Ebola Update

Yes, the news from Sierra Leone is grim and not expected to get any better, any time soon. Mike returned from Sierra Leone in late August 2014 on one of the last flights after the Gambia Bird airline 'pulled the plug' on its return flights to London. The number of EBOLA incidents, suspected and confirmed, is growing 'exponentially'.(see the link below which covers much of the recent theorising and aid plans from both the US and UK). Mike had to cancel Extra Mile's training programme with headteachers and other staff, and clearly as yet there are no plans for schools/colleges/universities throughout SL to return to session for the foreseeable future. We had to postpone one of our volunteers' programmes for August, sadly, but we hope she may be able to try again next year, if things have improved. BECE, the basic exam for the end of Junior School was cancelled in June so an entire cohort of JSS3 pupils will have to wait another year before taking their exams, (and another year's worth of fees, if schools resume before then!). Many schools are having to dispense with their teachers because they cannot pay them, because they have no pupils. Teachers and lecturers are desperate, as indeed are many workers in the rest of the economy who are beginning to feel the effects of a much 'slower' economy. West Africa is effectively being 'cut-off' from the rest of the world as only aid or health workers come and go. We have suspended our school and community library building programme so as to reduce the risk to our staff from workers coming into the site from various parts of the city. We have almost completed the library and two classrooms, but there it must end, for a while at least.The feeling with all our people is that because of the gradual spread of the virus, despite all their individual precautions (chlorine and soap washes at the front door and no handshaking), it is only a matter of time before EVD 'knocks' on their door! It is a desperate situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and indeed all the amazing people of this wonderful country, at this time.

Yes, the news from Sierra Leone is grim and not expected to get any better, any time soon. Mike returned from Sierra Leone in late August 2014 on one of the last flights after the Gambia Bird airline 'pulled the plug' on its return flights to London. The number of EBOLA incidents, suspected and confirmed, is growing 'exponentially'.(see the link below which covers much of the recent theorising and aid plans from both the US and UK). Mike had to cancel Extra Mile's training programme with headteachers and other staff, and clearly as yet there are no plans for schools/colleges/universities throughout SL to return to session for the foreseeable future. We had to postpone one of our volunteers' programmes for August, sadly, but we hope she may be able to try again next year, if things have improved. BECE, the basic exam for the end of Junior School was cancelled in June so an entire cohort of JSS3 pupils will have to wait another year before taking their exams, (and another year's worth of fees, if schools resume before then!). Many schools are having to dispense with their teachers because they cannot pay them, because they have no pupils. Teachers and lecturers are desperate, as indeed are many workers in the rest of the economy who are beginning to feel the effects of a much 'slower' economy. West Africa is effectively being 'cut-off' from the rest of the world as only aid or health workers come and go. We have suspended our school and community library building programme so as to reduce the risk to our staff from workers coming into the site from various parts of the city. We have almost completed the library and two classrooms, but there it must end, for a while at least.The feeling with all our people is that because of the gradual spread of the virus, despite all their individual precautions (chlorine and soap washes at the front door and no handshaking), it is only a matter of time before EVD 'knocks' on their door! It is a desperate situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and indeed all the amazing people of this wonderful country, at this time.