BY FR. THEMIS
BY Christ is Risen!
Well I’m back in the Mission Field here in Sierra Leone. After spending some weeks in the luxury and comfort of the USA. I am beginning to adapt again to the electricity blackouts, the tap running our of water and the humid tropical heat. Nevertheless it feels good to be back.
Ebola has not disappeared from here, but it is now at a very low level of contamination. Thanks be to God, it seems that we are coming out of that dark tunnel.
Orphanage Update 1
Concerning the issue of the orphanage I musty say how delighted I am with the generous assistance we received in the USA. May God bless the benefactors, all who donated and all who joined iDonate with monthly support.
By the grace of God this means our Mission can now enter the planning and preparatory stage towards the care for the children whose parents were killed by the Ebola virus. Right now, to begin with, we will be enrolling over 30 Ebola orphans in our school in Waterloo. We will also be providing them with books, uniforms shoes etc. So in a very real sense we have already started our campaign to protect and care for Ebola orphans.
Now, concerning the location and construction of the orphanage we are in direct dialogue with the government (Ministry of Social Welfare). It seems that during the time of my USA visit, here in Sierra Leone some of the private orphanages ran into trouble with the government – financial corruption in the running of the orphanages and the mistreatment and abuse of children. Consequently the government is now taking a more hands on approach in the development of any new orphanage. For that reason we will be working closely with the government in the planning and development stage.
What that means is that there will be a slowing down element due with additional bureaucratic obligations (e.g. memorandum of understanding, allocation of land etc.). The government has offered to give us a couple of acres of land in an area of Freetown known as Gloucester. We are still hoping that we get the OK to build it at our present Mission centre at Tower Hill.
However if we are to get free land at Gloucester then we need to consider that as well. A decision will be made once the Minister visits Tower Hill and makes an assessment. I expect by the end of next week the decision concerning the location will be settled. I am also looking at securing beach front land (York Village, Kent Beach) to use as a retreat centre primarily for the use of the orphanage kids where they can enjoy the beach and the sea at appointed times of the year.
In summary we are presently at the paper writing and negotiation stage in the orphanage project. Once we get an official letter from the Ministry we will open the orphanage bank account. I expect that to happen in a few days.
As you know the Ebola outbreak caused the shutting down of all academic institutions nationwide. Schools and Colleges have remained closed since midway last year. The youth of this nation has lost an almost entire academic year from their life. The good news now is that the government has given the green light for all schools, colleges and universities to open their doors. Our College will begin operating next week and we have ample new enrolments. The school in Syke Street (Freetown Orthodox Christian School) has already began classes. While our school in Waterloo will begin classes next week. So things appear to be slowly going back to normal – though shops still have restricted trading hours and bans on public meetings are still operative. I am still warning people about the need to continue to be careful and not to relax too much when it comes to the still present menace of Ebola, albeit in a much diminished form.
That’s all for now. Keep well.
In His Royal Service