Sixth Formers returned from their 10-day trip to poverty-stricken Sierra Leone as changed men. The boys went to the war torn West African state to discover what life is really like for a people still emerging from a gruesome bloodbath. Their photographs reveal a triumph of the human spirit under appalling conditions.
Matthew McAuliffe summed up the young men’s sentiments: “Seeing the children’s smiles amidst such sheer desolation was a life changing experience.”
The party first flew into the capital Freetown to visit the bayside slums, a sprawling shantytown built on the city’s rubbish dumps, extending further into the sea as new land is created from piles of rotting landfill.
Patrick Fitzgibbon said: “It was an eye-opening experience. It’s completely different to anything you will ever see in the Western World. The slums were cramped, squalid, smelly, unsanitary and obviously a danger to the thousands and thousands of inhabitants.”
The boys, who each raised £1500 for the challenge, and took with them 20 containers of clothes, educational equipment and toys, then went to teach in the country’s second city of Bo, set in the heart of the interior.
Michael Barry said: “The welcome we received from all the children was simply fantastic. They were so happy to see us and it was such a privilege to work with them.” Matthew Bibi added: “It helped us learn a lot more about the developing world and about ourselves, but I must say you don’t change Africa, Africa changes you.”
College has already raised £20,000 in the last two years for Sierra Leone and in line with sister CB schools in the U.K. is actively supporting the Sierra Leone Christian Brothers missions.
In some cases silence is dangerous.