Bo is getting back to normal
John Archer, Phil Clarke and Richard Hall had a ten day stay in Bo in late November/early December.
Nice to be back in Bo! It was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues, see how Bo was getting back to normal after Ebola and find out how and where we could continue to develop our link.
And how is Bo? Well, what else but busy, thriving and energetic – as ever. We saw how the OWL Centre has been improved with solar lighting, how it is being used again for meetings and attracting visitors again, too. So, it’s getting back to normal. That’s great.
Our friends in Bo OWL are looking to the future and thinking about how to invest for the long term future of the organisation. That is something that we will need to discuss between us. But it’s very encouraging that there is now stability and a positive approach to the future.
We visited many organisations. We met up with the Mayor of the City Council, Harold Tucker, and also contacted the District Council. Our meeting with the District Council revealed a very strong desire to work with us to help deliver services. We were given a very professional presentation on the Council’s Development Plan and we will investigate where we may be able to work with them to improve skills. We hope to develop that during the course of 2016.
It was very pleasing to see the Waste Management Project was still going very strong, with a well organised collection service in place and the development of small recycling businesses also in action.
We were able to visit some schools, notably UBC, to see their refurbished well, and the blind school, but as term was finishing during the week to enable a nationwide census to take place, we did not have as much contact as we may have done.
During a visit to see the Bishop of Kenema we saw evidence of the impact of Ebola. Outside the hospital was a memorial to all the hospital workers – doctors, nurses and technicians who had died working at Kenema hospital during the crisis. There were over forty names inscribed. That was both shocking and moving.
We visited the Owl bungalow, outside the western outskirts of town. It was gratifying to see it occupied, by Mary James, the widow of the influential and well-loved member of OWL, Raymond James who died some years ago.
We experienced much more of the life of Bo – the tennis club, the markets, the restaurants, all functioning very much as before, which was very good to see. A highlight was the visit to Maada’s Church on the Sunday to see him voted as “Gentleman of the year” – a well-deserved accolade.
It was a very good visit, recommencing direct relations after the enforced separation caused by Ebola and exploring opportunities for the future. I believe we succeeded in both and we look to the OWL link continuing successfully.