["he.......had integrated really well into the community especially with his clothes."]
Friday October 8th
11:00pm: Just before Claude left this morning, he asked did I bring the satellite phone and the HF codan radio. He said he he had sent the old radio for repair a few weeks ago and the phone he ordered three months ago, and that they were vital for security and communication. I said there were some problems with getting them through customs. I didn't realise they were for my project. He said that he would try and sort things out for me when he got to Freetown. Then he remembered to tell me that his report was in the computer and that I just have to print it out.
Well I finally said goodbye to Claude at 10:00am. He was pretty upset to say goodbye to all the staff. What an inspiration. I just hope I can live up to Claude's high standards and do as good a job as him over the next few months. He had an easy way with all the people and had integrated really well into the community especially with his clothes.
Well I guess I better tell you a little bit about the programme. I don't know to much at this stage. It is going to be a really fast learning curve for me. We run a nutritional programme in the town. This is called a therapeutic feeding centre where starving people come to get fed. In 1998 there was a big humanitarian crisis and there were heaps of internally displaced refugee people who came into the town. The feeding centre had loads of people up to 200 patients in it mainly children under five. In 1999 things calmed down after the war moved to a different part of the country and a lot of people went back home. Most other organisations left the town in 1999 and now Hope International is the only international organisation in town to give solidarity to the population. The feeding centre has a lot less people now but we still give life saving support to the people or as Laurent de Loup says "populations in danger". The population here is estimated at around 30,000 people. No one has really counted the population since the International Food Programme left in early 1999, but the population is still around the same we think.
We also run a latrine programme, where we try and get support from the households to construct latrines in their compound. There is around 80 national staff employed and we are the biggest employer in the town.
I spent the day with Peter Konah who is my counter-part or assistant. He showed how the bookkeeping works and also explained the system for making purchases in the market and how to make orders to Freetown. It was really good to get into some details finally, although I can easily delegate to Peter. Peter is 27 years old and has studied economics for two years until the war affected his family and he had to leave university to quickly find a job so he could support his family. He said to be careful in the market and ask around a few places before I make a deal. Well as a sales engineer I know a few tricks or two myself about making a deal for a better price. Peter said that we should do a stock count and make sure all the inventory is accounted for as this hasn't been done for a while. I said we could do it next week Peter showed me the files and I went through them a bit until the end of the day. A lot of paper work involved in running these projects. Peter said that the paper work was a bit annoying but it was useful for the logistic and administration reports. Christian in Freetown said however that he never really had time to read the Logistics reports so it wasn't really that necessary to do.
All the staff left the compound and I was left to myself for the night, the office and living quarters are in the same compound. So now I only have to have a beer and relax for the night. The guard and I couldn't get the generator started so back to the candles. Ok take care till next time readers.
Dave (me) Claudia