March 10 Radio Silence
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["I heard the first radio call from Angelina's convoy...."]

Thursday March 10

5:30 am Kamekwilu In four hours Angelina will be arriving in Kamekwilu. I thought I should get up early an make sure everything is OK.

6:07 am I have finished breakfast and to set out the seating arrangements in the compound. Petra and Ricardo asked what I was doing, but I told them to go back to sleep and that it is better I sought things out in the compound. To be honest I felt that their representation skills are not so strong and they wouldn't really know how to plan a function of this kind.

7:32 am The guard on duty managed to help me put up the banner. I managed to get it really high on top of the VHR and HF radio poles. It was pretty hairy up there for Samuel the guard, but he understood the importance of the mission and was happy the climb the 1.5 inch diameter pole 6 metres in the air. I think Angelina will be able to see it from at least 2 kilometres away. I will stick by the HF and VHF radios to keep track of Angelina's movements. It is really vital for planning that I know to the second where Angelina is.

7:35am I heard the first radio call from Angelina's convoy. They have already left Freetown and have made good time. They have already passed Waterloo.

8:00am Petra and Ricardo went to work  like it was just another working day. I am really amazed by this pair, they just don't seem to understand how  important this visit is.

8:07 am Angelina's convoy has passed Masiaka and is only 1hr and 13 minutes away.

8:45 am  I have spoken to Nahreen and we have planned that Angelina will pass by the Hope office last on her way out of town. This is normal Nahreen said, you should always save the most important visit till last.

9:30 am Angelina's convoy was five minutes early into town. I heard there convoy pass a few streets from here, she must of seen the banner I made.

9:43 am Angelina has just arrived at her first stop and is going to meet the District Commissioner and the Paramount Chief as well as some local NGO representatives This shouldn't take to0 long. Then she will move onto Petra's clinic and then walk through the village a bit to see Ricardo's latrine programme( I am not really sure why Angelina would want to see this). Then she will come for morning tea at 11:00 am at the Hope office. After which she will travel onto Makeni

10:17 am I received confirmation  8 minutes ago from Petra that Angelina has just arrived at the Mother and Child Health Clinic. It appears that Petra has broken security protocols and has turned her radio off during Angelina's visit to the Clinic. Maybe I should mention this breach of the security guidelines to .Claudia

10:34 am Petra has broken her radio silence and confirmed that Angelina is now looking at the Latrines. She said that Angelina really does know Ricardo. I think she was making a joke.

10:53 am  I have just received a message from Petra telling me to come to the clinic...............

10:54 am Disaster complete devastation!!!!! A big gust of wind just came up while I was on the radio. I heard a big crash outside and now  there is complete disaster outside. Angelina banner has come crashing down and taken the VHF and HF radio poles and transceivers. I have lost radio contact. I have to go and clean up the mess before Angelina arrives.

11:09 am Angelina has not arrived yet. I have just had enough time to clean up the mess and move the radio poles out the way. I guess I can fix up the damage to the roof and the water tank later. She should be here any minute.

11:11 am She still has not arrived.

11:13 am She should be here any moment.

11:36 am Still no sign

11:41 am Petra and Ricardo just arrived. They told me that Angelina ran out of time on the visit as she stayed to long in the clinic and looking at Ricardo's latrines so Nahreen the advocacy officer decided that it would be best to miss morning tea at the office. I am really amazed that UNHCR are so disorganised, when you look at their vehicles they look really professional. I really feel sorry for Angelina, having to look at Ricardo's latrines and hear that story about the old man single handed looking after his five grandchildren. She would have much preferred a nice cup of tea and some sponge cake and have a good conversation on humanitarian issues.

12:03 am I just spoke to Petra and got the story of what happened. Apparently Ricardo spoke to Angelina for quite a while. One of his friends in the Madrid Mountaineering Association is a good friend of Angelina's and worked with her on a Tomb Raider movie and Ricardo had briefly met Angelina in a Pub in Madrid. Angelina recognized him and they talked for a while. It is really sad when people like Ricardo monopolise the time of famous people like that. I am really disappointed in Ricardo. I really can't believe how the day turned out, Petra was trying to tell me to come to clinic to meet Angelina, but that was at just at the moment when the wind loading of the banner was to great for the radio poles and the whole thing came crashing down. Ok I am going to have a lay down, the whole day has been a bit of blow to me. Humanitarianism is also about dealing with disappointment. Until next time

 

 

 

Dave (me)  Claudia

 Angelina   Ricardo  

 Claude      Christian

 Jen             Petra

 Bono          Dick

  Anne         Peter

 Veronique   Richard