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  Tuesday, May 24th
Schoolchildren Outside Cape Community School
Schoolchildren Outside Cape Community School
Notes From Toni:
Last night's long sleep was TOO long! I awoke, called the front desk to inquire about the local time, and was shocked to learn that it was 4:00 P.M.! Sierra Leone time is exactly four hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, so I supposed this was not so bad; the equivalent of sleeping until noon at home. I chose to think of it in that way.

I ventured down to the hotel lobby where other members of the Priscilla's Homecoming team were assembled, comparing notes on their day's activities. Some shopped in town, while others enjoyed the beach. Of course we would all hit the ground running when Thomalind and Antawn arrived, but today, we were enjoying some relaxation.

Lenny arranged a fishing trip for tomorrow, led by "Big Fixer" extraordinaire Victor Sawyer. A "fixer" is like an avocational concierge, who can arrange, get, fix or produce just about anything you need. Sierra Leone is full of fixers, as just about every economic pursuit involves opportunistic commerce as well. We arranged to meet Victor the next morning.

We all enjoyed a quiet dinner at the hotel and took our leave to get a good night's sleep.

Notes From Kenny:
Tuesday (my first full day) I decided to venture outside the Cape Sierra Hotel, to experience a bit of Freetown before we had to adhere to the schedule of events planned for us because of “Priscilla’s Homecoming”. Across the street from the hotel, workers were busy constructing a new hotel, and I was fascinated by the method of construction the contractors were using. What was most notable to me was the scaffolding made of cut logs about six inches in diameter employed to support the structure between floors, and also that the concrete blocks were made at the work site. It reminded me of making bricks without straw, although all the buildings that were under construction in Freetown were steel reinforced.

As I was taking pictures of what I thought to be unconventional construction techniques, Lenny Spears, whom I had met the previous evening, introduced me to Gabriel Scott, founder of the Cape Community School. As is generally the situation when a sympathetic ear can be found, this Sierra Leonean invited us to see the school and solicited our help. At first Lenny and I had serious apprehensions about this school. It was about 4:00 or so and we saw but a few students at the site. Gabriel gave us a tour, and showed us the classrooms (which looked in disarray as though no students had been there, or so we thought). Gabriel told us that the school had a student population approaching 600.

The following day when a group of us went back to the school while classes were in session, the full magnitude of what Gabriel had been telling us came into view. Each and every classroom was packed with students. Later that day Lenny went into town and purchased a large blue tarp for the roof of one of the buildings at the school where some of the orphaned children slept.

My dealings with Cape Community School inspired me to take a closer look at Freetown and Sierra Leone. She had been at first just a vacation, an experience, but upon a closer look, a much bigger picture started to unfold. Freetown after the civil war of the 1990’s had turned into a way station for people running for their lives, running from war. As we traveled, the evidence of the swell in the population became evident.

I never knew shopping could be such an adventure as when Juliette, Marian, Paul, Valerie and I visited the market area in downtown Freetown. It was one thing to see the city from the relative quiet of the hotel, but quite another to experience the bus ride into town.

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