We’ve been busy the past few days! Here’s a quick update – with photos, of course!
On Tuesday, we had an extremely busy day with six meetings throughout the entire day! In the morning, we all met with the Project Director with CRS for the Global Fund Malaria Project. Then we took a trip to the U.S. Embassy to meet with some representatives from USAID.
In the afternoon, we split off into two groups to tackle four more meetings CRS had planned for us. One group (Kelly, Mike, and Nancy) visited with two more NGOs (Health Poverty Action and IRC) to talk about their initiatives with TBA integration and healthcare work in SL, while the other group (Lwando, Michelle, and Phil) headed to talk policy with the Ministry of Health Director of Disease Prevention and Control and UNICEF.
One of the coolest things my half of the group saw that afternoon was a method of TBA referral tracking being implemented by Health Poverty Action. They were completely pictorial so even illiterate TBAs could potentially get credit for referring women to health clinics.
On Wednesday, we turned a hotel room in a war room for about 12 hours while we compiled all of our information and designed the presentation we’d be giving to CRS at 9am Thursday morning. Being in a room with air conditioning, internet, and lunch delivery — ALL DAY — made it feel very similar to a group meeting in Mendoza!
That night, Professor Emily Block arrived in the country and her energy was certainly welcomed after ten long days! We ran our ideas by her before bed, and after a few tweaks, we were ready for the morning.
Thursday is a presentation day! (Is everybody happy?!) We had an early-morning run-thru and were able to put the final touches on the “deck” before we presented our findings and next steps to CRS. Of course, we had a couple of slides in there to remind everyone (and ourselves) of the snowy tundra back in northern Indiana.
We finished our presentation and, of course, had to take a few group photos to celebrate! Then we were treated to a feast of traditional Sierra Leonean food!
After our morning at CRS, we were able to finally have some free time in Freetown! We spent the afternoon at Big Market where we all bought some clothes, cloth, and jewelry. Then we were able to make one final visit to St. Mary’s Supermarket — “The Mother of All Supermarkets” — for some celebratory items.
We have a day and a half off in Freetown now, so we are going to spend Friday at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, then head down to Laca Beach and stay Friday night. I’m not sure if we’ll have internet there, but hopefully I can get one more post in of us enjoying some time off before we head back to the states on Saturday afternoon.