Sunday, February 08, 2009


Missionaries of Charity

One of the projects that I personally wanted to get off the ground in Makeni was the extension to the Missionaries of Charity grounds. I wrote about this in May last year (see the blog) and in December I found the need still urgent. The sisters who run the mission follow the ideals and beliefs of Mother Theresa and care for the most destitute in the community. In Makeni there are no social services and so the sisters fill an essential and critical gap.

The Mission is not funded by the Catholic Church but by a series of benefactors who come as Sister Rykter says, by “divine intervention”. One of the benefactors is the Makeni City Council who donated some land adjacent to the Mission for an extension. The Mission initially needed to enclose the land with a masonry wall and together with some Canadian investors a builder Mr. Sheik was selected to undertake the construction. Monitoring the work was a challenge since I live in the City of Bo about 7 hours away and so a Councilor Ismail Bangura offered to oversee the work. Some moral suasion was also added by the inclusion of the Paramount Chief into the contract. So on January 1st the contract was signed and Mr Sheik and his men got to work.

It is now just over a month into the expected 6 week project and there have been a few hiccups such as the quality of sand, the consistency of the concrete and the depth of the foundation. I found Sister Rykter to be an invaluable on-site inspector and irritant nag for the builder and crew. The Paramount Chief intervened once and very effectively applied suitable pressure. Ismail Bangura reports to me daily and I have visited 3 times to document the progress with photos and to authorise interim payments. Thanks also to Canadian Celine Savard for some photos.

The extension is now nearing the half way stage and it seems that the builder is on-track to complete although a little late. However I am definitely not ruling out the need for the services of the Paramount Chief again. Sister Rykter and the 4 other Sisters who run the Mission seem very happy with the progress after waiting for almost a year for the “divine intervention” They still have not given up on making a convert out of me.

Paul, would you have the contact details for the MC's in Sierra Leone? (telephone, address etc). I am planning a visit to S. Leone with some friends, we have done volunteer work with the sisters in many of their houses and would like to pay a visit, maybe help some days if they let us and ask if they need any medicines etc. taken to them.

Thank you very much for your help
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