Last journal entry from Sierra Leone

February 20, 2010

Dear Friends,

This will be my last journal entry from Sierra Leone. Our team leaves tomorrow, Sunday, and will get back in the U.S. on Monday. The words are not coming easily as I think about this trip. The need is overwhelming.

We know the story. This country is certainly one of the poorest in the world. Here in Freetown, the population swelled during the civil war as people attempted to escape atrocities in which rebels mutilated their victims by amputating arms and legs with machetes. Many stayed in the capital after the war, and the rural-urban migration continues. People in the provinces still think they are better off in the city, so they continue to send their children hoping for a better life for them. Unfortunately, the children end up living in deplorable conditions.

But meeting people makes the story real. Last evening, our team heard Quami Agbermodji tell his story. He told about the day he was walking down the street with a friend. They came face to face with a rebel known for his cruelty. Quami and his friend were captured and bound with their arms tied behind their backs so tightly that their elbows touched. They were taken inside a warehouse where they were put against a wall with two other men. Quami said he just started praying. The rebel left the building but shortly returned. Quami said for no reason, the rebel let him and his friend go. Quami believes the other two men were shot. Quami has dedicated his life to helping the children who were orphaned from the war; it is his way of giving back.

Tonight, we were given a going away celebration by the orphanage. The children danced and sang for us. The children also prayed for us and said goodbye, calling us by name. It was a joyous night but I still left with a heavy heart. It was so hard to say goodbye. Our hope in this effort is to continue working to help orphans. We need land, buildings, water, food and economic opportunities.

The author Trevor Hudson says, “I believe that of all the horrible sins that plague our life together, the most deadly is indifference.” In whatever way you choose with whomever you choose, please choose to make a difference.

With love,