june 25th, Day 3.

Day 3 - Monday. Most of the children return to school but with some awaiting exams at the end of the week we still had many willing helpers around the centre. With a rain free morning Mark was able to train and oversee the re-roofing of one of our homes, whilst I lead the paint team to freshen up the houses. More stones, sand and cement arrived as hand made bricks are prepared for the kitchen. 
There is a constant hum of activity; the kids launder their clothes, kadiatu the head girl makes local donuts, others catch a nap in the shade, more seedlings arrive, Aunty haja is usually singing or laughing, Tolo our manager always doing something. Its a real, vibrant, ever flowing community here. Harmonious and wonderful!
We finish painting in the afternoon downpour to the sounds of Sierra Leonean music i introduce to the kids. They translate one song to me and tell me how it’s about how they want to sell their belly as it’s too expensive to feed it! The evening meeting with the staff is based on that very issue. Food prices are a real issue here so I learn about every meal, cost and ingredient in a mission to help find healthier and more effective ways of feeding the kids. We will get there but it’s not easy!



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June 24th - Day 2.

Day 2 - Sunday is a buzz of activity around the centre! We start with planting. With constantly rising food prices the need to grow our own food is essential. 23 mango and 26 cashew trees are planted, with banana, guava and avocado to come. We’re also planning a sweet potato crop and a kitchen garden for chillies, onions, cucumbers to be grown.
The star of the day is 14 year old Amadu! He came and asked me for 60cents as he wants to repair the television. An hour or two later the kids are elated as the tv has sound again! They dance to a reggae DVD in celebration. Go amadu!!
Another highlight was handing out the school bags full of amazing gear. (Maths sets, lunch bowls, pens, pencils, books, water bottles) make for some truly grateful children.
Throughout the day the local team of builders make some steady progress on our new kitchen, foundations and bricks are made.
In the late afternoon we randomly stumble on to the set of a Sierra Leonean horror movie (very odd!) before playing out a Team Orphfund game of football - Another epic encounter ending 11-9!
The night ends with a food and nutrition meeting as we try to work out the best for the kids with our limited monthly budgets.
Each day is non stop and tiring, but to be here and be able to take so many steps forward is so worthwhile!

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June 23rd. Day 1

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Day 1. Two sleep deprived chaps arrive at our Tombo children’s village, our home nestled high up in the hills on the outskirts of Freetown.
It’s most definitely rainy season! Heavy storms break up our first day as we share stories with the children and learn how they are doing at school. They are such a delightful bunch of kids all growing so fast! It’s hard now to believe years ago they were living on the streets or on rubbish tips.
Between downpours we manage to buy cement, roofing sheets, sand, fix bicycles and make a start on building a new kitchen, repair homes and the new chicken project.
The day ends at 10.30pm following a long meeting with staff as we share dreams and plans of Orphfunds future here.
More storms and then came the mosquitos....

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Steve and Mark return to Sierra leone!

Tomorrow somewhat reluctantly (and partially excitedly) i head back to Sierra Leone for a whirlwind 8 days of intensive work across our OrphFund projects.
Its always emotional. I'll be sad to leave my own family for that of my Orphfund family. I'm worried that i'll become sick again! I'm excited to see how those little faces have grown. I'm reluctant, as its always an enormous challenge and such a hard place to work. Its exhausting and definitely not another holiday. We've 2 nights at airports and will be non stop building, holding meetings, travelling across most of the country in local taxis and motorbikes and catching up with all those kids.

Sierra Leone brings the biggest highs and lows of any place we work. Its desperately poor and i continue to go back as what we have set up since 2007 is making huge differences in so many lives and helping build a better future for those we can reach out to.

Myself and Mark Wilfred Anstey who is coming with me pay our own way, and give up way more than money to make this magic happen. (Blood, sweat, tears and a good chunk of our hearts go into this!)
We'd both be so grateful if you can help the OrphFund kids out and donate whatever you can to help us be as productive as we can be out there. We've masses to do and achieve and really need donations to help us help them.

Aussies/world can donate here - https://www.mycause.com.au/page/206314/back-to-sierra-leone
UK here - https://www.thebiggive.org.uk/s/campaign

Huge thanks to anyone that helps! Lets make things better in the world!

School In A Bag!

A great day with an old friend in Somerset yesterday! We are teaming up again with the wonderful charity School in a bag who have donated 65 bags full of amazing educational goodies for our kids in Sierra Leone. So far they’ve handed out over 100000 bags for kids around the world!! Amazing!!

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Pretty much the first ever photo I took in the village of kamakwie, Sierra Leone.
This was the birthplace of our first ever children’s village and is a place that sits deeply in my heart.
There are so many vulnerable children in a country that is without doubt the hardest place we work. Locked in poverty where the need is so so great creates a difficult frustrating and challenging environment to work in.
Sierra Leone we will see you soon and do what we can to lift you forward.

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Sad and worrying news as Ebola has reached the town of Kasese (the main hub of our projects in Uganda.)
First Sierra Leone and now uganda! :(
let’s hope that it can be contained without it spreading further.
Stay safe people !!

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