Day 6 – Alarms are set, we grab breakfast of of spicy cassava and banana, before motorbikes take us deep into Sierra Leone’s inaccessible and remote north.
The bike journeys out here are always a thrill, with unpredictable roads littered with holes, detours through thick bush, pools of water and swampy grasses. You want a good driver!
We pass through countless villages of grass thatched mud huts, kids scream and wave with excited delight. Life is simple and serene yet desperately hard.
Our first stop is Samaya, the head village in the tambakha region. Since 2009 we have built classrooms and homes, provided their first water pump, and run their only secondary school. Our swift visit is to assess needs and make plans for a returning trip. We are greeted with signs written by the kids exclaiming thanks, but my favourite is one that says Steve increase your help! Cheeky!
School gardens are happening and finally one of the big NGOs are helping! The WFP are supplying rice and oil to help with our school feeding program.
Next stop is madina and a visit to old friends. Rev Bai and his wife Alice run a wonderful project powered simply by their enormous hearts and hard work. They farm to feed the 40 or so children that they care for and are simply an inspiration. We help fix their tractor so farming can continue and spend a wonderful few hours meeting some of their new young recruits.
It’s then back on bikes, at the main river crossing with the wooden canoes full we elect to wade through the waters following local women with their babies. It’s a wonderful momentary respite from all the dust and heat.
Upon returning to kamakwie our last job of the day is to check in on our cassava plantation the kids and staff are so proud of. It’s flourishing well and in a month or so will be helping feed mouths and reducing costs. Brilliant!