Muriel’s diary – day 5: Borgbuabu

A few days into our stay, we take the short drive to the village of Borgbuabu.
Borgbuabu is the village that is leasing the land to Cacao Elegguá. It is situated in the district of Kenema, in the Eastern Province.
The village doesn’t count more than 500 people, and we mainly meet older women and children when we visit. Everyone else is at work.
I have a chat with Mr Abba, the school headteacher. He is on strike because of a lack of funding from the government. Since he is also the only teacher of the establishment, all the kids are out of school!
The most striking effect of the civil war that took place between 1991 and 2002 is in the education.
Most of the over 50 are educated and skilled; they would have been over 25 and would have completed their education by the time the civil war started.
By contrast, the younger population is barely literate.
Desmond would like to contribute to the community by building a new nursery.

Mr Abba school headteacher

I also meet Ibrahim Gbondo, a community health worker who works in the Baoma Health Centre.
The centre treats the under 5s for three conditions: diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia.
As it turns out, Kenema is a diamond rich region that was at the centre of the civil war back in 2000.
The infant mortality rate was extremely high then: nearly one in three children died before reaching their first birthday.
The IRC (International Rescue Committee) was until recently running this health centre, but it is now owned by the government.

Ibrahim Gbondo, a community health worker
Ibrahim Gbondo, a community health worker

The road to recovery is going to be long, but there is a lot of hope for those who are willing to work hard and believe in change. Education and health are key to the recovery of Sierre Leone. Desmond is aware that the contribution of Cacao Elegguá must start with these very important elements.

ReliefWeb – IRC finds staggering infant-mortality rate in Sierra Leone’s Kenema district


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