We were able to get some good rest last night (Monday night) so we were ready to go this morning! We had a delicious breakfast (and not Nescafé coffee, much to our delight!) with a beautiful view of a hillside in Freetown.
After breakfast, we loaded up our stuff and drove – yes, drove – 20 meters (that’s ~60ft) to the CRS headquarters in Freetown. It was easily the shortest trip we’ll be making in these two weeks!
At the CRS HQ, we met with the CRS – Sierra Leone staff members to learn about the current projects CRS is operating in Sierra Leone, along with a overview of our project and a short Q&A.
CRS was also kind enough to have money exchanged for us!
Once we finished at CRS, we stopped at a great grocery store (called St. Mary’s!) where we grabbed a quick lunch (falafel, shawarma, and fried chicken sandwiches – there is a huge Lebanese influence in Sierra Leone), drinks, and snacks for the road. Then we were off to the city of Kenema in southeast Sierra Leone. After a little more than 6 hours (on nicely paved roads, mind you) we made it to our destination!
Tomorrow, we’ll be meeting up with a group of CRS staff members involved in the Quality Circles program that facilitates communication and understanding between TBAs (informal healthcare) and PHUs (peripheral health units, part of the formal healthcare system). After a morning of interviews, we’ll head out to Kailahun (a village just a bit north of Kenema) to do field work for three days. (We may not have internet access there, so I may not get to blog again until we’re back in Kenema.)
As always, we’re so thankful to be a part of this assignment. The people in Sierra Leone have been so kind and welcoming and we’re looking forward to learning more over the next couple of weeks.