Friday, 20 November 2009

November 09 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Well this month has proven to be the busiest yet with administration, I'm so thankful that Abu and Sarah have been able to continue on with the home visits and patient care.

That's right, ~Enable the Children~ is now under the Ministry of Social Welfare of the Government of Sierra Leone. And not only that but we have a Constitution, tax clearance, pay national insurance for our staff, Contracts, Terms and Conditions, Child Protection Policies, leave and benefits, job descriptions..... am I boring you yet!! This last month (and a bit – sorry for the late newsletter!) has been chokka full of writing documents and meeting officials. A huge learning curve for me, some paths being easier than others, but finally God has made a way. It feels a little daunting now too though as commitments are very official. However, another means of support has come out of this in the form of an Executive Board – made up of seven wonderful Godly people here in Sierra Leone – from friends, colleagues from other orgs, a Pastor, a disabled young lady who I've known and supported for years, and a patients mother. The Board will be a source of wisdom and encouragement and I'm thankful to have them aboard (pun intended)!

The other great news is that we have employed another Rehab Assistant, her name is Josephine and she's already been a blessing to us. She was the best interviewee by far and has proven to be reliable, keen to learn and good with our children already. One funny moment in the interviews was when putting a shape sorter on the floor to see how they would use it to play with a child, one lady shook it like a rattle, another broke it to get the lid off, and Josephine was the only one who did something sensible – lining the pieces up colour matching them. No one knew how to post the pieces through, I guess we take toys and how to play with them for granted. Still Josephine is under intensive training for now, but is also getting good exposure in the communities. Come December she and Abu will go out alone to continue treating our families.

There is so much to say this month so I'm going to give you some other news in snippets and hope you follow along....

Bertie the landrover has had major heart surgery!! He underwent a total engine transplant as well as much other major rehabilitation - steering box, horn (essential here!), No 1 ball joint, shock absorbers, arm bushes oh and a new wing mirror that had been smashed over 2 years ago now! Despite struggling for 2 weeks without a car, we give thanks for our British Army friend who has been so kind in helping us do all this. He's been a star!

Huw Briscoe of UNFOLD studio ( has done a wonderful job of designing our new logo. There has been much discussion with the Exec Board and ETC's team about designs and colours but finally (see top) isn't it great?

Sarah has become more established in working in the communities with Abu and Josephine. She doing a great job of practical training as they spend time together with our children. Driving Bertie has also been a steep learning curve (before Bertie got sick that was!). Finding her way through the back streets of Freetown may take a while longer!

Amara, well, you'll remember from last month that we took him out to an NGO hospital in Makeni hoping for surgery to help straighten his legs. He never had the surgery as it was too complicated, but the hospital were able to help with my suggestion of serial casting to straighten his knees, which I could not do in the community due to the risks involved in leaving him unattended with untrained medical people. Still, he has done so well... standing in his POP casts, then eventually with us working at home again..... WALKING with the help of just 1 crutch!! I am amazed at his progress and his uncle and Grani are all happy to be reunited back in Freetown again. Praise God for this outcome – I really did not think I'd see him walking again, and after 2 + years, here we are. It's been a miraculous journey for him, and all the way through we have been giving Jesus the glory. This Muslim family have seen and experienced much, lets keep praying for them.

The boy who had been beaten badly by his father is doing well. Abu and the team have been visiting regularly and gradually he is learning to trust us. They have helped with teaching the grandfather how to dress some wounds have not been healing, and today they even got smiles out of him as they left him playing with a simple rubber ball – it doesn't take much to please some people.

Two of our children from our community visits have been accepted into the SOS Home for the Physically Challenged, and another 2 girls awaiting. This is a great opportunity for them to get a good education and learn that that can (and in fact have to) participate in normal community life. It builds them into great people of confidence despite their disability.

An update from Abu....
Jamestina's story – it's wonderful news for ~Enable the Children~ and for you our supporters, Jamestina is walking on her own now. We were referred her from the Mercy Ships clinic back in March 2008. She was born with many problems – she had clubfeet and bony problems with her knees, her left hand was dysfunctional, and she was delayed with her development. When we first saw her she was 1 year 3 months old, she could sit alone, but she could not crawl or walk. However with on-going home based care we were able to teach her very dedicated mother the special therapy skills to help her improve. Soon she was crawling in her own style and walking with a frame and special shoes. We were also able to get her some surgery for her feet earlier this year which has meant she can now get them in a better position to stand on. The National Rehab Centre have helped too in making some splints that will keep the position. But the greatest news is that in the last few months she has started walking for herself unaided. A little wobbly on her balance she still has far to go as she lives literally on the side of a steep mountain, but Praise God, she's done so well.

And now for a little news of my own.....
Some of you will already know that my time in Sierra Leone is coming to an end for now. I made the decision earlier in the year to be moving my life back to the UK and now is the time. I have just 3 weeks left here and if I'm honest feel a little frantic about all there still is to be done. I'm so happy that ~Enable the Children~ has come so far in the last few months in establishing itself. I feel the work that has been started here is now protected, and has a great platform to move on from. It has been so hard to get everything done properly, but God has given me the grace to do what I have, and there have been so many helping hands and words of advice along the way. Only our faithful Lord could plan things they way they have worked out. My established team of dedicated workers will continue on in SL, while I will support more from the sideline in the UK. There will be different and new tasks for me there – registering in the UK under an umbrella organisation (Links International), gathering an Advisory Board to support the Exec Board out in SL, publicity and fund raising, clinical support via Skype for those on the field and training other UK therapists to get out to developing countries. As well as all that, I'll go trying to resettle into UK life and culture, which will be hard after nearly 3 years in Sierra Leone. These next few months will be a roller-coaster, but I appreciate you all as my friends and family to help me along gently!!

So please do pray for us: give thanks for the progress of ~Enable the Children~, pray for continued healing and progress with our children, pray for Abu, Sarah, Josephine and Abdul, pray for our stress causing car!!, pray for me as I prepare to Re-Enter another world! God is good, all the time!

That's all for now... THANKS again. I'll be in touch again once I get back to a Christmassy England.

With love from Vez

Mark 5:41
Holding her hand, he (Jesus) said to her,
“Talitha koum” which means “Little girl, get up!”