Although we still have a long way to go before seeing the end of maternal and infant mortality in the country, the work we are doing within Freedom Tree is making a massive impact thanks to you! I had the opportunity to visit the very first clinic Freedom Tree built 8 years ago, to see the community and how the clinic is faring 8 years on. When I walked into the clinic I was pleasantly surprised to see a newborn baby boy just a couple of hours old. And as I chatted with the mum and family to see how they were doing, there was another baby girl (named Hawa) born in the next room! I've been to this clinic many times but never had the opportunity to witness a birth there, as births can never be planned or predicted so it was such a joyous surprise to witness 2 within the space of 2 hours. 12 babies on average are born in this clinic each month so in 8 years there have been approximately 1152 babies born here and NOT a SINGLE CASE OF MATERNAL OR INFANT DEATH!
One of the magnificent things about visiting Sierra Leone is the wonderful hospitality. It is legendary. Guests are served mammoth meal portions, far more than you can eat. The frugal westerner in me is always concerned about 'waste' and trying to get my hosts to cook less. I noticed Felix, a little boy of about 10 years was always hanging around especially around meal times. He would do odd jobs in hopes of getting food to eat. After making enquiries on his situation I discovered his mum was no longer alive and his father was a single dad who worked long hours daily to make ends meet. Money was tight and Felix was surviving on leftovers. It struck me that for the brief period I was there focused on other things my presence also had an unintended impact of feeding a young boy without my trying. At the end of my time there Felix's dad came to seek me out and thank me with tears in his eyes for giving his son my leftovers. I was flabbergasted and felt somewhat embarrassed. I felt I had not done anything impactful.
Sometimes the seemingly small things we do have such a big impact for those receiving. Thats why I am always thankful for you for all you do for us at Freedom Tree. And we are counting on your support more than ever, especially with Giving Tuesday is just around the corner and our end-of-year giving campaign 'Joy in December'! We are trying to raise funds for our 2023 year to:
- Build another Clinic
- Build a school to provide primary school education
- Continue our tradeschool program
- Continue our GAM girls program
- Expand our prenatal curriculum
To learn more about our clinics or to learn how to get involved, please visit: www.freedomtree.ca/get-involved/donate