My Experience in Kissi Town

My experience in Kissi Town was an emotional one.

We saw families living in squalor; 8 people crammed into, essentially, a 10ft by 8ft box made from corrugated iron.

We saw sewage openly running down the street and people picking through mountains of rubbish at the side of the road, looking for anything to salvage. We saw malnourished children in the hospital, suffering from malaria, struggling to breathe due to a lack of equipment.

We saw the Ebola Cemetery, lines upon lines of graves and heard the stories of the ill and dying.

But we also saw examples of resilience, gratitude and, above everything else, we saw hope.

The people I met in Sierra Leone were inspirational.

Living through a civil war, an Ebola outbreak and the constant poverty that comes from living in a third world country, makes a nation resilient – and you could see this resilience in the face of every person there.

The majority of people in the Kissi Town camp had lost a loved one due to war or illness, yet they still persevered with everyday life. People want to learn, they want to work and they want the best out of their life. It was humbling to see this and even better to tell them that their suffering had been noticed and that our school wanted to help.

Having strangers wave at you driving through the camp, running children coming over to hold your hand, receiving words of thanks from the camp elders – all this demonstrates the gratitude felt for the money raised and supplies donated by our community.

Every day one little girl, Serray, would bring a basket of fresh fruit to us, her family’s ‘gift’ for the volunteers, to say thank you for being there, for helping.

From a family who doesn’t have much, this one action illustrates the appreciation of the people of Kissi Town; their appreciation for the work of #Penrice3580.

Most prominently though, it was amazing to see the hope the people of Kissi Town held. The hope of clothes, medicine, educational supplies – all things the students of Penrice are providing through the money raised and the physical donations.

The hope was a beautiful thing to see.

I have struggled to fully describe the honour I felt during my time in Sierra Leone, seeing first-hand the difference that students at Penrice Academy have made through their fundraising for #Penrice3580.

However, from someone who was there, someone who bought paint to decorate the school and rice to distribute from the money raised, someone who spoke with the camp elders and teachers, someone who played and listened to the children.. I want to say thank you to the students of Penrice.

Thank you for letting me be part of an amazing experience; I could not be more proud of our school.

Miss Cox

Read more about Penrice in Kissi Town