Adventures in Kabala
We are presently in Kabala, a town about six hours north of Freetown, close to the border of Guinea. Our task here is to distribute primers to various schools, which were developed by Loreen and Katie (last year’s interns). We haven’t been here for long, but we are really enjoying our time here. The first thing everyone in Freetown said to us about Kabala was that it was “cool”. And although yes, it is marginally cooler than Freetown, we certainly didn’t need to bring our sweaters along!
We went on a “tour of villages” with a man named Joseph Sesay, the regional director of one of the organizations we’re working with. He was excited to give us the opportunity to take pictures of Kabala, and had lots of suggestions along the way for fun pictures! We had a really good time touring around with him. One of the highlights of the trip was the first village, Ishmaia, that we arrived in. We parked the car in the middle of the village, got out, and suddenly there were many many people, mostly women and children, running towards us yelling ‘white man/or white woman’ (Our personal favourite being ‘whites’ as it is short, succinct, and covers both of us!). They are extraordinarily friendly.
We also stopped at a radio station which broadcasted to the area of Kabala and surrounding villages. We were escorted right into the middle of the room where they broadcast, while they were on air! Mr. Sesay phoned in a call to the radio station shortly afterwards in which he ‘welcomed us to Sierra Leone’ which went on air : ) We also stopped at homes of people we’ve met since we’ve come, watched the building of a school for awhile, and hiked into the woods to pick tangerines (delicious!). Kabala, surrounded by mountains, is truly a place of beauty full of friendly and welcoming people.
Today we went out to a couple villages, each of us was on the back of a motorcycle behind a driver and had a stack of books on the luggage rack behind us. We would be swerving across the road trying to avoid various obstacles such as rocks, rain ruts and large puddles. After arriving in the town, we’d get off the motorcycles and get ready to distribute the books. We would have a mini-meeting with the teacher and headmaster of the class and try to work out the details. After that, we’d hand out the books and then try to find a way to group together the happy and rowdy children together to take some pictures. All the kids were happy to see us and to get some school materials. It was a bit shocking for us to walk into a room and see the only aid the teachers had was a small chalkboard at the front of the classroom. They are in need of so much here.
After getting on the motorcycle, we’d start to ride away and the kids would run after us waving goodbye.