Life in Kambia

Kambia District here in Sierra Leone is beyond poor. No electricity or running water. Highest teenage pregnancy rate in the country. The illiteracy rate ranges between 70-90%. Many children and adults struggle to find one meal in the day, many of them going 2-3 days without anything substantial to eat. Today was visiting Bginleh-Dixon Chiefdom to update them on the Child Rights Act. Minutes before departing this morning, Arun informed us that one of our neighbor’s youngest daughter had died. He said it was convulsions that did it. Later Alhasan said it was poisoned blood. His sister, Emma, heard it was from a headache. When hospital visits are never – ever – an option, specifics dissolve. I peered around a palm tree and down at the neighbor’s house; a group of adults and children had assembled in front to mourn the child’s passing.
Yesterday morning was a different day: the mother of the girl had clapped her hands when Ashley jumped over the hurdle the children had fashioned out of sticks. Then one after another, children jumping, glee caught on tape. And just last Thursday, Ashley had played with the girl’s hair in the temporary twilight.


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