This was our furthest journey into the ‘bush’ and a stark contrast to the city life of Freetown and surrounds. The journey took us alongside the old railway line from colonial days once we were through the city. Many of the old station signs and buildings still stand; Waterloo, Hastings, Mabang and so on. Leaving the main road and crossing the mangrove swamps, the road joined the path of the track and used the somewhat delapidated railway bridges.
Before long the brick style houses give way to traditional mud huts with their palm thatch roofs. Here electricity becomes more scarce, as does clean water. Many have to walk some distance to get it and requests for wells are common out here. This is something we have never provided, but I wonder if we ought to investigate trying to find partners to help in this way.
Our first stop was Magbomoh. For those with long memories, this is the school/church that used to be at Rokun. We were met by the school children, congregation members, and various community members; the headman, section speaker, elders and the donator of the land for the buildings. The pastor here is George Morgan.
The welcome we received was wonderful. They were very grateful for the school materials that had been sent and the two first aid kits I had brought for them. They have been working hard building a church building of their own, on their own, which is taking shape nicely. Many photos were taken, causing great excitement, especially when they realised the could then see them our our digital camera screens!
From there we double-backed to Mabang to meet Pastor Wilfred Norman and his congregation and the school children. Again we caused chaos with our cameras! Like Magbomoh before them, they want to develop an agricultural project, and showed us the beds they are working on.
Finally we headed to Brama Town where we were welcomed as always by Pastor Paul Bangura. The school/church here isn’t in the best shape, but I gather from Francis that it could be restored fairly easily. Here I was reminded of the challenges of cross cultural communication when they complained about broken promises which I am not sure I ever made. They are hoping we might help build a church alongside the school and showed us the mud blocks they have made for this. They say members are leaving for other local churches and schools where the buidings are better. Sylvanus pointed out with great passion that faith isnot based on buildings, but on God.
To me Brama will always be the place where we broke down in 2004, and Gordon and I ended up in a crampt poda-poda heading into Freetown. I was glad of the experience, but wouldn’t want to repeat it too often! This time the car was fine; a great relief!