This week in Sierra Leone

Greetings from Sierra Leone, which is drying out slowly.. stop, .........hold that,..... we had a huge storm last night. The weather here is very changeable!!!

We've reached the end of our first week of term, with the addition of one classroom helper, Ysatu to replace Anita who left in the middle of last year for a job in a bank. We now have an extra class, making 82 pupils in three classes (30, 32, 20). We've lost about 6 pupils who've got fed up of our staff chasing them to attend every day and be on time.

I've been observing lots of lessons during this first week. I know that's cruel, but staff have engaged with that, been very positive and appreciative of the help and advice, and I've been pleased because our teaching is gradually improving!

We've had to avoid going into town over the last few weeks because the driving licences of both Moses and I have expired!!. We've tried to renew them now for over a month but the one and only official machine (Nigerian in origin!!) has broken down......... for the third time in four weeks. It appears that several thousand Sierra Leoneans are driving without a licence. The police are having a great time extracting fines from them, (even Moses yesterday), despite their protestations. Such a crazy country.

The doctors from our little local clinic called on Wednesday to collect the money which we owed them for treating our pupils during last year. The bill came to about £65. However, we managed to reach a deal to halve this by costing the value of some of the medical stuff which people in the UK have very kindly donated to us over the last year. So thanks to all those who continue to be so kind. Our last two barrel arrived this afternoon with the rest of the exercise books and lined paper as well as some medical stuff and some baby clothes for the mothers at the pregnancy clinic so lots more ‘bargaining chips’ for the medical bill next year.

I continue to chase a mosquito in my shower which seems to have attacked me several times over the last few days and then gone into hiding, unless, of course, it may be several of them working in a ‘pack’? Not sure what the collective noun is for maybe two or three mosquitoes, but tomorrow is ‘judgement day’. Its me or it/them. I’ll let you know the final score.