Mair Evans and Paul Atkins visit Bo

Mair Evans and Paul Atkins visit Bo schools and develop cultural links

After a lengthy period without formal contact between the linking primary schools in Bo and Warwick District due to the Ebola epidemic, our primary aim during our 16-day visit in January was to reconnect the classrooms and re-establish the dialogue between teachers.

Early learners in Bo

The welcome we received was overwhelming and the energy and warmth shown on each occasion very emotional. All the schools entertained us with singing, dancing and sharing of their work. We visited seven of the 14 schools, experienced nearly 100 classrooms and were humbled and grateful for the care and hospitality shown to us. We were able to take out learning resources and not only maintain the existing links but also develop new ones, for example, that between BDEC Messima and St. Margaret’s in Whitnash, that has gone from strength to strength.

As both of us have a background in the arts, we were also interested in exploring how intercultural understanding between our communities could be strengthened through artistic connections and projects. Sierra Leone has a rich heritage of dance, storytelling, music, poetry, visual art and crafts, and the visit gave us important insights into their culture and artists. We were able to meet a few practicing artists, who often have to develop commercial ventures to support their own creative practices. Now back in the UK we hope to develop artistic collaborations, knowledge sharing and projects between Warwick District and Bo’s communities.