The visit ended in the same sort of whirlwind of activity it started with — we were fortunate that the rains were few and far between, which enabled ease of travel and meetings in the area.
Linda and I were pleased to welcome well-wishers who came to see us off and to go and visit with old friends who lived in the area; a wonderful surprise was to have a delightful young deaf man, Vandi, come by the missionary training center to say good bye. Vandi was on his way to his job as an agriculture assistant supporting Manjama Clinic, one of the rural medical clinics associated with Mercy Hospital. Manjama also has a hybrid solar/wind power generation system to run their off-grid refrigerator.
Peter Jaka, local contractor, and Derek Reinhard walk the Mercy Hospital grounds to site the Enviro-Loo project
In the afternoon, Mr. Jaka, the contractor who led the sanitation project at the deaf school in January, came to Mercy Hospital to meet the administrator and to walk the grounds and discuss placement of the Eloos when they arrive and construction begins.
The location of the four waterless solar composting latrines will be in line with the master expansion plan, which was initiated for Mercy Hospital recently.
Sanitation projects at Mercy Hospital will benefit the local community as well as staff and patients
It’s an exciting time as the capacity of Mercy Hospital grows. The Eloos are part of the overall waste management plan and will positively impact the surrounding community.
While at Bo Hospital yesterday morning, surveying for the pediatric solar electric project, Linda and I also met with a group of business and nursing students from Long Island University – Brooklyn, led by Dr. Mohammed Ghriga and Diane Kilts, RN. The students were in Sierra Leone for two weeks, experiencing a variety of jobs and activities having to do with health care as well as with business, learning operations as well as going out to support the hospital personnel during a health-screening outreach at a local town.
Before the trip, students had been tasked to research an aspect of sustainability in the context of developing countries; I was amazed at the insight and questions each posed in an impromptu round-table discussion we had–there were observations about technologies and challenges to solar, wind, biomass, waste management and the like. In the end Linda and I were invited to dinner the next evening to continue the conversation along with eat some really good Sierra Leonean dishes.
Deeper Missions Executive Director, Derek Reinhard, meets Dr. Maggi of West Africa Fistula Foundation
At the dinner, I was honored to meet Dr. Darius Maggi of the West Africa Fistula Foundation (our impromptu meeting actually took place in an area of the WAFF’s current building at Bo Hospital).
Along with his passion for healing, Dr. Maggi provided a valuable perspective on medical business operations in Sierra Leone; he is keen to collaborate and I hope to continue the conversation with him and his energy engineers as he continues his work in the area.
May 18 — On the road…and what a pleasant surprise!
The past three trips I made to Sierra Leone, on the road near Freetown, I caught a glimpse of a compound which included a number of small solar panel arrays. I made a note to look for it on this trip and, fortunately I have an awesome wife who pointed out a Solar Training Center as we zipped along the highway–this was the same location as the arrays I’d seen on earlier trips.
Figuring we had some time to stop (we were on our way to catch the ferry in Freetown across to the Lungi airport), I asked Abu, our driver, to return to the center. You can imagine my excitement to learn of the “Barefoot Women Solar Training Center”, formed in partnership with Barefoot College in Tilonia, India.
At the Barefoot Women Solar Training Center at Konta Line, Koya Chiefdom, Port Loko District
The Chief Solar Engineer, Nancy Kanu, and the General Secretary of the training center, Edward Ananque, were gracious and met my wife and I to describe their mission to empower uneducated women in rural villages by teaching them solar electric installation and maintenance.
I’m grateful for the meeting and hope to learn more from them, perhaps even partner with them, in rural village electrification projects sometime in the future.