Events

Ebola campaign

Monday, September 15th, 2014

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Ebola is now on Hastings’ doorstep. It now seems likely that an isolation centre will be set up in the Police Academy on the outskirts of the village. Experience elsewhere has shown that health workers are at grave risk, and so are their families. The very sad news has just come of the death from ebola of Dr Olivet Buck, a wonderful GP well known to the Link and to our colleagues at PRIME. Olivet and her co-workers in Freetown bravely continued to treat infected patients, in spite of the lack of adequate protective clothing. We need to do EVERYTHING we can to provide Sallu, the Hastings health centre manager, and his amazing team with the best possible chance of coping with the threat. We need to restore the damaged water supply as quickly as possible, so that basic hygiene precautions can be kept up. And we need to send out, or arrange for Sallu to be able to buy in, disinfectant, soap and other preventative measures. Please encourage your friends and neighbours to respond to this urgent appeal. You and they can donate by hitting the dark blue Donate button above.

Please rest assured that every penny will be spent directly on protecting the health centre and the people of Hastings SL.

Minutes of Link meeting of 3rd September 2014

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Present: Eileen & Bill Evans, Eve Martin, Christine Boulton-Lane, Richard Homewood (chair), Ray Keene, Sue Furness, Many Hinxman, Melanie Bray, Liz MacKay, Nola McSweeney, Derek Tomblin , John Geater, Janet Jarvis, Lynn White, Diane Reed, Robin Gray (minutes)

 1. Apologies for absence: Tom Collins, Paul Cabban

2. Minutes of meeting of 11th June & matters arising. §4. The treasurer’s report covered the period to 8th June, not 21st April as stated. The minutes were accepted.

3. Treasurer’s Report. Ray presented his report for income and expenditure up to 29th August. We have £6209.35 in the cash a/c, 5574.37 in the ring-fenced Gold a/c. The £328.20 recorded as Donations includes some £67 donated by the Brotherhood of the Cross and the Star to which Derek and Roger gave a talk. In fact, the movement is mainly concerned with Nigeria. Christine pointed out that the £65 arising from ‘Talks by R Lane’ should in fact read ‘Talks by C Lane’.

4. Schools Report: All schools that have applied for an exchange grant have been successful. (St Paul’s appears to manage to raise its own funds.) Roger paid tribute to the hard work and expertise of the teachers, who had impressed the British Council with the quality of their bids. Our global curriculum work is clearly well thought of. Diane Reed is now at St Leonards C of E Primary. Roger will arrange to see the new acting head to see how the school wants to be involved. Christ Church School has only recently picked up the link with St Malumba. Roger suggests that they apply for a grant in the November tranche.

Sue, who is taking over responsibility for the exchange visits, is in discussions with the British Council about the ebola crisis. There will clearly be no travel to SL in February 2015. Perhaps the SL teachers could come here in June, with our teachers going in October. Richard pointed out that that would be in the rainy season, which even forces some schools to close.

Roger and the teachers will meet on 16th Sept to discuss how to maintain strong links in spite of the ebola crisis.

5. Other reports:

(a) Health. Christine presented her report (See Appendix A). The meeting agreed that sending low-level protective gear, e.g. simple face masks, was pointless, and could even engender a dangerously false sense of security. Richard argued that we should put our energies into making the health centre fit for purpose, e.g. restoring a functioning water supply, so that proper standards of hygiene can be maintained. (Derek to investigate the exact situation regarding water tank or tower.) Melanie observed that chlorine is being used for hand-washing at the health centre. Eve wondered how difficult it would be for a soap manufacturing enterprise to be set up in the village. It seems that HBC is considering what response it might be able to make in the light of the threat of ebola in Hastings SL. The CLGF is asking local authorities involved in SL to contribute to a central fund, but the meeting agreed that money from Hastings & St Leonards should be channelled specifically to Hastings SL.

(b) Water. See 5(a). The new wells are working. Little Ridge is actively raising funds in order to repay a sum borrowed from its Parents Association.

(c) Waste. Some digesters are working well (proving the viability of the system), but others are not, most disappointingly the one at the Technical Institute. It had been hoped that digester studies would be built into the curriculum, but this does not seem to have happened. Solar Panels: We had envisaged providing a silent generator for the health centre at an initial cost of about £1800. Alex Robbin has proposed a 12kWh solar panel array for around £8,500. This being beyond our reach, we are looking at a more modest 3kWh system and LED lights in the centre, on the basis of power demand figures supplied by Mohamed Koroma. This would cost about £3,600, most of which St Leonards Rotary Club hopes to raise by an event with an African flavour in May 2015 and possibly with the help of a Rotary International grant. It was agreed we should try to go for a solar panel system now that could be extended later on, but that we should query the figure of £1100 for LED lights. Michael Foster is talking to Yvonne about catering for the May event.

Would it be possible to get started on the project without waiting for Rotary funding to be in place? Our own funds will be low once we have finished paying for the security wall; and funders may reject a bid if it seems applicants can manage from our their resources.

6. Events & fundraising.

(a) The BBQ. Richard summed the event up as hard work but fun. It was worth it, since it raised £474 and was a very pleasant event. Lynn reminded us that we owe a particular debt of gratitude to Bill Orton, who made and generously donated all the sausages. If we decide to repeat a BBQ, we will look again at whether we bother with advanced ticket sales (which raised £82 through the HIC this time); at other events scheduled for the same day; and at the timing – perhaps in June? Nola suggested that an evening BBQ in the woods can be very atmospheric.

(b) The Big Jump. At the last minute, bad weather prevented Richard and his team from jumping. They will try again on 20th September. Sponsorship of over £1000 has been received. Further sponsorship can be made via  http://www.charitycheckout.co.uk/1127137/bigjump

(c) Thanksgiving on Sunday September 14th. As we have not been able to source a minibus and driver, we will go up to the Twinning Thanksgiving Service in London in whatever private cars we can muster. Those wishing to go are requested to confirm that to Robin (436603 or secretary.hslfl@gmail.com) urgently.

(d) ‘Posh’ Jumble Sale Saturday 20th September, 10am-12noon. Liz and Christine have this well in hand. Darren at HBC has produced posters and flyers (see attachment sent out with these minutes). Friends of Christine are running a tea, coffee and cake section. Saleable goods (including plants and books) can be taken to Christ Church Hall (London Road, St Leonards) 6pm-8pm on Friday 19th, or 8am-10am on Saturday 20th. Or ring 0795 149 3297 if you have goods to be collected. We are all asked to support the sale, to publicise it and to bring our friends along!

(e) Gala Hastings Week Concert on Friday 17th October at St Mary-in-the-Castle. Roger has sent out a planning schedule to all those involved in the smooth running of the event. In the interval, there will be the buffet supper served by Yvonne and her team; a video presentation on the latest news from Hastings SL (Derek); and a quick raffle (Nola). For the latter, we need a few high quality prizes. Please contact Nola (751295) with offers.

Roger and Robin will produce programme notes. It is vitally important that we fill the 200 seats. Tickets are £15 (£10 students and children) – for an excellent evening of music and food, with the opportunity to help Hastings SL. All members are asked to take responsibility for selling tickets to their family, friends and neighbours. They are available through Robin and will shortly be available at the Hastings Information Centre in Aquila House.

(f) Orange quiz sheet and Quiz Night 2015. It was agreed that we should again organise both. Robin will have the orange quiz sheet ready for the evening of the Hastings Week concert. It was agreed that we should all share the task of selling the sheets and not leave it all to Nola. Roger will take over Nola’s mailing list.   Lynn will ask Richard if there is a date in March 2015 when we may run the quiz night at St Paul’s School.

7. AOB. (a) Roger suggested that we should consider in the near future, in consultation with the village, what the focus of our next project in Hastings SL should be.

(b) In answer to a question about shipping, Richard reported that he has updated details for a contact in the Royal Navy. He will ask this officer what help the Navy may currently be able to give.

8. Date of next meeting: Wednesday 12th November at 6.05pm at the Town Hall, Hastings (confirmed).

Appendix A

HSLFL HEALTH CENTRE SUB COMMITTEE

NOTES OF MEETING HELD ON 1st SEPTEMBER 2014

 

  1. After a long discussion about the Ebola outbreak, it was agreed that we would recommend that no decision should be taken on what action, if any, we should be taking until after the meeting organised by the United Kingdom Sierra Leone Health Partnership which is being held next Thursday, and which a number of the sub-Committee were to attend. Christine reported that she had heard from Sallu during August and she had asked him if there was anything that we could do to assist him but has not received an answer. At this point in time Hastings does not have the virus. An offer had been made by Rokel to purchase goods on our behalf if required. Sallu had also written expressing his concern for his staff and himself should an outbreak of Ebola occur in Hastings
  2. Christine had received from Sallu copies of the monthly reports for July that are made to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
  3. It was noted that the work on the wall had continued despite the rainy season and that it should soon be completed. Derek updated the meeting on the possibility of solar power and the offer of Hastings Rotary to assist with the cost. He was in touch with Alex Robbin regarding this.   He also spoke about the provision of a water pump and generator which were being considered. It was felt that it was imperative to provide safe hand washing and drinking water facilities within the Centre.

4Melanie B reported that with the help of Kashopeh Smith’s sister, Ranso, 9 DVDs have been translated and recorded and will soon be produced as DVDs. The Basic Hygiene DVD had been requested by the Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Brima Kargbo, who may also arrange for it to be broadcast on TV. About 100 of these DVDs are being taken to Sierra Leone by an Embassy Official.   Ranso, Dorcas (Yvonne & Yvette’s Mother) and her friend are now helping with the translations. It was hoped that the Basic Hygiene DVD reaches the Health Centre as it was felt it would help in the fight against all infections including the Ebola virus.

  1. The date of the next meeting of the sub-committee will be decided in due course.                                              CBL

 

Gala Concert for the Link – Friday October 17th

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Roger has organised an amazing concert in Hastings Week to raise funds for Hastings SL.  We’ve generously been offered St Mary-in-the-Castle, with its wonderful acoustics, for the venue. The first half of the programme is provided by the ever popular Sussex Brass, who were such a hit when they played for us last year. In the interval, Yvonne will be providing an African supper, and we’ll give an update on events in the village. The second half keeps up the African atmosphere with a set by the Ecstatic Republic of Conga, followed by RoCoCo, the Robertsbridge Community Choir, singing songs with an African flavour.  Tickets will shortly be available from the Hastings Information Centre or from members of the Link (let secretary.hslfl@gmail.com know if you need tickets). They’re £15 for adults, £10 for students and children – a great price for an evening’s entertainment, a buffet meal and the chance to help Hastings Village. The concert (7.30 on October 17th) will be one of the big events of Hastings Week. The atmosphere should be terrific!

Gala Hastings Week Concert October 17th

Gala Hastings Week Concert October 17th

September 20th: a parachute jump AND a posh jumble sale!

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Our chairman, Richard Homewood, led a little group of crazy Link supporters to make a parachute jump over Salisbury Plain at the end of August. Unfortunately, the weather closed in at the last minute, and they had to postpone the jump. They’ll be trying again on Saturday 20th September. If you haven’t already sponsored these brave people, please do!  See the Charity Checkout link on this website. The money raised will be used to support our schools and health centre projects in Hastings SL.

On the same day, as it happens, we’re have a ‘Posh Jumble Sale’ at Christ Church, London Road, St Leonards – from 10 to 12. If you have any saleable items, let us know (secretary.hslfl@gmail.com) and we’ll pick them up, or why not bring them along early on the Saturday morning?

 

Jumble Sale poster

The Big Jump!

The Big Jump!

Latest on the ebola situation

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

As far as we know (20th August), there have not been any cases of ebola in Hastings SL, though Sallu and his team are very worried and are doing their best to be ready, and to educate the public about what they can do. We at the Link will do our best to respond to the situation as it develops. Dr Effi Gooding has sent us the following harrowing account of the situation in the east of the country, written by a Sierra Leonean reporter:

KAILAHUN, SIERRA LEONE—The day shift at the Ebola treatment centre has barely begun when a nurse runs up to Ewenn Chenard to announce the first corpse of the day.
Chenard’s team is responsible for removing bodies from the isolation ward and the nurse stretches out her forearm, showing him the “212” she has written haphazardly on her skin. “C3. Ten years. OK?”
Such numbers and letters have become the language of death at the Médecins Sans Frontières treatment centre in Kailahun district, the epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. “212” is the patient’s identification number; “C3” is the tent where Chenard will find the corpse; “ten years” — the patient’s age. Chenard will need a child-sized body bag.
Patient 212’s name is Jimmy and he is the 90th death at this centre since it opened seven weeks ago. He will not be buried today because there are already nine bodies in the morgue — one has been rotting for four days. “That is a problem,” says Sebastian Stein, who works with Chenard. “Not enough burial teams.”
This is the reality of fighting this Ebola outbreak. Too many patients, too many bodies, and not nearly enough money, people, chlorine or even ambulances to stop the dying. Last week, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global health emergency.
There is no great mystery in containing an Ebola outbreak; every flare-up since 1976 has been successfully quelled. But this time, the virus has slithered into a new part of Africa, gaining a foothold in large cities. Now more than 1,800 infections have been reported in four West African countries, including in their capitals; in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, there are at least 11 cases, but a treatment centre has yet to open.
This outbreak has also been a disaster of poverty, emerging in some of the world’s poorest nations.
Forty per cent of the total reported cases in this outbreak have been in Sierra Leone. Among the affected countries, it is the worst off by nearly every development measure, ranking 183 out of 187 on the Human Development Index with more than half its population living below the poverty line.
With the arrival of Ebola, an already weak health system is now buckling. “The system’s already stretched to the limit,” said Dr. Jacob Mufunda, the country’s WHO representative. “(We need) surge capacity. Not for three weeks — six months to one year, from other countries.”
If the world hadn’t noticed Sierra Leone’s struggles before, it certainly does now. Unless Ebola is defeated in the West African villages and cities seeding the outbreak, the virus will continue to be an international threat; it has already brought patients to hospitals in Spain and the United States and caused scares as close to home as Brampton.
Millions have recently been pledged toward fighting the outbreak and reinforcements are beginning to trickle in. But it’s not coming fast enough.
In Kailahun, the district with the highest number of cases in Sierra Leone, the struggle remains lonely and exhausting. The fight has largely fallen to Sierra Leoneans like Daniel James, who volunteers his days burying infected corpses, or Ahmed Lengor, paid $10 per shift to clean vomit and diarrhea teeming with virus.
Everyone is exhausted. The day after Jimmy’s death, 10 more people died at the MSF centre, sending Chenard into the isolation ward five times, even though protocols discourage more than three daily entries to avoid fatigue and mistakes.
Only four ambulances serve this district of roughly 465,000 and one pulls up with five people crammed inside — three are confirmed to have Ebola. If the other two were not already infected, and did not have protection, chances are they probably have the virus now.
And at the treatment centre, the biggest ever built by MSF, they have reached maximum capacity. More than 150 trees had to be cut to make space for what was to be a 50-bed centre. There are now 80 beds.
MSF is refusing to expand. Without additional staff and resources, patients and staff will be put at risk, says Anja Wolz, who has been running MSF’s emergency response in Kailahun. She already served Ebola missions in Guinea and Liberia when MSF asked her to come to Sierra Leone. A few days ago, she finally went home for a much-deserved break but says she expects to spend Christmas in West Africa.
With Ebola, you need to be a step ahead, she says. In Sierra Leone, they have been “two steps behind, four steps behind.”
“It’s frustrating. I’m really frustrated,” she says. “We know what to do but we don’t have the capacity to do it.”
At the MSF centre, everyone’s nightmare is what happened at the Kenema government hospital.
No MSF worker has ever died from Ebola. But in Kenema, five hours from Kailahun along a pothole-infested road, more than 20 hospital workers have died from Ebola since May 25, when the Sierra Leone outbreak was declared. Among them was Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, the country’s top expert on viral hemorrhagic fevers.
Chenard went to Kenema to help identify what went wrong. “It’s the worst place I’ve seen as an Ebola treatment centre,” says the 32-year-old Frenchman, a logistician who specializes in water and sanitation. “Take everything that you want to avoid in a treatment centre — and you are in Kenema.”
There was blood on the walls, starving patients and hygienists using water that was “brown like mud.” Health workers moved from high-risk to low-risk areas without changing clothes; “you never knew who was next to you,” Chenard says. “It could be a patient, suspected or confirmed … it could be hospital personnel.”
He recommended the hospital hire at least 46 more staff to support infection control and sanitation in its isolation ward. When he visited, there were only three.
“They don’t have the means to work properly,” he says. “It’s not like they do not try. They really try their best. But there are not enough numbers and there are not enough skills.”
There are now plans to open an isolation ward outside of Kenema, which the Red Cross will run.
At the MSF centre, built on years of experience, the rules are fastidious. There is no touching, even at the compound where staff stay, and when a visitor briefly leans against a pole, she is quickly admonished not to touch anything.
The personal protective equipment, or PPE, is your lifeline in the isolation ward and it takes 15 to 20 minutes to put on, a slow, precise process that requires a supervising hygienist who checks for gaps, tears and oversights. But when you leave the ward, it becomes your greatest threat if you don’t disrobe properly, ensuring the contaminated suit does not brush against your skin or clothes.
Since nothing leaves isolation, doctors shout their medical notes to a nurse standing on the other side of the fence. “Abdominal pain,” a doctor calls out, as a nurse scribbles. “Needs diapers.” Twice a day, waste from the contaminated area gets burned in a large pit, including the 150 Tyvek suits used daily.
The 92 hygienists — all locals — perform one of the centre’s most gruelling jobs. Among them is Ahmed Lengor, a 46-year-old who since June has walked 20 minutes from his home to the treatment centre where he is paid a daily rate of 42,000 leones, about $10. His days are filled with vomit, stool, blood and bodies — which he must clean then dispose of.
Before he started this job, Lengor enjoyed sitting in the town centre and chatting with friends and neighbours. These days, people whisper when he comes near and move away.
“I just let it go,” he says. “Whatever you think about me, I don’t care. All I know is I’m doing something for my people, to save them.”
In sleepy Kailahun town, life continues; women sell grilled corn roadside; children play in the fields; motorcycles zoom along the dusty roads, sometimes with two or three on a bike.
But all is not normal. Plastic buckets filled with chlorine water are everywhere and the local economy all but stopped after the market and only bank closed. Sierra Leoneans, prone to hugging, handholding and handshaking, keep their distance.
Last Thursday, both Kailahun and Kenema were quarantined by the military — no moving in or out. The next day, there were no admissions at the MSF centre.
“I feel more insecure when there’s zero,” Wolz said at the district health office Saturday morning, where daily Ebola meetings are being held. “Like, going from seven to zero. We need to find out why there are no new admissions.”
These daily meetings are attended every day by some 50 people — NGO workers, government officials, local chiefs — who gather to discuss the latest numbers and problems: villages that initially refused chlorine are now complaining they have none; another patient who has gone into hiding; a new rumour spreading from Nigeria that saltwater washes will ward off Ebola.
They also talk about the contact tracers, who have been charged with the most important job in stemming this outbreak — identifying every person who has contacted a patient and following them for 21 days, the maximum incubation time for the virus.
There are currently 1,264 contacts being traced across the country. In Kailahun, there are 270, currently being traced by 314 volunteers equipped with a day’s worth of training and a cellphone.
But it is obvious that contacts are being missed. There are still new cases, new deaths in the villages.
“Only yesterday, there were three community deaths; today about four to six,” Wolz said last week. “This means we are not following up. It’s not functional at all.”
Alpha Sesay is a volunteer contact tracer with the Red Cross. He is 20, polite and wears a seemingly permanent smile and a T-shirt that says, “Spread the word and not the disease. Kick Ebola out of Sierra Leone.”
Sesay’s job is to follow up on a teenage boy he has been tracking who came to Kailahun after his father died in another village. Sesay walks to the teenager’s home and asks if anyone has seen him today. A boy, maybe 6, shakes his head; the teenager’s mother also shakes her head. Everyone gathered around the home shake their heads.
Sesay has only just received the contact tracing form. He starts to fill it out but scraps it when someone points out he has written the wrong name; he pulls out another one and finally enters the answers from his previous two visits.
Did the teen have nausea or vomiting? Muscle pain? Fever? No to all of these. Sesay could only take the boy’s word. He does not use a thermometer to check for fever.
After 15 minutes, the boy still hasn’t showed. Sesay shrugs and leaves but returns later that evening, catching him this time. Any symptoms? Still no, no, no. The boy has now made it through day nine of being traced by Sesay and has 12 more to go — unless he gets sick or runs away.
Sesay doesn’t get paid for this work, which has exposed him to potential Ebola patients as well as threats from nervous townspeople.
But he won’t quit, even though his brother told him to. “I want to help,” he says brightly, with that wide smile. “So soon we can kick this Ebola virus out of this country.”
A group of glum-looking young men are sweating in a dusty lot near the centre of Kailahun, listening to a stern 20-minute lecture.
“Whatever you do today will reflect on you tomorrow,” says Eric Moosa, the district health superintendent. “If you are a hard worker, it will reflect on you in the future.” The boys stare at him in silence.
“We know it’s a risky job,” says Daniel James, a Red Cross volunteer. “But please, let’s do it from our heart.” More stares, more silence.
These boys are in their late teens and early 20s, dressed in soccer jerseys and dirty flip flops. They are the burial team and theirs is one of the most dangerous jobs in any Ebola outbreak.
Ebola is relentless. Even after it dispatches its victim, the virus will shed from the corpse, making funerals super-spreading events. Mourners often wash, touch or even embrace the bodies of their dead. Two or three weeks ago, two unsafe burials were performed in a nearby village “and then more than 30 to 35 people got infected,” says MSF’s Wolz.
Today’s lecture is in response to last week’s strike by some of the gravediggers. The boys wanted more than the monthly “incentive” of 350,000 leones, or $88, paid by the Ministry of Health. Hardly enough to make such grim and dangerous work appealing. But there are simply no other jobs in Kailahun due to the outbreak.
These boys labour in the heat in full PPEs. Sweat pours out of their boots and glasses when they take them off. The slightest mistake — a slip of the glove, a snag on a nail — could cost their life.
Their days are spent with corpses, some found lying in pools of blood. Sometimes, rigor mortis has seized the bodies and they have to wrestle with stiff limbs to fit them in the body bags.
One man told James he has nightmares of an Ebola corpse chasing him or sitting on his bed. “It was the first dead body he had seen,” James says. “Sometimes I worry when I see them doing the job because I can see they are frightened.”
James’s team heads to a village deep in the bush called Sambalu, where a death has been reported. Another team will take care of the 12 bodies waiting at the MSF morgue.
Like most days, the morning is filled with frustrating delays — the car needs fuel, they need to fetch more PPEs. Jimmy Kapetshi, a doctor from the Democratic Republic of Congo who samples suspected Ebola corpses, has yet to arrive.
At 12:30, the team finally hits a road so bumpy and treacherous that two cars wind up in a fender bender. When they reach Sambalu, Manjo Lamin is already there, a health official with the Ebola surveillance team as well as the 46th patient at the MSF centre — he was infected after poking his finger with a needle while taking a specimen.
Lamin has already done a preliminary investigation and says three men have washed the dead body. But he does not think the man died of Ebola — he was more than 100 years old and had not left the village in 20 years.
Moses Msellu, a villager, says there have been no Ebola cases in Sambalu, even though the village is a short paddle across the Mua River to Guinea, where the outbreak originated as early as December of last year.
The team gathers. Should they spend precious time burying the old man the “Ebola way”? Or appease the villagers by allowing a traditional burial?
But in this “era of Ebola,” the question “What if?” lingers. They suit up.
As they walk toward the dead man’s home, the villagers watch in silence, some snapping pictures. The team sprays everything with chlorine from tanks worn on their backs; the dirt floor outside the door, the rickety wooden bench.
In the dead man’s tiny room, goggles immediately fog up from the heat. The mood is tense and James’ voice takes on a hint of urgency. “Spray,” he commands, pointing to the walls. “Spray,” he says, pointing to a bucket. “Spray,” he says, pointing to the dead man, lying in bed beneath a thin blanket.
Kapetshi enters and carefully swabs inside the man’s mouth and nose. He takes a needle — slowly, slowly — and draws unpumped blood from the man’s heart.
The body is wrapped in a white sheet and body bagged — twice. Chlorine is sprayed after every step. They heave the corpse onto a stretcher and lay it on the ground outside so the villagers can gather and pray.
Kapetshi has seen Ebola many times and is not worried. “This is not Ebola,” he says. But even so, his entire body is disinfected before he carefully removes the suit, demanding again and again to be sprayed. His sample tubes are in a plastic bag that is sprayed, bagged again, and sprayed one more time.
The blood tests come back negative but no one feels the day was wasted. For one day, at least, there is one less “what if.”
The latest blood results have been posted: Negative, negative, negative, negative, negative, negative, negative.
A commotion suddenly erupts among the staff at the MSF centre.
“Seven people cured in one day,” nurse Géraldine Bégué exclaims. “I’ve never seen it.”
Everyone is especially excited about patient “65.” Dr. Sameh Kirollos, a 30-year-old doctor from Egypt, recognizes the number immediately — Isata, a 22-month-old girl admitted on the same day Kirollos started working here two months ago.
When Isata first arrived, she was terrified, says Stein, a water and sanitation specialist. She had been confirmed positive and was supposed to stay in the high-risk isolation area, accessible only to workers clad in PPE. But the area is fenced off with only plastic orange mesh — easily escaped by a toddler crawling underneath, which is exactly what Isata did.
“She’s so small and tiny and she can hardly walk, but everyone was freaking out,” Stein says. “It was this terrible situation where they were forming a circle around her, trying to keep her there, while people were very quickly trying to put on their PPE so they could put her back.”
Such is the savagery of Ebola — even a crying toddler becomes a source of terror and cannot be comforted.
MSF staff say babies never survive Ebola but last week, Isata became the youngest patient to be discharged from the centre. Staffers stayed late and came in on their day off to watch her leave. After she was doused in chlorine, she tottered out of the isolation ward and into the open arms of the joyful nurse. Everyone cheered.
But Isata’s struggle is only just beginning. She has survived Ebola but her parents did not. Across the district, workers are looking for other children orphaned or left vulnerable by Ebola; at last count there were 82.
The consequences of this outbreak will ripple for years, says Dr. James Sylvester Squire, Kailahun’s district medical officer. There has been no school or economic activity for months and for survivors like Mamie Lebbie — the country’s first laboratory-confirmed patient and survivor — her illness prevented her from farming and she is only now ploughing her fields, while others are already growing their rice; she worries about where she will get food or money in the coming months.
“The impact is huge,” Squire says. “Even in the next two years you’ll see the effects. People have lost entire families.”
Right now, the outbreak shows no signs of slowing. The staff at the MSF centre were still celebrating Isata and the other six discharges when Wolz received some news that ambulances were on the way.
“Twelve more are coming,” she tells a staffer. He grimaces and sighs deeply, shrugs and gets back to work.
Read more about: Global health

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Family BBQ in the woods at Hastings : Saturday 12th July

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

We had a great time in St Helen’s Woods on July 12th. The weather was looking very threatening and we nearly cancelled, but in fact the sun came out at 3 o’clock and everything was perfect. A whole coachload of our SL friends from London & Essex came down, and everyone had a good time. Yvonne brought lovely African food to supplement the traditional BBQ fare. The youngsters enjoyed  face painting, a scavenger hunt in the woods and a lucky dip. A few brave souls actually danced. We raised some £474 for the health centre – perhaps we could have raised more if the event hadn’t clashed with the St Leonards Festival.

A huge thank-you to everyone who donated raffle prizes and helped; and to Bill Orton, who generously donated the home-made sausages, to Sainsbury’s for buns and soft drinks, and to Judith Collins and the Scouts Association for the loan of two field toilets.

Robin

Minutes of 2014 AGM

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

Annual General Meeting

held at the Town Hall, Hastings, on 10th May 2014

 

The formal business was preceded by an African-style buffet lunch provided by Yvonne, Yvette and Janet. Once again the Link would like to express its appreciation for our London friends’ hugely generous kindness and support.

Minutes of the meeting

 Present: Yvonne Johnson, Yvette John, Janet Seisay, Tunde Rahman, Emmanuel Nylander, Eileen Evans, Bill Evans, Margaret Mitchell, Liz Mackay, Linda Astell, Tania Kavanagh, Ray Keene,  Christine Boulton-Lane, Alison Day, Janet Jarvis, Corinne Harris, Mandy Hinxman, Carole Cabban, Paul Cabban, Cllr Peter Pragnell, Cllr Eve Martin, Sue Furness, Jacqui Lockwood, Roger Mitchell (chair §1), Nola McSweeney, Richard Lane, Richard Homewood (chair §2), Derek Tomblin, Lynn White, Cllr Eve Martin, Melanie Bray, Cllr Nigel Sinden, Cllr Jeremy Birch, John Geater, Robin Gray (minutes)

1. Apologies for absence: Angela Gartland, Richard White, Diane Reed, Jane Smith, Michael & Rosemary Foster, Amber Rudd MP, Anne Hanney, Stella Underwood,  Ernie Grice, Edwin Rew.

2. Minutes of AGM 2013 and matters arising.  With one correction (the AGM 2013 was held at Little Ridge School, not at St Paul’s School as indicated erroneously in the heading), the minutes were accepted as a true record and signed by the chairman. There were no matters arising.

3. Chairman’s report.  Roger presented his written report for the calendar year 2013 (see Appendix A), and commented on some events that have taken place in the early months of 2014.  February ’14 saw the largest exchange visit to SL to date: 20 participants. Much more work was seen to be done at the health centre; most of the 2 schools partnerships are going well. Roger thanked all those who have helped to make the Link’s work so successful, though he urged that we make every effort to involve more people in order to spread the load.

4. Election of officers.  Roger having decided to stand down after a two year stint as chairman, nominations for the chairmanship had been invited. Richard Homewood had been proposed by Ray Keene and seconded by Lynn White, and had agreed to allow his name to be put forward. There being no other nominations, this was put to the vote and carried unanimously, and Richard took the chair for the rest of the meeting.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Richard thanked Roger for his great work as chairman, and said that no doubt he will turn to Roger for advice as he endeavours to follow such a hard act. As no nominations for the other executive officer posts had been received, and since the current officers (Derek Tomblin: vice-chair; Bill Evans: membership secretary; Ray Keene: treasurer; Robin Gray: secretary) were willing to continue for another year, this was put to the vote and carried unanimously.

 5. Membership Renewal. Bill asked members to make sure that they let him know if they change their email address, since Bill depends on email to send out membership reminders etc. We consider our friends from the Hastings Association UK Branch to be automatically members of the Link, but Yvonne insisted that her association will be paying a lump sum donation of £50 to cover their affiliation.

6. Treasurer’s Report.   Ray presented his accounts, together with a written explanation (for the latter, see Appendix B). Ray reminded us that the accounts are complicated by the fact that payments in and payments out straddle the end of the calendar year.  The quiz sheets and quiz night in 2013 raised £1867, whereas in 2014 they raised £2323. Our thanks go to all who help with these, and in particular to Nola.  Nola will not be able to devote such a lot of time and energy to selling the orange sheets in future, and hopes that it will be possible to set up a team to cover this work, this autumn. She will be happy to advise.  Roger observed that even if we made a small loss (about £500) on the calendars this time, their publicity value was still considerable. Mandy wondered if the format was quite right: perhaps a smaller, narrower calendar might sell better. It was agreed that if we decide to produce a calendar again, we will discuss the format.

Ray noted that the accounts had been accepted by the Trustees.

7. Any Other Business.

(1) Roger reminded us that the second half of the exchange runs from 17th to 24th May. The soccer tournament takes place on Friday 23rd at St Leonards Academy (ex-FVS) at 1.30.  All are welcome. Cars should be parked in Filsham Road.

(2) Christine reminded us that the BBQ on July 12th is to be a family affair, running from 3pm to 7pm. Details to follow.

(3) Roger told us that this year’s Thanksgiving service for the twinning link takes place on Sunday 14th September at 3pm, followed by a meal. He hopes we will be well represented.

(4) Roger announced that there will be a fundraising concert on 17th October at 7.30pm in St.Mary-in-the-Castle. Music by Sussex Brass and others.

(5) Derek proposed that we release two tranches of £5k from the Gold account in order to allow work to start on the perimeter wall around the health centre, to safeguard the site and the well. Ray seconded the proposal, and it was carried nem con. Robin noted that he has put in a bid to the British High Commission for some funding towards this, but we have not yet heard the result of this application.

(6) Christine confirmed that she will be organising a team to run a ‘posh jumble sale’ in September or October. The church hall at Christ Church in London Road is available to us. Liz Mackay has kindly offered storage. We are all encouraged to start putting items aside.

(7) John urged that ‘Hastings Sierra Leone’ be added to the list of our twin towns on the sign on the Rye Road. Jeremy promised to raise the matter with the Council.

(8) Robin noted that the Round Table has invited local charities to bid for a pitch at the Beer & Music Festival in early July. The winner will run, and have the profits from, a ’bungee run’ plus £500. Two runners-up will have a pitch for their information stand plus £250. He will put in a bid.

8. Date of next ordinary general meeting: Wednesday 11th June at 6.05 in the Town Hall.

The formal business of the AGM was followed by presentations arising out of the February trip and updating us on current progress.

(1) Alison and Corinne spoke movingly of their experiences as first-time visitors to Sierra Leone, and about the work they did with the teachers and children in their partner schools.  They were deeply impressed by the welcome they received, by the dedication of the (often unpaid) teachers, and by the children’s thirst for education.

(2) Derek outlined the work that has been done to supply wells to Edest School and Jui School with funds raised by Dudley Infants and Little Ridge respectively. Derek explained why a well is the best option for supplying water in the area. The two wells now have fully functioning hand-pump systems.

(3) Christine described the multi-faceted work that Sallu Lansana and his team are carrying out at the health centre. She showed pictures of an important meeting at the Twin Town Centre for the launch of an important Helen Keller Foundation project to provide a programme of injections for babies. Since the visit, Sallu has reported that the two boxes of medicines sourced by Liz and handed over by Christine had already saved the lives of 4 women. Looking to the future, Christine stressed how important it is that we work with the SL health authority and the health centre, supporting them and not imposing our own expectations.

(4) Richard echoed Alison’s description of the emotions one feels in Hastings SL. He described the huge waste management problems the Freetown area faces, and re-capped the initiatives undertaken in 2010 & 2011 – composting, education, a British Council schools seminar, a mini-conference in the UK etc. He felt that that much of that early momentum is lost; but that although national projects are too big for us, he will continue to refine the biogas digester system he has introduced, in the hope that it will be more and more widely adopted in the Hastings area.

Appendix A

Chairperson’s Annual Report 2013

Management:            Committee Meetings: Our General Committee met four times during the year to hear reports from the Treasurer and the conveners of sub-committees and to discuss all issues affecting the work of the Link. Sub-Committee Meetings:  Regular meetings of the sub-committees for Health and for Education took place throughout the year.

Partnership Activities with the Community of Hastings Sierra Leone

Exchange Visits:  In February a party of 12 travelled to Sierra Leone accompanied by Yvonne Johnson. Of these 10 worked for a week in schools and two worked with the staff of the Health Centre.  Five of the teachers benefitted from British Council grants while the rest of the party were either subsidised by their schools or funded themselves.  In May a party of 9 teachers from Sierra Leone spent a week in their partner schools and enjoyed a full programme of activities in the locality.

On-going Projects:            Health Centre:            During the year the building of the extension to the Health Centre continued and at the end of the year was nearing completion. During and since the visit to the Health Centre in February the sub-committee has been increasingly concerned about building a perimeter wall around the premises, both as a protection against vandalism and ‘land-grabbing’. This is a costly undertaking since the area concerned is about an acre. The enhancement of the equipment and drug resources available to the Centre has also been a concern that has met with some success.

Waste and Recycling:  Richard Homewood reported mixed success in the development of this work in the absence of a grant to enable personal visits to trouble-shoot some of the difficulties that arose in the operation of bio-digesters. Materials used in the construction of recycling containers were stolen. It has been encouraging to have some local technical support, particularly from the Kissy Technical Institute, and plans were made for Richard and others to join the exchange party in 2014.

Schools:            We were encouraged as 5 more pairs of schools (making 12 partnerships in all) were recruited as partners during the year and applications for further grants from the British Council were successful.  This enabled plans to be laid for even larger parties of teachers to be to be exchanged in 2014. The enthusiasm of schools involved is spreading. Despite this there was concern that, as some schools moved to academy status, this enthusiasm might not be shared by their new managements.

Fund Raising:            The main concern during the year was to raise sufficient funding to secure the Health Centre. A range of events took place:

  • Over the Christmas period 2012 and into 2013 the ‘orange quiz sheets’ designed by Robin Gray and Nola McSweeney were very popular as was the hugely successful quiz night masterminded by the same team in March.
  • Some used the LOAF Walk in May to raise sponsorship.
  • Attendance at the St Leonards Festival raised some interest.
  • A Prom Concert given by Sussex Brass in Hastings Week drew a good attendance. It was wonderful to have a large contingent of our Sierra Leonean friends from London joining us and donating a very significant sum that had been raised by them and a further gift from the Church of the Good Shepherd in Collier Row.
  • Robin Gray worked tirelessly to produce a calendar. Prints of places in 1066 Country by local artists made a beautiful Christmas gift but sadly did not sell as well as had been hoped.
  • Robin has made application to a number of grant-making trusts including Comic Relief without success during the year. The expenditure of so much effort for so little return is discouraging.
  • Two schools committed themselves to raising funds to provide wells at their partners’ premises. Other schools undertook a variety of fund-raising efforts to enable teacher exchanges beyond the British Council funding and made significant educational resources available to their partners.

Goods to Sierra Leone: A container was sent out at the end of 2012 and arrived safely. Goods for a second were assembled at St Paul’s School and packed at the end of 2013 for transit. A large quantity of educational material was assembled along with medical supplies for the Health Centre. The gross cost of sending such a container, needing to be bonded until opened by reliable people in Hastings, amounted to nearly £3500. Whether such an outlay is good value was of concern to the committee.

Partnership with the Sierra Leone Hastings Association (UK):  We continued to be privileged to have such good friends amongst the Sierra Leonean diaspora in London. Your chairman and his wife were warmly welcomed at the Association’s Valentine Dance. A group of 21 from the Link attended the Association’s annual Thanksgiving Service in September and were royally received. Yvonne Johnson and Yvette John and others were regular visitors to our events in Hastings, always bringing a choice buffet – to the LOAF Walk, the AGM, the School Soccer Tournament, and the Hastings Week Concert.

To sum up, 2013 was a successful year for the Link in many ways with significant advances in Health and Education cooperation. Our concern must be that we have not gained greatly in committed membership.  We need to find ways of communicating a clear vision of what we can achieve in future to a wider constituency.

I close by thanking my colleague officers on the Committee and Trustees of the Link for their hard work throughout the year. Beyond those with specific roles there are many others who attend our rather ad-hoc Committee and support at various events and in different ways during the year .The encouragement we receive from within Hastings Borough Council and among its officers is greatly valued.

Roger Mitchell. May 2014

 

Appendix B

Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

 

Treasurer’s Report for year ended 31 December 2013

 Firstly let me say that the figures within these comments relate to the last financial year and as such are somewhat historical.

In the year income totalled £50,941 (all figures to nearest pound) of which £18,813 was normal income with the balance of £32,129 relating to the visits to & from Sierra Leone in early 2013 and the advance payment of air fares by those who travelled in February 2014.

Similarly the expenditure for 2013 totalled £54,400 of which £34,179 related to the exchanges in 2013 and the payment of air fares relating to the trip in February 2014.

There was a shortfall of £1,408 between income & expenses before the exchange trip transactions which increased to £3,458 in total. The exchange trip timings mean that the income & expenses for these events bridge two financial years but all costs are covered from the schools & individuals concerned except that our charity pays the costs for Mrs Y Johnson who is invaluable in assisting the smooth running of the visits to Sierra Leone.

The main income was derived from the quiz in early 2013 which, together with the sales of the Orange quiz sheets, raised £1,867 after costs. The LOAF walk raised £625 whilst the Sussex Brass concert raised £755 net of costs.

We continue to receive support from Hastings Borough Council in connection with the official twinning with Hastings, Sierra Leone both financially and in the provision of a meeting room and other services.

Robin Gray, our Secretary, produced and distributed a calendar for 2014 with sales being made through outlets in the town and through supporters. The printing and design costs were £4,810 and in the financial year we received sale proceeds of £2260. With further amounts in 2014 a total of £4,289 was received. A further £151 was retained by our linked schools for their own funds.

During the year we received donations of £1,000 each from the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Hastings Association Sierra Leone (the London group) which are shown as part of the sum of £2420 received specifically for the Health project and further unrestricted donations of £1,546.

Our expenses are specified in the Income & Expenditure statement and are self-explanatory – the sundry expenses were mainly the football medals (covered by a donation) and a new screen used when making presentations to schools and other groups. During the year we transferred a total of £13,000 from the Gold account (ring-fenced for this purpose) towards the work on the Health Centre extension which was offset by £5,000 transferred from the Cash account to the Gold account as the cost of the erection of the security wall round the Twin Town Centre had been understated, resulting in funds from the Gold account being used rather than the Cash account.

The income and expenditure figures having been independently examined in line with Charity Commission rules and accepted by the Trustees are presented for your information.

Ray Keene

Hon.Treasurer, Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

 

 

Quiz Night Results

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Friday’s Quiz Night 2014 was our best yet. 30 teams – ranging from hardened quiz enthusiasts to kind-hearted but baffled-looking Link supporters – battled it out over 10 rounds, plus a fiendish picture round aimed at those who watch too much TV. Serious quizzers were hoping to unseat the reigning champions, the redoubtable Runners and Non-runners, and it looked as though these were going to lose the crown: but they just squeezed one point ahead of arch-rivals Grinling Gibbons and Searchers on the very last round.

Michael Foster auctioned several interesting lots in his inimitable style, raising £355; the raffle raised £292; and the special Kiley’s Karpets raffle another £160. Kiley’s team had a bet on with their mates from Easylet, with the loser putting another £100 into the Link’s funds… Easylet have sworn to get their revenge next year.  All in all, the evening raised over £1600. A HUGE thank-you to everyone who helped to make the evening such a success.  It helps us edge a bit nearer towards our goal of £15,000 just to get a secure wall built around the health centre.

Eyes down...

Eyes down…

Runners & Non-Runners win - just!

Runners & Non-Runners win – just!

Jeremy & Richard at work

Jeremy & Richard at work

Orange Quiz Sheet: the answers and the winners!

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

This year’s orange quiz sheet raised over £600. Thanks to everyone who sold them for us, and of course to everyone who bought one. We sold a dozen via the Internet, and received 7 sets of answers that way. The Quizmaster tells me that the winners are:

Hilary Coote (Hastings) and Pam Robbins (Battle) with perfect scores of 70, and runners up Derek Greenup (Pett) and Mrs A Buchan (Hastings). We’ll divvy up the prize-money between them.

Here are the answers, with explanations.

  1. I’ve heard Victoria’s lasted 64 years. (4)   rain  (reign!)
  2. How popular things go down:  a ….. (5)      storm
  3. Diamonds (3)     ice
  4. Greetings, bad weather! (4)    hail
  5. Confederate general met in the street. (5)      sleet  (Lee inside st for street)
  6. You find it in the mountains – no wonder! (5)  snow (hidden answer)
  7. Rent-a-party: it’s a blast! (7)       tornado (torn + a + do)
  8. May be first down in a bank. (9)    snowdrift (anag)
  9. Sounds like a quick thrashing. (9)        hurricane

10. I am nuts about such a freak phenomenon. (7)     tsunami (anag)

11. Presents party spectacle in front of the Queen. (6)  shower (show + ER – a shower is also a presents party)

12. A meteorologist’s gut feeling, perhaps (4)       wind

13. Sounds as if the quartet is fly-fishing. (8)         forecast (four + cast)

14. Such extreme weather might toss about Trans World Airlines. (8)     heatwave (TWA inside heave)

15. We might see Oxford University Press drown in such weather. (8)    downpour      (anag. O.U.P + drown)

16. This is how low Queen Mary sank (7)       draught (though we  thought some people’s  ‘settled’ was quite good)

17. Useful in the winter to OAPs, and in summer to hang-gliders. (8)   thermals

18.  A blow to Kathleen Ferrier (9)        southerly

19. Used by swimmers in qualifying races? Can be nasty (10)   heatstroke

20. Roosevelt (not Teddy) goes round toilet for a serious wetting (5)     flood (loo inside FD)

21. A quick snack for David Jason? Extremely  (9)       frostbite (David Jason starred in ‘A Touch of Frost’ on TV)

22. The darkness you’d find in Hades (5)  shade

23. 451, according to Bradbury (10)     Fahrenheit (Fahrenheit 451 – book title)

24. Haggle about our Mum’s effects, initially (9)   barometer (barter around O,M,E – initial letters)

25. The sort of weather to make elks cry (8, 3)   mackerel sky (anag.)

26. Depression as expressed by cows (3)    low

27. Freddie, say, expands in the heat (7)      mercury (Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen)

28. This may, in a way, conceal tiny rotary outflow of air (11)      anticyclone (anag.)

29. Harsh ground conditions may well stop farmer cultivating (10)      permafrost (anag.)

30. Yet this current goes nowhere near the Arabian coast (4,6)    Gulf Stream

31. The child from South America that causes big climatic changes (2,4)  El Nino (El Niño) or La Nina (La Niña)

32. O unmusical bum!  – without a strange cloud in the sky (12)     cumulonimbus (anag.)

33. A lost polar bear might be this (or a London policeman caught short) (3, 6)    met office (met off ice  /or/ met officer without final –r)

34. Sudden wind in August (and at other times of year) (4)         gust (hidden answer)

35. They say there’s a bit of an atmosphere in a town in Middlesex (4)    haze (Hayes)

36. A shout of “Butterfingers!”  (4)      mist  (missed!)

37. A hot wind that might cause harm at Tangiers (9)       harmattan (hidden answer)

38. A storm in a tea-cup, Norman? (7)        typhoon (typhoo +N for Norman)

39. Biblical 20, from French “toboggan”  (6)            deluge

40. Oddly, SoMe OrGy might take one’s breath away (4)       smog (oddly = odd letters)

41. A cause of widespread concern – malt ice, or male tic, for example (7, 6)  climate change

42. A green and peaceful warrior (7)       rainbow

43. Such precipitation is a pet subject of hydrologists (4,3,4)     cats and dogs

44. A noise that isn’t only heard on Thursdays (7)     thunder (Thursday = day of Thor, god of thunder)

45. It’s wet & windy when National Symphony Orchestra is trapped in satellite (7) monsoon    (N.S.O inside moon)

46. It started like the Zodiac and went like the wind (6)       zephyr  (Zephyr & Zodiac both models of Ford cars)

47. What Nigella does with a lemon when baking  (7)        drizzle

48.  Nasty weather that may start and finish like a squash ball (6)   squall

49. Why does a film director worry? – about actors. (8)                                    overcast

50. E.g. sailing, rowing, kayaking…but when R becomes U, head for dry land! (10)  waterspout  (watersport, change –r- for –u-)

51.  Medic should resolve this matter of dehydration (7)       drought (Dr. + ought)

52. Work at holiness – on your head be it! (10)          hailstones (anag.)

53.  Was this Bishop of Winchester the first Michael Fish? (2.7)       St.Swithun/Swithin

54.  This producer of honey may give you wind (4)     Gale (proprietary brand of honey)

55. With which Benjamin Franklin took a shocking risk (9)  lightning

56. Fräulein Schiffer sounds in a less sunny mood (8)  cloudier (= Claudia,   pronounced in the German way)

57. With Tammy and Jinty, this appealed to girls in the 1970s/80s (5)    Misty (comic for girls)

58.  It looks pretty, but might make you boo a surreal air   (6,8)       aurora borealis (anag.)

59. Mathematician from the sub-continent? You’re surprisingly warm (6,6)    Indian summer

60. Coco, Sir? It’s hot (7)     sirocco (anag.)

Can you find these names or expressions, which all contain (or seem to contain) a reference to the weather?

61. How some people like eggs. (5,4,2)       sunny side up

62. A story in which a rat and a mole figure prominently (3,4,2,3,7) The Wind in the Willows

63. Lawrence’s 1915 novel (3,7)     The Rainbow

64. How quickly butter melts in a storm (4, 7, 9)    like greased lightning

65. Something that’s hard to find or doesn’t exist (6,4) Scotch mist

66. Like Gene Kelly (or the two Ronnies) (7,2,3,4)            Singing in the Rain (sorry – it should have been Morecambe & Wise, but everyone spotted it)

67. Statement of a successful umbrella manufacturer  (5,5,3,1,6,6)            Every cloud has a silver lining

68. Put something off in America (4,1,4,5)        take a rain check

69. Have too much on (2,6,5)        be snowed under

70. Northern Irish potter (9,7)           Hurricane Higgins

Comic Relief disappointment

Friday, December 6th, 2013

I’m afraid that we’ve just been told that our bid for Comic Relief funding has been unsuccessful. It’s true, of course, that Comic Relief gets far more requests for funding than it can satisfy. Still, the focus of our application – providing medical supplies , improving water and sanitation and funding educational outreach work to help mothers cope with malaria, cholera, dysentery etc – was presumably just the sort of thing that Comic Relief wants to encourage in sub-Saharan Africa. We’ll ask for feedback, but doubt if we’ll get any.

So, if anyone knows of any other source of funding, large or small, that might be interested in the Link’s work, PLEASE let us know on secretary.hslfl@gmail.com. Actually, there is a way that all our supporters can help us. I’ve signed the Link up as a beneficiary of ‘Give as you Live’.  When I’m shopping on line, a lot of retailers including Amazon give a percentage of what I spend straight to the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link, and doesn’t cost me any more than I was going to spend anyway. You go to www.giveasyoulive.com, say that you want any money to go to the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link, and the retailer automatically sends the Link a percentage. Shopping through Give as you Live is no different to shopping online normally, it’s just as secure and  shopping doesn’t cost a penny more. In fact, the only difference is the difference it will make to our donation total.
Many thanks

Robin