["I was torn between staying with this helpless population in danger or ......."]
Saturday November 27th
6:20 pm (New generator, but No Project!!!)
This has been the worst week of my life. My reputation has been questioned and I have been called an idiot.
On Monday Peter and I started up the generator. It took a hell of a long time because Peter had to read the instructions. It would have been a lot quicker If I had done it myself. Well we finally got it started, then for the first time in 7 weeks we had electricity. I finally got to open the computer and found the file for my Job description. Meanwhile Peter had got the radio working. Immediately we had a message from Anne the administrator telling us to come to Freetown straight away, she said she had been calling all weekend and told us then to bring all the documents in the office, three Land cruisers, the generator, computers, the Truck and Peter and James. Well things sounded serious, maybe Mosquito was on the loose or the Liberians were coming over the border. I was torn between staying with this helpless population in danger or going and making sure the project can start up again when the crisis is over. What a choice! Well we left that afternoon and were in Freetown by 5:00pm. I still haven't read my Job description.
When we got in, only Anne of the international staff was there and a new woman called Claudia from Germany. I went in to talk to Anne, she was pretty upset. She said that Laurent had been sacked for incompetence and sent back to Paris and Claudia is from the Emergency Response Team and she has come to clean everything up. Christian was sacked the first night Claudia arrived when she caught him having sex with two prostitutes in the living room of the staff house. I thought this was a bit rough as Christian was under a lot of pressure and was probably a bit drunk and just letting of steam. He probably didn't even know they were prostitutes as he is pretty popular with the ladies in Freetown.
I asked why all this had happened, and then she asked me if I really didn't know. I said of course not and then she got pretty angry and and called me an idiot (she used a bit harsher word actually that I didn't think was fir for a lady and which Jen really doesn't like) and said it was my fault for screwing up the donor visit and handed me their report and told me to get out.
Well that report really made me angry, those donors, they sit in the capital and come for just one day and think they can say what we are doing is a waste of time. They even said that I was an inexperienced volunteer who was overwhelmed by the job. They said that there was a substantial sum of money missing from the bookkeeping, and one whole land cruiser missing from the project. Large amounts of project food being sold in the local market with the International Food Programme logo and batch numbers that were sent to Hope Rouks. They said a simple stock take had not happened in two years.
They also said that I and Claude had been given no support. Laurent had never visited the programme and Christian had last visited the programme 8 months ago.
Then they said that I had been quite proud of the staff to beneficiary ratio being 5:1 and not 1:5 as I had stated. They could not believe that their was 51 staff in the Therapeutic Feeding Centre for 10 patients and staff had even been hired in the last three weeks. Well we had a pretty high increase in beneficiaries up to 16 so we had to hire new staff to handle the increase in numbers and the TFC. The staff was really complaining about the work load. What could I do? They said that the project should have been closed down two years ago and are amazed no one had noticed such a sad state of affairs.
Donors they just have no idea about what it is like to work in the field. Well it got worse, but I will leave that for later, I am about to head out with Petra to one of the beach bars. Ok talk to you later.
Dave (me) Claudia