Board Members of The Netherlands Mabel's Cottage visit to Freetown
From 10 to 17 January 2015, the Board members of Mabel's Cottage (of course at your own account) visited Mabel's Cottage in Freetown. A great experience.
The objective was to see how life in Sierra Leone and in particular in Freetown is going on, and to get a small impression and how things are organised in Mabel's Cottage itself. It was very special to meet the young mothers with their children and to meet the new pregnant girls. Conversely the staff, aunt Rosie (the obstetrician and administrator of Mabel's Cottage) and all the helpers were also very happy to meet us and we were warmly welcomed.
Currently there are 7 young women in Mabel's Cottage, plus 3 children. We noticed that there is a pleasant atmosphere in Mabel's Cottage. The young women go very friendly with each other, have fun together, and help each other. They cook together. They take care of each other's hair. Do the laundry. Take care of the little ones. Keep the environment clean. They learn a lot from aunt Rosie.
Mayango (16 months), Clarence (13 months) and Mabel (12 months) are healthy and smart. All 3 can walk. They clapping their little hands, put hands in the air, play with the toys. They respond well to each other and to the people around them, they are trying to communicate. With strange people they wait and see which way the cat jumps, but after some time also gently contact. Mayango and Mabel had to get accustomed to those white women, found it to be really scary, but Clarence laughed and played with everyone. We have had a lot of worries for Clarence, he was still very weak after about 7 months, but with additional calcium there was nothing to worry about anymore. Mabel had physical therapy for her hands, which she moved somewhat strange and this is all right now too.
The 4 new girls are well integrated and feel at home in M.C. Two more new young women will come in December, but those are sick and will be taken care of elsewhere where they can get proper medical treatment. When they are better and without medicine, they can come back to M.C. For the time being there will not be more than 10 girls can be simultaneously housed in Mabel 's Cottage. The new girls will all get education, both general subjects, arithmetic, and languages, and vocational training: Making make-up / hair, or clothing. Also computer lessons will be taught.
The mothers of Mayango, Clarence and Mabel have completed their school education. We have seen their reports and they have performed very well. They all had a general education and vocational training a makeup and hair care training. The three girls have to leave M.C in May after two years of residence and that will not be easy, not for young women, but not for all the people who provide their voluntary contribution daily in M.C. In the preparations for the departure, finding work and a new home they will be assisted by the board in S.L.
In Freetown all week we accompanied the Board of M.C. in S.L., who are busy every day for M.C. By our mutual personal introduction, we all have built up the confidence that they are capable and committed enough to manage MC in a sustainable way.
We spent every day to Mabel 's Cottage. We talked with the residents, played with the children and especially were amazed by the way they solve the problems they encounter. We had dinner once with the women, all the African way. One big delicious rice with some sauce of cassava leaves for the Dutch without peppers. Conversely, the girls have also visited our apartment and there they had pancakes, truly a getaway for them.
On the first day in Freetown already the press was interested. A whole day a camera woman and a presenter made recordings and conducted interviews in Mabel's Cottage.
In the evening we were on the news and when the next day we visited a market in a very different part of Freetown, we were recognized and called upon: There are the women of Mabel's Cottage.
It's all been an unforgettable experience for us and we are proud that our project is running so well! Also, we improved our view on the possibilities in Sierra Leone itself to continue to support the project.
The second hand shop in Mabel's Cottage could go well with the assistance of the Board in SL.
The internet café, which could be used both for computer classes and internet or photocopying activities can take off if there is enough equipment available.
Clothing (and possibly ornaments) could be produced and sold if there are enough sewing machines.
Now we are still looking for a mechanical sewing machine (because often there is no electricity, no useful new machines).
Consequently, we are still looking for a stair sewing machine (because there is often no electricity, new machines are not convenient).
And for the Internet Cafe we need desktops (intelcore i3), a printer, a projector and a photocopier.
In addition, the Board has an urgent need for expansion.
If you know someone who could help us, please let us know.
We continue our work for Mabel's Cottage and collect resources to be able to continue the work in Freetown and we are very happy with any help (both money and goods, but also personal support) that we receive from you.
The board of MC Nederland