Sunday, March 8, 2009

Albarka! Merci beaucoup!

Hello everyone,

As they say in Guinea to express deep gratitude: Albarka! Yo Alla okkuon cellal, et kaliisi, et barke buy. Thank you-- may God grant you health, money, and many blessings.

Last Sunday I received a text message that my Peace Corps Partnership Project had been funded in its entirety. This is a direct answer to prayer-- thank you so much! The people of Boulliwel greatly appreciate your kindness, especially considering the tough times many are facing back in the States. I've met this week with the oversight committee to talk about the details of the work that needs to be done: truckloads of gravel and sand must be ordered, bags of cement purchased and safely stored near the worksight, lumber 'n' nails 'n' paint bought and put to good use. We've established an ambitious work schedule and hope to finish within seven weeks time, before the rains begin and slow things down.

Thanks to you, the local Boulliwel NGO will now have the opportunity to establish a central headquarters in the heart of the village, just 100 yards from the National Road the runs from Mamou to Labe. Once completed, this building will be the home to APIB, the do-it-all NGO that organizes women's collectives, builds health posts and schools, and hosts trainings by organizations like UNICEF, PLAN-Guinee, and World Education. The community has been informed and the details of the work have been hashed out in order to ensure the proper management of the funds. I will keep you all updated as the work progresses. We hope to have our opening ceremony in the beginning of May.

In the meantime, thank you so much again for your generosity. It is my prayer that this project will truly be an expression of compassion from the people and communities that I'm involved with in the US to the village where I serve in Guinea, Boulliwel.

The work is scheduled to start this week. In the meantime, I have just gotten into Conakry to prepare for the arrival of.... Big papa Haile! That's right folks, John Haile, prep school teacher and one-time bearer of the name Norton will descend on Guinea tomorrow night at 9:10 pm (right mom?). Of all the places Dad has chosen to spend 10 days of his vacation, he picked Guinea! What a guy. I am now anxiously finding him clean sheets in the Peace Corps house and a pocket French dictionary. Whether he is fazed by sharing the back seat of a bush taxi with a goat remains to be seen.

More creative emails to come! Thanks again for your help with the project.

Yours from dusty Conakry,

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