Monday, May 28, 2007

kampioen, kampioen, ole, ole, ole

so the AD Stars have one their own tournament! After much argument and discussion the teams came to a consensus on who should go to the final game. It was played yesterday. 2-1 for NTC going into the second half, but the AD stars stormed back with a goalmouth header and a lob from a goal kick to win the game 3-2. The game was called after a bit of a brawl broke out between our fans and one of the NTC players, angry for being down by one goal. I kept myself clear of most discussions and all fights, not wanting to go home with yet another scar from a fight this time.
I am in freetown, possibly for my last trip to gather materials before I leave. I am doing my best to see that things are left in capable hands and enough things are completed that there are no major design decisions yet to be made concerning the building.

Friday, May 25, 2007

In case you didn't already know how small a world it was!

This week there was another canadian visitor to Kabala doing an audit of CES for CRWRC. I had never met him before but the first thing he said to me was "I used to work for your grandfather, my first job!" So Les Visser grew up and still resides in Lethbridge, Alberta where my dad grew up. Johanna Kuyvenhoven, another integral person in making this school project happen also grew up in Lethbridge; her father was the minister of the CRC church in Lethbridge. It is strange to discover these family ties here in Kabala, all the way back to Emmanuel Christian School in Lethbridge, a school my Opa deGroot helped to start.
Les has been fortunate then to see the school see some key changes in the last two days with roofing starting on two of the classrooms. It the timber is there (which it is now but not enough for all) then by next week the Zinc pans will be going up. Today this proved extremely important for two reasons. This morning we had an absolute downpour at around 7 am. Then because the rain had cleared up the air so much the sun was absolutely scorching! So we need those wide verandas covered so that we can sit there in the shade and out of the rain.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Playing by the rules

So my self titled football club has advanced to the finals of their invitational tournament! There is just one hitch. None of the teams quite paid attention to the rules that were set out before the games that there were no ties and so points did not matter, neither did goals. After the first round, winners advance losers are out. no questions. Sometimes that even means that the best two teams may not always make it to the final. So because they didn't follow these rules there was a tie, and as often happens the team that beat the AD Stars at first lost in the second game and so are very angry that they are out, despite having less the same amount of points and less goals. So who knows now when the final will be and how many more games these guys want to decide who wins. It could go on forever because how often are teams actually satisfied with the result if they lose? This afternoon we will decide what should happen. Nevertheless a good experience for these guys organizing it to know what it takes to make things run smoothly.
As I speak the final slab is getting poured finally connecting all the buildings together. Timber has arrived, is currently being coated in creosote to preserve it from Termites and will start going up on the corner building tomorrow. Nasty chemicals, but very necessary. It is a busy time now with each crew working on different jobs and us needing to provide a wide range of materials to keep them all supplied and happy.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fierce Creatures

almost every other day I am greeted in the morning by the night guards telling me "look snake!" This one is a viper.
Then there was the bat in the house (among many animals residing inside). Very helpful but very evil looking creatures.
And there are beautiful flowers coming out and I can hardly believe that the school site is slowly turning green as the grass begins to creep up. I would never have thought it would come out of such hard dry ground.
Rains coming! a little harder every time but now I know we will not be hurt too much by them.
small small the building is coming along. Each day new achievements and progress. All "By God Een Powa"

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Waiting for the pictures to load...

Fortunately for us we have had a little bit of a break from rain. Apparently the rains come for a few days consecutively and then will leave off for several weeks before they start again in earnest. So I guess that time is coming to an end soon. But once the blocks, even mud blocks are set in mortar there is not much threat to the building. Only a small threat to the extra blocks we will store on the site for future buildings. While Mozel is gone for a few days, I am excerting some authority to get some jobs done that have been nagging us for weeks sitting unfinished: slabs, drainage, stairs... By monday three of five crews will be ready to build their roofs which means I have more materials to get in Freetown so we have something to put on it once it is finished. We are planning on going with very durable corrugated roofing sheets. It will be a brilliant red!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sponsor a child

Sponsor a Child for the new Christian Primary School in Kabala, Sierra Leone

How much does it cost to sponsor a child?For just $200 you can enroll a child in the new Christian Primary School in Kabala, Sierra Leone and pay the cost of his or her education. It will cost $25,000 to operate the school for a year. This includes all material costs and pays the salaries of a principal, four teachers, two security staff, two maintenance workers, two cooks and a school secretary/receptionist. We anticipate 140 students in this new school for September.

Will the families have to pay tuition?Yes families will pay tuition fees. However, because the standard of living is so low, even a very low tuition fee is a big challenge for families. Students will be required to come to school in uniform; also a significant cost.

What kind of education will be provided?The school offers grade 1-4 education to start. They will have certified Christian teachers who will be teaching the Sierra Leone government core curriculum and like our Canadian Christian Schools will integrate Biblical worldview and values into all they do. The biggest advantage to these children will be the low teacher/student ratio of no more than 35:1. By African standards this is simply amazing and will make all the difference in the child’s education.

Who will I be sponsoring?The children who will be attending the school will be from Kabala and its surrounding area. Some of the children will be from Christian families, but many others will attend for whom the gospel will be a new and life-changing experience.

How can I pay for this sponsorship?
In order to keep our administrative task simple, we prefer one cheque for the entire amount. If this is not possible please contact us to discuss other options. You will receive a tax deductible receipt early in the new year for the entire amount.

Will I know who I am sponsoring?
We hope to send a small team to Sierra Leone next fall. One of their main tasks will be interviewing and photographing students, preparing a profile for each that can be shared with you, the sponsor.

We are inviting you to join us in this revolution of hope for the children of Sierra Leone. To see how the project is coming along visit

Global Partners in Education is a joint effort of our K-12 system, supporting educational efforts in the developing world. If you are interested in learning more visit

Fraser Valley Christian High School - “Becoming by grace what Christ is by nature.”
15353-92nd Ave
Surrey, B.C.
V3R 1C3
(T) 604 581-1033 (F) 604-581-1712 (E) (W)

Please complete this form, detach and return to Fraser Valley Christian High School with your donation.
Cheques can be made payable to “FVCHS—School Sponsorship”

Name: _________________________________________________ Phone: _______________________________

Full Address: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Email address: _____________________________________

Enclosed is my cheque/cash for $ _______________ to sponsor __________ child(ren).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Photos

so this blog doesn't always work with the pictures, but here are the ones from yesterday.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The AD Stars

(photos to come... still not working)
so unbeknownced to me, a football club was started by some kids who I have played ball with a bunch of times at the "cow yard" field here in Kabala. Also without my knowledge they named the team the AD Stars: A for Asher, D for deGroot. Anyhow. So I am now sponsoring an invitational tournament (of the same name) this coming weekend. Hopefully I will have time to play a game or two with the guys. I can hold my own, especially considering they are all about 5-6 years younger than me. I'm looking for my second goal in a game on african soil. Not bad for having played about 4 games. In talks with the headmaster of the new school, JT Koroma, we have decided it would be a good idea for this team to be a connected to the school in some way. So their jersey's which I purchased belong to the school, but the primary school will always have this team as their sponsor team in the leagues in Kabala. More free labour for the school for when we want to clear our own field, as well as other jobs around the campus.
I cannot over emphasize how exciting it is to see the building really come together in the last weeks. With the ramp up to resource room all the building will be accessible. While I fight off comments that this really should be a university, I am comforted by the thought that we are reallly making this primary school a one of a kind place for children to get a superior education and experience.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I don't have much to say today but that things continue, much as they have the past month. But I am continually surprised by the messages I get of people that I don't know who regularly check the blog to find out about the progress. Thank you so much for your interest in the school and for sharing that interest with friends, family, colleagues. I guess it keeps me responsible to everyone supporting the project as well. That was not my original intention with starting the blog but it is a good one.
One small story that made me laugh the last two days and somewhat affirmed my work here. Abdul, one of the workers on site is rediculously funny (Gino and hans can testify to this). After we were working on the stairs at the front of the admin building and I was measuring out and explaining why we were doing it and how we would do it and he says to me, "You na white man, but you get sense!"

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

the little things

I have been slowly working my way around the site trying to complete or inspire completion by starting work in different areas. By tomorrow the main stairs to the administrative area will be completed. Three fine staircases. One left to do still at the centre of the classroom block. Inspite of being ancy to get some of the roof framing started I am happy with how things are coming along. Everyday new people come by to the see the school, saying "tenki fo dee wok." They all think it should be a secondary school, because I guess the standard is that primary schools don't get funding, materials or much effort put into their buildings. So it is good to know we are starting in the right place, and this gives a great opportunity for improvement. (pictures aren't working right now so wait a day or two)

Monday, May 7, 2007

The show must go on... fast

alright, so Mozel Pratt, the contractor and myself are more than a little worried. The rains have begun to come a little more regularly. half hour here and there. Today we are transporting all the block to the site so we can pack it together and put tarps over it to protect it for further construction in the next months and also in the next few years. John has begun his gables in the resource room. This building will also get the most complex roof inspite of its small size. The columns are more than half finished and the ringbeam on the rest of the buildings have begun. A devoted team of women continue to break stones for us for concreting. Almost all the slabs are complete, which will be followed by the stairs. These things continue as the timber is shared around for the other pouring of concrete that needs doing. The five crews on the site are rather selfish when it comes to material, so it is up to me to ensure that the boards etc are shared around and work continues everywhere simultaneously. "By God een power" there will be roofing material arriving later this week.
"Sa Jay" (Gino) and Lansana (Hans) will be missed by the guys on site (myself included). But I promise that "A dae beat all pekin" who call me lansana or gino from now until I leave. I never cease to get inquiries about whether they are back in canada yet and when they will return. At the bottom here is another resident of the site (a rather tiny one, but nonetheless lethal than the large scorpions) found hiding in the rocks that we were moving to conrete the remaining floor slabs for the verandas.

Friday, May 4, 2007

adios hermanos

Time goes too fast. Hans and Gino are leaving today. We will make our farewells at the site and at home this morning before we leave for Lungi (airport). Only pictures from my camera from now on, so you won't be seeing much of me. Travelling mercies to them as they go to Europe before going home to Canada. I will miss them but am looking forward to some time alone as well.