Peace Festival edition
of the OWL Resource within Leamington Library
Friday 4th July
A miscellany of West African, Leonean and local poetry, story telling
and song will be performed by various artists
Suitable for all ages.
Liquid refreshment, and nibbles. Entrance free, donations welcome
Further details from John Myers Tel: 425403 firstname.lastname@example.org
presents an evening of Mende and Afro-American Gospel with the Bambadinka
Night in Bo"
St. Mary's Church, St. Mary's Road, Leamington Spa
£4 at the door (£3 concessions, £2 children)
ALL PROCEEDS TOWARDS BUILDING THE NEW COMMUNITY CENTRE IN BO
Sierra Leone - the role of the Link
This open meeting
was held on the 10th April entitled and was attended by over 30 people
including several new faces. Two representatives of the Olney (Bucks)
Link with Newton near Freetown came. A n officer with the Warwickshire
Traffic Police who is about to go to Sierra Leone on a tour of duty with
the United Nations, saw the publicity for meeting. He hopes he may get
a posting to Bo.
Mrs Hawah Sumner,
Counsellor and Head of Chancery attending on behalf of the High Commissioner
for Sierra Leone gave the opening address. She expressed appreciation
of the role that One World Link has played in relation to Bo over the
years, and emphasised the importance of such links to the efforts of her
nation's rebuilding process.
Trade Unionist and OWL Committee member who has made several trips to
Sierra Leone during and since the civil war, then gave his analysis of
the situation. He gave a short account of Sierra Leone's postcolonial
history and pointed to the causes of the civil war in the political corruption
and mismanagement that virtually bankrupted the country. He saw many signs
that these causes have not been fully addressed by the current government.
Mrs Sumner while not disagreeing with John's analysis defended her governments
attempts to deal with the issues.
John Myers alluding
to his recent experiences in visiting Bo gave an analogy of "failing
schools". He said that the Government could send in a task force
to turn a school around; but that school would still have to survive in
difficult circumstances such as a deprived neighbourhood. If it were to
succeed in the longer term then it would need good friends to support
it long after the task force had moved on. Likewise OWL's role is to continue
to support and befriend the people of Bo after the international community
has turned its attention away to other hot spots in the world. Members
of the committee then went on to outline the various ways OWL is doing
this, which have been reported in this and previous newsletters. Bruce
Knight described his visit to Bo to learn Mende songs with enthusiasm,
and announced the date of the concert when these songs will be performed
by Songlines Community Choir. There was some lively discussion.
In drawing the
meeting to a close, Bill Evans thanked the participants and gave special
thanks to Mrs Sumner who had to leave to catch a train back to London.
He also announced that the Leamington Town and the Warwick District Councils
have recently re-affirmed their links to Bo Town Council and commitment
to assist civil society building in Sierra Leone.
Women's Support Group
Janet Alty, Myf Hodkin,
Caroline Green and Sarah Mate met together for the first time on 1st April
to discuss how they could support Teresa Bangali's initiative with a women's
group in Bo. (Teresa, who visited us in the summer of 2000, has set up
a Womens' Development Association to work with widows, rape victims and
other unsupported women)
Myf and Janet explained
a bit about the history of OWL and how Teresa Bangali started Kayoma after
her visit here in summer 2000.
They then focussed
(along with a great deal of discussion!) on the Project Proposal that
Teresa had drawn up, and noted her Aims and Objectives.
They decided that each
of them would undertake a bit of research on different parts of the programme
to establish whether and how they could help by purchasing items on the
required list here and then shipping them over. It was clear that some
items would be a great deal cheaper here, but there were probably also
some items which could be made locally and it was very important for as
much money as possible to be spent in the local economy in Bo.
Janet agreed to research
the resources available for the agriculture part of the project from the
local Organic Research Institute which works with farmers overseas offering
advice and help both from the UK and from farmers already working in Africa.
Caroline agreed to
research the prices for the gara dying implements at the local catering
supply shop and possibly also the prices of dyes.
Sarah agreed to follow
up a local charity that is providing computer equipment especially for
women and girls seeking "to reduce prostitution, forced labour, HIV
infection and disability".
Myf agreed to look
into the list of items required for the gari project and see if any could
possibly be provided here more cheaply.
They agreed that where
possible they would communicate between meetings by phone or email and
that Janet would send paper copies to the people not on email.
Janet agreed to contact
Teresa by phone (if possible) and send her a copy of these notes so that
she can let them know how best they can help and whether what they are
proposing could be useful.
They also need to know
whether Teresa has sent the Project Proposal to any local NGOs in Sierra
Leone for funding.
And they¹d very
much like to know why the name 'Kayoma' was chosen and if it has a Mende
FROM SIERRA LEONE WEB
Due to an ongoing
strike at the Bo Government Hospital, a ten-day food ration was issued
to the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society and the UNHCR to ensure cooking
for Liberian refugees admitted to the hospital.
Hales in Bo
UP AND RUNNING IN BO
Thanks to the sterling
work of a volunteer from Warwick University, The majority of the 90 computers
that One World Link sent out to Bo in December are now in working order
and being put to educational and other
Lee Hales is
a twenty-year-old second year computer systems student at Warwick. He
stepped forward in the autumn of 2001 to answer an appeal for help to
make sure that all the second hand computers we had been given were in
good working order before they left. He volunteered again to travel to
Bo during his Easter vacation to help the local One World Link Group there
make the most of the gift. He said "This was my first visit to Africa
or anywhere like Sierra Leone; so I was a bit apprehensive. But it turned
out to be a fantastic experience, and I achieved all that I set out to
do and more. The support and hospitality I received form the people of
Bo and from Bo OWL was second to none."
Lee Hales with a computer class in Bo
World Link is very satisfied with the out come of Lee's visit. The computers
are now being used in a community training centre, in three secondary
schools, and by the staff of Bo Town Council. The Council received some
recycled computers from Warwick District Council as a gift to acknowledge
the importance of the community friendship link and to re-build local
government and civil society in Sierra Leone. Lee was impressed that the
female staff at the Council were just as eager and as adept as the men
to learn about the technical side of the computers and were very ready
to pick up a screw driver for hands on learning.
Kobba, the Chair of Bo One World Link has given the visit a ringing endorsement.
He has written to say " I am very impressed by the outstanding performance
of Lee during his visit. Frankly speaking, he has been able to do so much
and so well within so short a time - training, installing computers, doing
repairs, you name it. It is just fantastic! This is a real practical demonstration
of friendship, and we are all grateful".
When Lee was asked
how he had coped with the very high heat and humidity in Bo, he replied
that all the work he had to do helped him to ignore it. He is now engaged
in writing an assessment of his visit and of future needs and potential
for co-operation. He was very pleased to learn that a member of the Bo
OWL Committee has a good aptitude for computer engineering and software
skills, and will be able to sustain the progress made so far.
Bill Evans, Chair
of Warwick District One World Link commented "This is excellent news.
I am very glad that my visit to Bo in 2001 when I was Mayor of Leamington
has led on to such positive results. It was just what I hoped for."
He did go on to add a note of caution. "We have to be careful that
we do not become a victim of our own success. The needs in Sierra Leone
are very great. According to UN statistics it is one of the world's most
deprived countries; and expectations of continuing support will grow with
every achievement. At least because we are a long standing friendship
link we will always be there for them, long after the aid agencies have
moved on to other hot spots. We do ask members of our own community, individuals,
community organisations, businesses, indeed everybody, to recognise this
and lend us your support. We have a major fund raising objective to build
a community centre in Bo; but we also need to sustain the exchange of
visits in both directions that have such positive results in education,
culture, technology, and citizenship for both communities. Each visit
costs a minimum of £1000. We are always looking for help with this.
The British Council in Freetown contributed to Lee's costs for which we
are very grateful; and West Midlands Arts contributed to the costs of
the singing teacher who went to Bo over Christmas. However we always have
to find at least part of the cost of every visit ourselves"
have recently heard that the Bo-OWL Chairman, Joseph Kobba, known
to many of us, has had a motorbike accident. We understand that
he is not too badly hurt, but we wish him a speedy recovery.
We have had
a donation of 180 elbow crutches from the Nuffield Private Hospital
for Bo General Hospital and hope that this is the beginning of
a new link between the two hospitals
sets herself no walls
No barriers she erects over the world.
Like a string of thread through beads
She links the hearts and minds
Of all races she finds.
She calls not her memory
To account for feelings spent
Or emotions rent.
Friendship moulds the world into one
In a way not even Fortune can.
She kisses the senses, caresses passions;
Paints the soul with truth
And brings love before the mind.
Friendship is the soul of the world
Bangali, Dec 2002
- make your mark in Africa.
We would like invite individuals to donate £10 towards the
building costs of the new Community Centre in Bo that we are enabling
Bo One World Link to build for the rehabilitation of the people
of Bo and the reconstruction of society in the aftermath of the
In return we will write your name on one of the building blocks
in the walls of the centre. This will be a way of immortalising
your name in another part of the world that we are linked with in
friendship. We will also have a book that records the names of donors
on display in the Centre.
Please send donations to OWL Treasurer, John McFarlane, 87 Larch
Walk, Yardley, Birmingham, B25 8QP
Knight and Mende music
Following Bruce Knight's
musical visit to Bo (see his report in the March Newsletter), he has started
making visits to schools where he has been introducing children to the
Mende songs he learned out there. He has recently been to St Peter's Catholic
Primary School, Leamington Spa and will soon be visiting Telford Primary
School, Leamington Spa and Ferncumbe Primary School at Hatton Green. [If
you want Bruce to visit your school, contact him on 770301] He has also
been teaching his Community Choir "Songlines", who will be performing
on July 16th (see front page for details). Be there!
lengths for 80 years
On July 10th Myf Hodkin,
our Chairperson for many years, will celebrate her 80th birthday by swimming
80 lengths (yes, 80! - that's 2 km) of St. Nicholas' Park swimming pool,
Warwick. She is inviting people to sponsor her for the benefit of Teresa
Bangali's Women's Development Association (see page 2) and Hillcrest Parish
near Durban in South Africa. She said "This swim is to acknowledge
the love and support of family and friends in good times and bad and particularly
to say 'thank you' to my friends in developing countries who have enlarged
my horizons and shared their hopes and fears with me. I am so fortunate
to be fit enough to enjoy regular swimming and want to use that enjoyment
in a practical way." You can contact Myf on 312593.
How to send letters
and materials to Bo
Put your letter or
package into another envelope or wrapping and send it to
c/o 31 The Greswoldes
This is a monthly service:
please ensure that materials reach the
OWL POSTBOX by the last day of the month
· There is a return name and address on your letter or packet
· Letters and packets are unsealed (British Council security requirement)
· No cash or 'things' are enclosed
Your letter or packet will then be forwarded to the British Council in
Freetown that has facilities for delivering to Bo Town.
They will be taken to One World Link in Bo and distributed
by them. (You may be asked to pay for the cost of sending bulkier
Further information and/or advice can be obtained from
OWL POSTBOX: Tel: 428635 or e-mail:
A leaflet about penfriendships is also available - please ask for one.