Bo Update from Bruce Holben

Bo Update

Many of you support St Paul’s secondary school in Bo, Sierra Leone. Thank you so much; we are all very grateful, especially right now when it is so difficult to put on fund-raising events. But this is not an appeal as such, just a way of keeping you up to date with what is going on in Bo.

They too are suffering the effects of Covid out there, but not anything like as seriously as we are. They went into lockdown and restricted access to the country very early on; they had to as the price of PPE, testing and in particular vaccines was way out of their reach. It worked, and to date they have only recorded 79 deaths, although the true figure is probably much higher, and none in Bo.

We have helped them through the worst of the lockdown with the ‘Price is Rice Appeal’ in the summer and in supporting the school, as far as our finances have allowed. The school lunches we provide for the 250 sponsored children have been a lifeline for many, far more than we intended, but we are grateful that they share as much as possible.

Richard Holben raised $6,000, mostly through his company, for his ‘Bikes for Bo’ project which aims to help those who live some distance from the school to save hours each day walking to and fro. There is a worldwide shortage of bikes because of Covid, and new bikes are unobtainable in Bo, but so far 27 second hand bikes have been purchased (see picture) and more are on the way.

there were 13 bikes in the first batch

We questioned the fact that the first two groups to get the bikes were all boys, but were told that only a few girls had applied and none of them could ride a bike. However they have promised that the next batch will be for girls and they will teach them to ride! Progress!

We have been fitting out the specialised classrooms for the senior secondary school. The Library and Domestic Science lab have been done, and the Science lab is a work in progress (see below). The cupboards are finished and the benches will be started this week. Equipping it is a problem however as it takes 8 weeks to freight from the UK now and in Bo the teachers cannot get to Freetown because of lockdown, and that is the only place they might obtain some of their needs as there is no delivery system.
We will get there never fear. Nothing in life is easy!

the science lab takes shape

We look forward to meeting you all again in the summer at our next fundraiser which will be a Pimms and Paella afternoon overlooking the harbour, in glorious sunshine of course! Meanwhile thank you so much for your continued support. It means so much out there on many different levels and is making a real difference.

Education – a gift for life