Monday, July 25, 2016

July 11, 2016

Melvin Jr.'s 51st Birthday. Holy cow! Can that be right? How did Jo get to be so old? (That was a little tongue in cheek). Jo isn't old but she is older than me haha!

We went to Makeni today to check on the apartment and to pick up Mr. Davis, Sahr's construction manager. The apartment is done and all we have to do is buy some appliances and furniture and we can move in. However, we will not be going out there permanently until Sahr is home, his home is outfitted the way it needs to be and Cho and Gabby have gone back to America. Plus Don wants to help Sahr to re-establish his business. Mr. Davis came back with us because he going to start work tomorrow building a ramp into Sahr's home and creating a handicap bathroom.

On our way out to Makeni, we were driving by 6-Mile refugee camp and decided to check it out. Two weeks ago NPR Radio came to visit us and pleaded with us to get these people some water. They have to walk a long way to a stream that is full of vegetation and strain water which they use for drinking, washing, cooking, everything. Last September (2015) Sierra Leone received 9 inches of rain in one day and it washed away homes from the sides of the mountains and people were left stranded with no where to go. We were told the government built them a refugee camp but did not provide any water. WHAT? Why would they do that. We weren't told the complete truth. The refugee camp according to the sign is a compound with 1,700 homes in it and 15,000 people. There are actually 50 zinc houses with 5 houses in 10 rows. In the center there is a large latrine plus there are four 10,000 liter milla tanks standing empty. Apparently, the government put in the Milla Tanks and filled them with water and the community used the water and did not collect a small stipend for each jerry can so when the water was gone they could have the tanks refilled so they have no water. This is what we are up against. There have been so many NGO's coming to the aid of Africa and providing necessities without requiring anything from the natives that we have created a nation of entitlement. Even though the people have money, they are constantly asking us for money and for things. They look at us as rich white people and as an NGO who will give them anything they want. They are constantly begging and telling us they have no money. So why do they all have cell phones? Why do they smoke and have tattoos? There really are many people who are very poor. But even the poor tell us that they can afford 100 Leone's (.02 cents) for a 5 gallon can of clean drinking water. We have written a letter to Salt Lake outlining our findings and requesting permission to require the natives to pay a small percentage of the cost of the project so they will feel they have some ownership in the finished project and will take care of it. Such as a well. We have not received any answer yet, so until they tell us "no" we are proceeding with this idea. We are training people how to form community committees, to select a caretaker, to collect money, how to keep a simple bookkeeping record, how to open a bank account, and most importantly how to keep the money safe from someone skimming off the top. The 6-mile community has everything it needs to be a viable community except leadership. We do not plan to do anything with this community at this time.

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