Saturday 13th February: Jerusalem Avenue & Goderich

Today started with a jolt, the violent sound of a screaming woman running past the hotel, a commotion following in her wake. It was a horrible sound. Made me wonder if it was a little taste of what it must have been like during the war. People don’t talk about that time often, and when they do, their stories touch on horrific events. It will take a long time for the people here to overcome the trauma, if they ever will.

After breakfast we visited Jerusalem Avenue, so called because of the beautiful backdrop. This school/church is twinned with our one in Turner’s Hill. The building looks fantastic, far better than the tent/shack they used to meet in. The minister, Ransford Williams was telling me that they hope to fence the land to stop others encroaching; ‘land grabbing’ seems to be a problem here. He also talked about the influence of ‘black magic’ in the area.

We then headed out along a red, dusty road, to St. John’s, Goderich (twinned with Eastbourne in the UK). I adopted this as my home in Sierra Leone when I first came. The people are very friendly, I always feel at ease amongst them. The view also helps, a short step from the porch is the mst beautiful beach. If I’m honest, I’d love to be posted here! Rev. Sammuel Sinnah agreed to swap! The village itself, as well as being dust red, is full of hubbub and life. People everywhere, trading, washing clothes, listening to blasted out football commentaries and all sorts of other normal activities, but in full view of everyone else. In some ways it is similar in its business to Freetown, but without the constant pestering of passersby. It is a wonderful place. We enjoyed a walk along the beach to. We wandered for a good 15 minutes, just a few of us. I spent much of the time talking with Christopher Dove, Reuben’s son. It was good to catch up with each other after four years. Much of this time we were hand in hand. Such physical contact is very common between men here. Handshakes go on for much longer, and often you stand talking, still clasping each other whilst you chat. It isn’t a feminine thing at all, bbut a natural act of friendship. I always have to make a conscious effort to stop when I get back…

Finally we headed to our driver’s house for lunch (the third we were offered in as many hours!). It was lovely to meet his wife Umu and two boys, Francis and Eddie. They have been very generous giving up their Dad for us. This lunch was all African; local rice with cassava leaf and baracuda sauce, with pink ginger beer, amazingly sweet with quite a kick!

Back at home by a reasonable time. Nice to have a rare chance to relax, set up a page on the site for the school at home (see ‘Home’), and talk to the family on Skype. This has been amazing and quite sureal! A fantasic program I never dreamt would work here…

Related Images:

About Ben Quant

Ben is the former Chairman of the Sierra Leone Mission Committee in the UK, now serving as a co-opted member of the SLM, as well as the minister of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion church in Wormley, Hertfordshire (www.wormleyfreechurch.org.uk)
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2 Responses to Saturday 13th February: Jerusalem Avenue & Goderich

  1. Chris_Graves says:

    This reminds me of my time in Central Mexico, where every evening people would come out to take several turns around the plaza. It was common to rest a hand on the shoulder of your companion as you walked. This had little to do with gender. It was just a friendly close thing between these warm people. Often the young women would walk in pairs or small groups on the inside circling in the opposite direction from the young men who circled usually on the outside. Every time suitors would pass each other by there would be much flirting and joking. I spent a lot of time there. Its among my fondest of memories.

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