["He then said... she had 48 hours to pay up or ....... she would get hurt"]
Friday June 17 12000 metres above Kolkota
4:30 am Paris time or 9:00 am in Kolkota or 1:30 pm Sydney: I left Paris about 8 hours ago. I arrived in Paris around 5:00 am yesterday. I left with Petra and Ricardo to the office from the airport and we had a nice breakfast in Bastille before the office opened. It only took us 40 minutes to get to the office from the airport, when I first arrived to start to work with Hope it took me 5 hours. I guess a lot has changed in the last nine months. I guess I am more worldly and count myself lucky that I am not living in grinding poverty.
A lot has happened in the last 48 hours. On Wednesday morning Veronique contacted me before I left and said the principal of the primary school came past and said that the pot plants in our front yard belonged to the school, and did I know anything about it. Then about an hour later Veronique contacted Freetown again and said that someone saying they were the brother of Abdulai was demanding that Veronique pay him $16,000 USD for outstanding invoices for the rehabilitation of the base. He then said that she had 48 hours to pay up or something nasty would happen like the office and guest house could burn down or she would get hurt. Richard thought that this was not too serious and Veronique should get in contact with him and explain about the role of Hope international and the life saving work that we do and then go onto explain we are a humanitarian organisation that supports his community with water and sanitation facilities as well as health care. Peter didn't agree with this and suggested Richard contact Paris and tell them of the incident. Peter wanted to get Veronique evacuated from Kamekwilu as soon as possible and he was pretty worried as he said that Abdulai and his brothers were all former RUF commanders and really dangerous. Everyone agreed that if it really was Abdulai's brother he was probably taking advantage of the fact that I, Petra and Ricardo had left the base and decided to claim money for the rehabilitation. Paris advised Richard to evacuate Veronique so just before we left Veronique was told to come back to Freetown and bring all the valuable equipment with her. I thought that I should tell them about the extra invoices but in the end I thought this might complicate matters more and add to the confusion and plus could we be really sure that this was Abdulai's brother and even if it was could we guarantee the money would reach Abdulai. Even if the money did reach Abdulai what good would it do him if he is going to spend the next 30 years in gaol for human rights violations and war crimes.
Just before all the fuss happened with Kamekwilu, Peter asked Petra to look through the Drug order. She was really surprised that there seemed to be three times what she ordered, it was actually 2.75 times according to my figures. It is a real pity these drugs may not be used since the outreach programme will probably close down with Richard's new plans. She was really angry and wanted to know why Peter had let this order go through to Paris without checking with her. Peter told her that he did check with her and then they both looked at me, luckily the phone rang and Peter and Petra got involved in getting the details of the security incident with Veronique in Kamekwilu. Petra didn't talk to me at all on the Flight to Paris or at breakfast. I thought this was a bit immature, she would have been thanking me if the original programme had gone ahead and expanded a bit more than the original proposal and then maybe they could have used most of the drugs.
We heard in Paris yesterday morning that the brother of Abdulai had been arrested after Peter reported the incident to the police. So I guess alls well that ends well. Peter then went back with Veronique to help her get started in her new job or a week. I didn't have time in Freetown or Paris to write her handover, but I will write it up in Sydney. I am going to have a few hours sleep and then I will tell you about the debriefing.
Dave (me) Claudia