Friday found us visiting some of the Caritas Makeni projects. Here the group are visiting the University of Makeni. We visited one site in the city of Makeni and then further out we visited the Law/IT faculty. We walked to the student accommodation and on the way found their ‘debating” space – a traditional building that you see in every community. The picture shows L-R, Joe, Osman (university bursar), Pete, Iona, Marvel (our accompanier from Caritas Makeni) and myself. Carmel was taking the photo.
University of Makeni is one of only three universities in Sierra Leone and is financed by Catholic organisations and individuals. The university is currently building an auditorium, the third largest room in Sierra Leone – it would have been the second largest (after Parliament) but was beaten by the departure lounge at Lungi Airport!
We met one of the administrators, Victor, who would like to be able to travel to get an MA but knows this may not be possible. He wants to go into public administration, and to help change some of the current practices that prevent Sierra Leone from developing as it could. In his words he will be “laying the table” for the next generation so they can have a better life. He wants to work for the common good.
We attended Mass at the Cathedral in Makeni this morning (Sunday) and were pleased to re-meet Louis, who we first met at the university. Louis is studying IT and is in his second year. I may not be spelling this correctly, but the word we are hearing is “senil” which means “welcome”. We have certainly been welcomed into the community in Makeni.