(The Sierra Leone Civil War began on 23 March 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), intervened in Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the Momoh government, sparking a gruesome 11-year civil war that enveloped the country and left over 50,000 dead.)
The people who are still there live in extreme poverty with no running water or bathrooms. Many of the key buildings - like the school and community center - remain damaged. Homes provide shelter from the sun, but are sparse and challenging in terms of comfort and security.
We became aware of this village because one of the people who grew up there married a family friend. Instead of asking for wedding gifts, they asked for gifts to the village where the husband grew up and where they regularly send containers of clothing and other necessities.
The girls went through their clothes after watching the video, and they selected some items that they thought would be most appropriate for the hot climate there.
Grouping clothes by type (e.g., shirts, dresses, shorts).
They sent t-shirts, shorts, dresses, and some very light sweaters (just in case it got a bit chilly ever or someone wasn't feeling well and they needed to stay a little warmer).
Skirts - 4
Shirts - 16
Socks - 1 pair
Shorts - 2
Shorts - 2
Dresses - 3
Sweaters - 2
Folding the clothes and putting them in a box to ship.
For the clothes that they wanted to donate, but were too warm for the African climate, we set aside and then donated them to Goodwill.
Goodwill has 165 independent, community-based organizations in the United States and Canada that offer customized job training, employment placement, and other services to people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges.
After watching the video, Sophia wanted to know if it was possible to go over and help. Traveling overseas to volunteer would be more appropriate when the girls are older, and that would be something that would be wonderful to do.
There have been several times during the past few months that she has asked if she could travel somewhere and help. She first expressed interest in helping the Blackfeet people of Montana after reading about them in one of her books through the Sonlight curriculum this year that focused quite a bit on Native Americans. We found an organization, Global Volunteers, that hosts volunteer trips to Montana to help the Blackfeet people; and would like to go there at some point.
So, after 21 weeks of doing the 52 Weeks of Giving project, the girls are actively seeking out and thinking of ways that they can help.