We had our quarterly project steering meeting on saturday in Makeni. It is a really useful meeting to make sure that the 'kombra en pikin welbodi project' (mother and child health project) is on track, staff from Health Unlimited, the District Health Management Team, Kamakwie Hospital and members of the communities which the project is running in all come along.
Once our meeting ended around 3, I headed over to Magbenteh Community Hospital. It was lovely to see all the hospital staff that I worked with when I volunteered with VSO in 2008, as this was my first time back in Makeni since I left a year ago.
The house was a hive of activity when I arrived with around 30 people involved in cooking food for the 250 people coming to Suzie and Bernhard's wedding celebration. Suzie volunteers at the government hospital (she is also a VSO) and Bernhard works at Magbenteh, they met in 2008 having both left Europe to come and volunteer in Sierra Leone, and got married in the UK in December. The preparations had been underway for two days with two cows being bought and killed and huge pots of rice, potato salad and couscous being prepared on fires outside the house.
The party was great fun, incredibly hot and sweaty, very loud music and lots of cold beer. Everyone had made an incredible effort for the party. All the technical staff from Magbenteh wore teeshirts printed with a picture of Suzie and Bernhard on their wedding day in England. Staff from the government hospital all had different clothes made in the same fabric and all the staff from Magbenteh had done the same with a different fabric so it looked amazing to see so many people with different styles of clothes in two distinct patterns.
This week I have organised teaching sessions with the midwifery school in Makneni and I will start on monday for three days before heading off to Kamakwie to spend 8 days in the hospital identifying areas for training and support. I am looking forward to this as I haven't been at a birth since the end of november and am missing midwifery life!
I took part in a really interesting workshop yesterday. MRC which is a local NGO which has created a database of all the NGO's working in maternal and newborn health in Sierra Leone and their activities. Quite a few of the NGO's including Health Unlimited were asked to come and identify activities which should be researched in order to choose really effective ones for scaling up across Sierra Leone to reduce maternal and infant mortality.
Next week news from the midwifery school, I am also trying to put together a video of my first weeks here. I am not technically brilliant at this so it may take a while!