we went to was ward 3. I think that’s my favorite ward. The patients are for the most part stable, but the cases are varied. There are general cases as well as children with tuberculosis, HIV, Burkitt’s lymphoma, etc. I thought it would be a good place to start the tour, but I was wrong. As soon as we walked in, I noticed a nurse removing a cannula from a child on the examination table. It only took seconds to realize that the child had died. What a terrible introduction to the hospital. Face to face with reality.

Later, on our way to ward 1, I noticed a mom walking into the building with a child on her back. The child was totally covered by her lappa and by the look of the bundle it looked like the child wasn’t breathing properly. I asked the mom to remove the child. The child was gasping. I found out it was a new patient and the mom had been looking for the registration area. To make a long story short and skip some of the frustrating parts – I carried the child up to the Emergency Room and we proceeded to treat the child.

Alongside me were a couple of nurses, one of who used to work in Aberdeen and is now doing her RN training. I was thankful to have her by my side. While putting the child on oxygen (with some delays), we checked the blood sugar, which was LO. We were struggling to get a cannula in and so in the meantime I grabbed the ambubag as a precaution. Finally one of my colleagues managed to secure a line. We gave 30 mls of Dextrose 10% and waited. And after just a few minutes the child’s breathing normalized, the child was alert and the child even started fighting the nurses. Thank God I ran into this child and got her to the Emergency Room. And thank God for Dextrose!

I have to say that it is one of the most amazing recoveries to witness. A child that comes in unconscious, often gasping, receives dextrose and then comes back to life as it were. I made it a point to use the moment as a teaching opportunity and talk to the (student) nurses about hypoglycemia and the importance of recognizing it and treating it and, once corrected, monitoring it. I think that the nurses were also amazed at the child’s response. Everyone was very aware that any more delay would have cost the child’s life.

This morning, two days later, I was on one of the general wards and saw the child and mom. The child is doing much better and the mom was very thankful. I am grateful for happy endings.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Denial, blame and lying...

While checking up on a few things today, I was reminded again how easy it is for people to deny issues, blame someone else, or blatantly lie about something. And unfortunately, it happens all the time using phrases like:

"I don't know anything about that."
"It wasn't me, it was..."
"Nobody told me."
"Ask so-and-so."

For instance, I notice a child that hasn't had vital signs taken since the previous morning. I ask one of the nurses why this has not been done. The response: "the early shift was supposed to do it". I react by saying that all shifts are to blame since it has been more than 24 hours since they were done. I end with: can you please do it now?

I ask someone if they have decided on where specific items should be moved to for storage while some reconstruction is taking place. They respond by saying "I know nothing about that". I remind them that I had discussed it with them two evenings ago when leaving the hospital. I end with: Can you please let me know by Monday morning?

I notice one of the pieces of lab equipment is not being used and find out someone has taken out the batteries (which are supposed to last for 5 years). I ask who did it. No one knows. And no one cares. "It wasn't me."

I stand at my gate, knocking for 10 minutes before a guard comes to open it and let me in. I tell him he shouldn't be sleeping. He says, "I wasn't." I give up as I walk past his mat and a second guard sleeping under the staircase and hurry up to my flat.

I can go on with examples, but it would only continue to frustrate me. I just don’t buy it that everyone comes to work for their salary without caring at all about what they do. I just can’t imagine that would be the case. Yet, sometimes it looks that way. Yes, there are some very dedicated and hard-working people here but there are many people who do not seem to be very active at all. Why do they even come? And this is not only a problem in the healthcare sector. It’s a problem in many sectors. Why is that? And, more importantly, how can it be changed?

How can you instill a sense of responsibility in people?
How can you convince people that it is there duty to do their job to the best of their ability?
How can you make people realize that even if someone else was supposed to do something but forgot or neglected to do so, they should do so in order to do their job the best they can?
How do you change something that is so engrained into the culture?

Unfortunately I know that there is no clear answer and that this way of thinking and behaving will take years to change. I suppose all I can do is to try to be a good influence. I can encourage people and mentor them. And hope that they see that doing your job to the best of your ability pays off. If anyone has any answers, let me know!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday Bible Study...

After a overwhelming first half of the week, it was great to be able to go to the Wednesday night house group and discuss 2 Corinthians 6 with friends. I was encouraged.

God reminds us, “I heard your call in the nick of time; The day you needed me, I was there to help.” Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped.

“Our work as God's servants gets validated—or not—in the details.
People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly...
in hard times, tough times, bad times;
when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed;
working hard, working late, working without eating;
with pure heart, clear head, steady hand;
in gentleness, holiness, and honest love;
when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing his power;
when we're doing our best setting things right;
when we're praised, and when we're blamed;
slandered, and honored;
true to our word, though distrusted;
ignored by the world, but recognized by God;
terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead;
beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die;
immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy;
living on handouts, yet enriching many;
having nothing, having it all.”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Challenging Monday...

I don’t really know what it was about today that made it so challenging. I suppose it was a combination of things.

All day long I felt as though I was on the go. There was a lot of chasing up to do. A patient that had not received medication, a form that was not available on the wards to request for ceftriaxone, data that had not been collected for the monthly report, a lab result that had not yet been looked at. In other words, there were a lot of little things that ended up taking time to sort out or getting someone else to sort it out. Things I don’t mind doing, but that keep me away from my ever growing ‘to do’ list.

The reconstruction of the Special Care Baby Unit took up quite a lot of time today. From checking the mosquito screens (and having the contractor re-do some of them), to making sure the floor and cots were cleaned, to moving in incubators, to organizing the cots in the bays, to making sure the incubators work, to discussing the need for shelves for monitors etc. We are nearing the time when the babies can be moved into the new ward and need to make sure we are ready. Needless to say, it meant many trips back and forth to SCBU to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. Obviously, this needs to be done, and it is great to be a part of the process, but it takes up quite a bit of time. And, some of the aspects bring on their own frustrations.

All of the above meant that I didn’t do much of what I had hoped to do. I think part of today’s problem was realizing how swamped I am. I had hoped to finish the finance documentation, plan a team meeting, get approved projects underway, arrange meetings with SLICH Board members, read Comic Relief documentation, sort out contracts, call people about various registrations, chase up an audit, etc. It just wasn’t possible. And that got to me. I know I can only do so much, but being hit in the face with my limitations throughout the day was tough. Every time I looked at a clock, it was a few hours later than I expected. The day was flying by and I still had so much to do. I realized again that I need to acknowledge the fact that I will not be able to accomplish everything. I am one person, trying to do a job that is bigger than I can do at the moment. Hopefully, that will improve a bit over the next few weeks. For now, I’ll just have to manage. In Sierra Leonean style: ‘A go manage.’

To top it off, we now seem to be collecting rainwater inside our house! Our roof has a hole in it and the water is dripping into the corridor by the kitchen. There’s never a dull moment here. It’s go, go, go.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another Sunday Summary...

My weekend was quite busy. Saturday was spent at the hospital overseeing some of the work in the special care baby unit. The place needed to be fumigated, which was scheduled for 9 am and finally took place at 3 pm. I then donated blood, which was an adventure as usual. For the rest, I did a mixture of work and surfing the Internet. It was nice to be in a place with electricity for the day! The evening ended out with a steak dinner, to replenish my iron stores.

On Sunday I went to church. Although I was not on the schedule to teach, I did end up with the Sunday school kids because there were so many of them. I can’t say I minded. I also ended up seeing a sick child and referring him to a clinic.

After church I spent a few hours at home before hopping in a taxi to Aberdeen to meet up with Sarah for a run. We headed down to Lumley beach, and after catching up with friends who have just returned from their holiday we were off. Seeing as we’re just starting up, we didn’t run very far, but it was long enough for us. We continued walking until we reached the amputee football team playing a football match. Within seconds, an expatriate came up to us and before we knew it we were discussing laboratory services and medical care in Sierra Leone. Networking. Not what I would have expected to be doing on a Sunday afternoon, but it’s potentially a good contact to have. We then walked further down the beach before turning around to go back to the center. After a shower (with great water pressure) I left the center and went to meet another friend. On my way out, I ran into a mom who was waiting to register her child for the clinic the next morning. To make a long story short: the child needed to be admitted and so I sent the child to the Children’s Hospital for a blood transfusion. My friend ended up meeting me in Aberdeen and we walked the whole stretch of the beach to Lumley. I can definitely say I got my exercise for the day!

It was another good weekend come and gone. I can’t say I had the chance to rest much this weekend, but maybe I can make up for it during the week. Probably not!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Five-year old Okon was admitted in July and discharged on the 11th, the day Comic Relief was at the hospital to do our grant approval 'reveal'. On that day Okon and his mom were full of smiles, because after being treated for malaria for four days, he was well enough to go home.

Today, when I came to the hospital, I saw a man and child sitting on the bench outside my office door. The child looked very familiar. It was Okon. Everything about him was the same, except for the smile. He was no longer smiling. For some reason, he is sick with malaria again and it has made him very weak. He has had two blood transfusions in the past two days. I hope he gets better quickly. And starts smiling again.

It makes me wonder how many children get sick again shortly after being discharged from the hospital. And why? And how many of them do not come back? And how many of those die? It would be sad to know that we aren’t fully curing patients. I have thought about this a lot in the past because I know that despite free health care, not all of the drugs are free to outpatients. While a patient is admitted everything might be free, but when they are discharged they may need to pay for some of the medication. Does that happen? Or do they go home partially treated, only to get sick again within a few days or weeks. Or do we treat one condition and overlook another. I suppose it is all possible but I sincerely hope we are treating all patients well the first time around.

In Okon’s case there are a lot of questions that can be asked. Did the doctor prescribe the right medication on discharge? Did the nurses dispense it to the mom? Did anyone explain to the mom how to give the medication? If mom had the medication, did she give it to him properly? Does he sleep under a bed net? I don't know the answers. Let’s just hope that he gets better quickly, and that when he is discharged it will be clear to all what needs to happen.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday facts...

  • I paid for Namina’s school fees this week so she can start primary school in September.
  • It rained 2 days straight on Wednesday and Thursday, so I was happy to see the sun again today.
  • Cleft lip babies in Sierra Leone are often labeled as ‘devil children’ and left in the bush to die.
  • There is a Sunday Times article (in the Magazine supplement) coming out THIS Sunday covering Mercy Ships, which may or may not include Namina’s story.
  • According to the Central Intelligence Agency Sierra Leone is 60% Muslim, 10% Christian and 30% Indigenous beliefs.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


It’s the month of Ramadan right now during which Muslims fast during the light hours of the day.

It has been very interesting to observe the fast month and to talk to some of my friends who are Muslim. Most of them are very devoted and go to the mosque to pray multiple times a day. This time of year is very important to them. They refrain from food and drink throughout the day and then around 7:15 pm (when it is dark here) they break the fast (in different ways) and then share a meal with family and friends. It actually sounds quite nice. The idea of refraining from something to focus more on God sounds great. And the fact that it is something that is shared with family and friends is appealing as well.

However, as with Christian fasting, I always wonder how many people fast because it is ‘the thing to do’ and how many people are really spending extra time thinking, praying and reading. I think there is a lot of social pressure here, especially when it comes to what is expected of you while fasting. You either need to cook food for a large number of people or you have to bring gifts to the person cooking for you. I know it is about good gesture and respect, and I can appreciate that. However, when someone has little income but is expected to buy an elaborate dress for his granny, it seems strange to me. Social pressure is huge. Expectations from relatives are huge. Maybe this is a part of the sacrifice.

Another thing that surprised me is that although no one eats or drinks during the day, some people actually end up eating more in a 24 hour than they would normally. I know a family who ends up cooking twice as much in the evening, and so, spending twice as much money on food during the fast month. I know they can’t afford this. I don’t understand why this is necessary and to me it seems to contradict the whole idea of a fast. Maybe that’s just me.

It’s also interesting to think about how the fast could be considered to be easier or more difficult depending on where you are in the world. I think in Sierra Leone people can be thankful that they only have to fast for 12 hours. The sun rises at 6:45 am and sets just after 7 pm. In Iceland, the longest fast was on August 1st and lasted 17 hours and 59 minutes. That’s incredible. To be honest, I am not sure I could even do the 12 hours. Not eating, fine, but not drinking anything would be difficult and I’m sure I’d pass out.

I always wonder what kind of impact Ramadan has on the health of children. Not really in terms of fasting, because the children do not fast for the most part, but more in terms of caregivers not bringing them to the hospital, caregivers not wanting to donate blood because they are fasting, etc. I wonder how our patient numbers will compare to the previous month, bearing in mind that the rains are also at the worst this month – meaning, more illness, but more difficulty in patients reaching the hospital.

It has been insightful to experience Ramadan from the sidelines and I’m sure I’ll have many more conversations with my friends here about this. In honesty, it has been a good reminder to me to make sure I spend time focusing on God, whether fasting or not fasting.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Short Sunday summary...

Rain, rain and more rain. That pretty much sums up the weather. I knew it would be a struggle to get to church if it was pouring rain so I chose an easier option and asked Farah, a taxi driver, to pick me up. It was much more convenient. During the service the rain stopped and I was able to teach Sunday school, which takes place outside. Today I taught fifteen children between the ages of 2 and 8. I was happy I picked a good craft that kept them all busy and out of too much trouble! As of next week we are splitting Sunday school into three groups: 2-5 years, 6-10 years, 11 and up. I will be teaching the 6-10 year olds which I am really looking forward to. However, it looks like it means teaching every other week instead of every third week. Things are just getting busier.

I spent the afternoon at home and ended up taking a nap curled up on my bed wearing a sweater. Yes, it really does get a little chilly in rainy season. I love that aspect of the rains. There wasn’t any power (there hasn’t been all weekend) and so there wasn’t much else I could do. Late afternoon I headed to the port to visit friends on the Africa Mercy. On my way I stopped at a friends house to say bye, since she is leaving Sierra Leone for good. There are a lot of people leaving this summer. That’s one of the aspects of life here I don’t like so much! My visit to the ship was fun. It was great to catch up with friends and I enjoyed the service. After a hot chocolate (with a shot of mint) in the Starbucks cafĂ© it was time to head home. It’s now nearly 11 pm and time for me to go to bed. It’s going to be an early start tomorrow since I have to be out of the door by 6:50 am. I’m hoping for a productive and smooth week.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back in SL: the first 72 hours…

I returned to Sierra Leone 72 hours ago and it’s been great so far, with mostly ‘ups’ and very few ‘downs’.

I had a good trip back especially since I travelled with my new colleague. We had plenty of time to chat and get to know each other and the six-hour trip went by quickly. From Lungi we made it to Freetown in record time by way of a minibus and water taxi. When we reached Aberdeen, our driver picked us up and took us to the flat. Over a cup of tea, I caught up with my colleagues before heading to bed.

On Thursday morning we went to our little office on the west side of town (near the flat) to catch up a bit. Of course, as predicted, I hit the ground running. Not only am I taking on all of the Comic Relief stuff (which kind of doubles my work load) but I am also taking over a few of the tasks from a colleague who left last night – like overseeing the reconstruction of the neonatal unit and sorting out vehicle issues! Oh, the joys. If I am honest, it is a bit daunting, but really, I will manage. I just need a few days to catch up with what has happened over the last few weeks (finances etc.) and then I can move forward with some big assignments!

In the afternoon we went to the hospital and I showed my new colleague around. It was great to catch up with hospital staff, although the place was a little empty due to Ramadan (people out for prayers). We ended up leaving after 5 but fortunately traffic wasn’t too bad. In the evening we went to Independence Bar ion the beach for barbeque dinner (groupa fish and potato salad) and it was wonderful to sit on the beach, feet in the stand, listening to the sound of the waves and seeing the stars in the sky. Sierra Leone really is a beautiful place.

After a meeting at Connaught Hospital on Friday, we went to the Children’s. I spent the day catching up on a few things, seeing more hospital staff and spending some time chatting to some of the doctors, which was fun. One of the downs was the confrontation again with how sick children are here. There was a child in ICU on the verge of death and at various times I heard the sound of a wailing mother down the hall. It’s tough but I guess that is why we are here: to improve care.

On Friday evening we went to a place called Big Brother as a farewell for my colleague. After volunteering with Welbodi for 10 months he is moving on and he’ll be missed. A few of us saw him off at the water taxi which ended up being delayed a bit when a severe rainstorm came out of nowhere. Even though we were all under cover, within seconds, we were wet. Horizontal rain. Love it!

Today is Saturday and I met up with a good friend from Aberdeen for brunch. Afterwards we headed to town for some shopping. Our first stop was the ‘big market’ – a large covered market with carvings, jewelry, bags, blankets, fabric, etc. It’s rainy season and the evenings/nights are actually a bit chilly, so I bought a blanket at Big Market. When I bought my blanket I didn’t even bargain. The lady’s first price was Le 120,000 (20 Euros) and I told her my first and last price was Le 60,000 (10 Euros) since that is what I have paid in the past. She tried to get me to pay Le 75,000 but I told her Le 60,000 was my final price. Sold! We then strolled along Malama Thomas Street and picked out some fun fabrics. We then walked to the bus station and took the bus to the West side of town.

I spent the rest of the day unpacking my suitcase, cleaning, putting things away and basically enjoying a quiet afternoon and evening at home. I feel I have had some time to relax and come Monday, I’ll be ready to go! Full steam ahead. I hope.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday facts...

  • After spotting a triangle of laughing cow cheese on my food tray on the plane, I knew I was heading back to Sierra Leone: land of laughing cow cheese.
  • I put water in the kettle first thing in the morning and switched it on, only to realize that there was no electricity.
  • There are still a lot of dogs outside our compound and annoyingly enough, they all start barking at various times throughout the night, in unison.
  • Due to Ramadan I hear the call to prayer a couple of times in the night. Fortunately it’s pretty soft and I fall back asleep again.
  • I went to the supermarket yesterday to change money. I handed over two bills and in return I got a whole wad of cash.
  • I had a Vimto (soda/soft drink) at Independence Bar in honor of my friend Mikey, who left Salone a few weeks ago.
  • Lunch at the hospital is a choice between bread with either: laughing cow cheese, luncheon meat, baked beans, boiled egg or sardines. I rotate my choice between luncheon meat, cheese and egg.
  • Sierra Leone started a new bus system within Freetown a few months ago and it is a success.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Holiday shots...

Monday, August 08, 2011

Back to Salone...

Tomorrow I start my journey home. First to London, with an overnight at a friend's house and then on to Freetown the following day. It'll be good to be back, sleep in my own bed and get back to work but I wish I could see my family more often. C'est la vie. It really has been nice spending time with them in both the USA and the Netherlands. I enjoyed having a bit of a break too, with less responsibility and few frustrations. And of course it's been great playing with my nieces and nephew! It was fun to run around the yard with Porter flying planes and rolling down a hill with Zoey and Esmee. Good times! When I get back, I think I'll hit the ground running, especially since we discussed and planned a lot during the recent Welbodi Board meeting. It's time to put it into action. I think I'm ready...

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Top 7: Things I miss from Sierra Leone...

I have two full days left in Holland, then a day with travel to the UK and meeting up with my good friend Shona, and then a day of travel to Freetown. I will definitely enjoy my remaining time at home. However, I thought I'd let you know what it is I've missed about Freetown:

1. My bed. During my holiday I slept on airplane chairs, airport benches, air mattresses, beds, foam mats, garden chair cushions, etc. I will have slept in 7 different rooms. I have to say, there is nothing like my own bed. I am excited about sleeping in it on Wednesday, mosquito net and all.

2. Krio. 'Ow de bodi?' 'A de manage.' 'Ow yu sleep?' 'Tenki.' There’s nothing like speaking with everyone in Krio. From chatting to people on the street in the morning when I’m on my way to work, to colleagues at the hospital, to taxi drivers in town, to street vendors. Love it. Happy to return to the Krio speaking world.

3. Friends. Of course I miss my friends in Salone: my colleagues at the hospital, friends in Aberdeen, friends on the ship, flat mates, friends from international bible study, etc. There are some great people in Freetown! Sadly, two of my very good friends will not be there when I get back. I’ll definitely miss having them around. Mikey and Shona – come back to visit sometime!

4. ODCH. It’s not the easiest place to be but definitely an amazing place to work. There’s always something going on. Whether good or bad. I kind of miss the challenge of solving problems. Don’t worry, all too soon I’ll be right in the middle of it all again. What I miss the most is the smiles and giggles from the children and the friendliness of hospital staff. It’ll be great to see everyone again.

5. Beaches. I have missed the ocean. And best of all, swimming in the ocean with the mountains as a back drop. There’s nothing quite like it. Not to mention the hot sun, although, it was nice in Colorado to have a dry heat, rather than being all hot and sweaty. I’ll be returning to the peak of rainsy season, so who knows when the next beach trip will take place.

6. Transport. As crazy as it sounds, I do miss taxi’s and poda poda’s. Bizarrely, Freetown public transport actually makes sense and is really easy to use (once you get used to it). It’s pretty convenient and not expensive. Mind you, I’ve not missed hectic Freetown traffic.

7. Barracuda. I have had some excellent food while being away, but I am looking forward to fresh fish from the sea when I return. Yum!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Holiday top 7…

Although Sierra Leone is pretty much home for me now, it's still nice to go 'home' - to the Netherlands/USA (read: where family is) - for a break. It is true that when I am in Sierra Leone I am pretty content and have learnt to deal with various issues in daily life. However, once I'm 'home' I must say there are things I love about being 'home'. Here's my top 7:

1. Family. Siblings, siblings-in-law, parents, nieces, nephew. Need I say more?

2. Electricity. All day and every day. I can actually charge my phone and laptop at anytime. And I’m not getting electrocuted!

3. Running water. Excellent showers without having to kneel due to poor water pressure or use a bucket due to no water at all and I can drink water straight from the tap.

4. Different fruits. Fruits in Salone are great, but I have really enjoyed fruits that we don’t have there such as strawberries, cherries, (orange) oranges, plums and blackberries.

5. Peaceful neighborhood. No barking dogs or house parties at night and I can walk around town without being hissed at, shouted ‘white man’ at, etc. I can walk in silence and no one will feel offended and sometimes that is just really nice.

6. Dairy. Delicious milk, yummy yoghurt, real cheese (as opposed to laughing cow) and ice cream.

7. Friends. I didn’t get to see very many of you due to my short visits, but have definitely enjoyed seeing some of you again. There’s nothing like getting together with friends after being away for months and picking up where you left off. I'm thankful for deep friendships!

Friday, August 05, 2011

A successful quiz night...

On Friday the 15th of July, Welbodi Partnership held a fundraising quiz night, hosted by IMATT in Freetown. Just one week after sending out invitations we had generated more interest than we could cope with. After asking IMATT to agree to 100 participants, rather than the originally planned number of 80, we started putting additional names on a waiting list. Needless to say, we saw this as a sign that the night would be a success.

The Welbodi team, and a few honorary Welbodies, spent the next week planning and preparing for the night. Quiz questions were thought up, spectacular raffle prizes were arranged, raffle tickets were created, emails were sent back and forth, lists of names were submitted, the hall was set-up, etc. We were determined to make this a spectacular event.

On the evening, as people entered the room, they paid their entrance fee and were encouraged to buy raffle tickets to make a chance at winning some amazing prizes, raising more money for Welbodi. Prizes were varied and included winning 5 movie tickets, a night at the Chimpanzee Reserve, a day’s vehicle hire on the peninsula, a trip to the Africa Mercy to tour the ship and enjoy Starbucks, Splash cash and last but not least meals at various restaurants like O’Casey’s, Roy’s, Atlantic, Independence Bar and Crown Express.

The quiz rounds soon began and teams did their best to come up with the right answers to questions. Rounds varied from questions about sports, science & nature, history, entertainment, general knowledge and world, to picture rounds including popular locations within Freetown and a music round including lyrics in Krio, which was by far the most popular round.

At the end of the night, while the points were tallied, the raffle was drawn. Unplanned, one raffle prize ended up being auctioned off which was great fun with some high bidding taking place between two individuals. Finally, the winners were announced and the first prize went to the team “4 Nations”.

The fundraiser was a huge success and with everyone’s help we were able to raise Le 4,370,000, which is just over one thousand US dollars! This money will be used to continue improving child health care in the Children’s hospital. Welbodi Partnership would again like to thank IMATT for hosting, the prize givers for donating prizes and those individuals who made this event a success. Thank you.

To those who were not ableto make it, hopefully you can come to one of our events in the future. In the meantime, you can test your knowledge with the following quiz questions:

1. What is the capital of the newest country in the world?

2. What is the color of hippo milk?

3. What quintessential salone (food) product comes from the Jura region of France?

4. At the end of the 19th Century, European powers had occupied and ruled over all but 2 African countries. Which two?

5. What is the exact date when Sierra Leone became independent?

(Answers are in the comments)

Finally, if you would like to host an event to help raise money for the Welbodi Partnership please let us know. It’s easy, fun, and a great way to contribute to our work in Sierra Leone. Make your own free fundraising website in minutes at JustGiving, and contact us at info(at) if you need information or materials to help make your event a success.

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