Path Home Shows 2011 Show Archive October 2011 Show 1140 OSU Team Project in Sierra Leone

OSU Team Project in Sierra Leone

Improving the life of Sierra Leone children is only complicated by the years of conflict that destroyed this nation. Years of mistrust between factions often makes progress very slow as a group of OSU students learned when they arrived to set up a farm to help feed orphans.
OSU Team Project in Sierra Leone

OSU Project

Show Dates

Show 1140: OSU Team Project in Sierra Leone

Air date: October 2, 2011

 

Transcript

ROB MCCLENDON:  WELL IMPROVING THE LIFE OF THESE CHILDREN IS ONLY COMPLICATED BY THE YEARS OF CONFLICT THAT DESTROYED THIS NATION.  YEARS OF MISTRUST BETWEEN FACTIONS OFTEN MAKES PROGRESS VERY SLOW, AS A GROUP OF OSU STUDENTS LEARNED WHEN THEY ARRIVED TO SET UP A FARM TO HELP FEED THE ORPHANS.

ROB:  GETTING WATER ISN’T AN EASY TASK FOR LITTLE JOHN.  ALMOST 10 YEARS OLD AND JUST OVER THREE FEET TALL, YEARS OF MALNUTRITION HAVE STUNTED HIS GROWTH.  ABANDONED BY HIS PARENTS, LITTLE JOHN NOW LIVES ON AN OVERGROWN COMPOUND, THAT ONCE SERVED AMPUTEE VICTIMS FROM THE WAR.  BUT IF A GROUP FROM OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY IS SUCCESSFUL, IT MAY SOON HELP FEED THE NEEDY.

GET A 5 GALLON BUCKET AND YOU CAN RUN FOUR TO SIX DRIP LINES OFF OF IT.

ROB:  STUDENTS FROM THE UNIVERSITY CAME HERE TO GET HANDS-ON INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT EXPERIENCE.  ASSESSING THE NEEDS AND TRYING TO MEET THEM ON THE SMALLEST OF BUDGETS.

JESSE LAY:  AS FAR AS THE PVC PIPE GOES, WE NEED SOME HALF-INCH PIPE, ONE AND A HALF-INCH PIPE, AND FOR THE HAND PUMP WE’RE THINKING WE NEED TO GET A TWO INCH HOSE, BECAUSE IT’S LEAKING OUT THERE.

ROB:  WHICH MEANS A TRIP INTO THE CAPITOL OF FREETOWN FOR SUPPLIES.

ROB:  NOW WORDS DON’T ACCURATELY DESCRIBE THE INFRASTRUCTURE CHALLENGES YOU CAN FIND HERE.  WE WERE ON A ROUTINE MARKET TRIP AND TWO ROADS, DIFFERENT ROADS, BLOCKED WITH TRASH HAVE KEPT US IN TRAFFIC NOW FOR ABOUT TWO HOURS.

ROB:  ONCE WE ARRIVE, THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE OF THE MARKETPLACE CAN BE OVERWHELMING.  AND SOME OF THE SIMPLEST TASKS, QUITE DIFFICULT.

WE WERE ALLOCATED SIXTY DOLLARS PER DAY.

FOR FOOD?

YEAH.

ROB:  BACK AT THE COMPOUND AND STOCKED WITH FOOD BASICS, STUDENTS FROM THE WELLINGTON ORPHANAGE ARRIVE TO HELP WITH THE WEEK’S WORK.

[NATS OF RAKING]

ROB:  WORKING ALONGSIDE THE COLLEGE STUDENTS, CLEARING LAND THAT HAS THE POTENTIAL OF IMPROVING THE DIETS AND THE LIVES OF EVERYONE BACK AT THE ORPHANAGE.

HAVE YOU FOUND ANY SNAKES YET?

LIBERTY GALVIN:  I, YOU KNOW WHAT, THERE WAS A DEAD VIPER ON THE ROAD ON THE WAY TO CHURCH, BUT I HAVE NOT SEEN A SNAKE YET, AND IT’S SNAKE SEASON.

ROB:  IT’S HOT, DIRTY WORK, THAT IS DRAINING UNDER THE AFRICAN SUN EVEN FOR SOME OKLAHOMA FARM KIDS.  NOW YOU COULD BE ON A REGULAR SPRING BREAK SOMEWHERE?

PAT BELL:  I COULD BE, YOU KNOW.  SOMEPLACE TROPICAL.  NICE AND HUMID.  PRETTY SIMILAR TO THIS.

ROB:  JUST MISSING THE BEACH?

BELL:  YEAH, JUST MISSING THE BEACH!

ROB:  WITH THE LAND CLEARED AND RAISED BEDS BEING BUILT, THE LESSONS CAN NOW BEGIN, TEACHING THE ORPHANS HOW TO PROPAGATE YOUNG SEEDLINGS, AND LEARNING AS WELL.

LIBERTY:  THEY HAVE THIS TECHNIQUE WHERE THEY BUILT PALM COVERAGE.  THEY TOOK A COUPLE OF STICKS, PUT THEM IN THE GROUND, SORT OF LIKE YOU WOULD BUILD A HUT ALMOST, SET THE PLANTS UNDERNEATH THERE, AND THEN THEY WATER THE TOP OF THE PALM LEAVES.  IT’S ALMOST LIKE THE DRIP IRRIGATION THAT WE’RE GOING TO TEACH THEM, AND IT KEEPS THE PLANTS COOLER SO THAT THE HEAT DOESN’T ZAP THOSE SEEDS.  AND SO, THEY JUST TOOK OFF WITH IT.

ROB:  SO, IS THE LEARNING GOING BOTH WAYS?

LIBERTY:  YEAH, YEAH IT REALLY IS, BECAUSE I WOULD HAVE NEVER THOUGHT TO COVER THEM LIKE THAT.  AND THEY JUST GOT RIGHT AFTER IT.  AND WE’RE LIKE, OH YEAH; THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT.

ROB:  AND LIKE MUCH OF THE DEVELOPING WORLD, CLEAN DRINKABLE WATER IS ALWAYS IN DEMAND HERE.

ROB:  NOW DURING THE WAR IN AN ORGY OF DESTRUCTIONS, AS THE REBELS PUSHED INTO FREETOWN, THEY DESTROYED NEARLY ALL OF THIS COUNTRY’S INFRASTRUCTURE.  AND THE IRONY HERE IS FOR PEOPLE LIKE LITTLE JOHN, THERE IS A WATER PLANT LESS THAN A MILE AWAY FROM HIS CAMP.

ROB:  BURNED OUT BUILDINGS AND SCORCHED CONCRETE ARE ALL THAT REMAIN.  A TIED UP GOAT THE ONLY RESIDENT WE COULD FIND.  FRESH WATER STILL FLOWS OVER THE SPILLWAY INTO THE AREA.

IT STILL WORKS AND THEY ARE USING IT.

[CRANK CREAKS]

ROB:  YET BACK AT THE COMPOUND THIS SINGLE PUMP IS ALL THE FRESHWATER AVAILABLE FOR THOSE THAT LIVE HERE AND THEIR MANY FRIENDS FROM THE NEIGHBORING VILLAGE THAT DEPEND UPON IT.  AND ITS QUALITY IS IN QUESTION.

I THINK I DID THE CALCULATIONS RIGHT FOR THE AMOUNT OF TOXIC AMONIA.

ROB:  BUT AFTER RUNNING A SIMPLE TEST, WHAT THE OSU STUDENTS FOUND IS THAT THE WATER WE’VE ALL BEEN DRINKING IS EXTREMELY HIGH IN NITRATES.

JEFF HATTEY:  AND SO WE’RE RIGHT AT THE TOP THEN OF ANYTHING ABOVE THAT WOULD BE CONSIDERED DANGEROUS, NOT SO MUCH FOR US, BUT FOR ELDERLY OR PEOPLE WHO ARE HAVING HEALTH CONCERNS AND BABIES.

ROB:  JUST THE FIRST OF A SERIES OF OBSTACLES THAT WON’T GET SOLVED ON THIS TRIP.  GROWING FOOD HAS NEVER BEEN A PROBLEM IN WEST AFRICA, AND WHILE THE ORHANS WORKING ON THIS GARDEN WILL BE THE DIRECT BENEFICIARIES OF THE PRODUCE, THE NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT OWNS THE FACILITY IS WARY OF PARTNERING WITH THE LOCAL UNIVERSITY TO PRODUCE THE FOOD, AFRAID THE LARGER UNIVERSITY COULD SOME DAY CLAIM RIGHTS TO THE FACILITY, A HARD LESSON FOR STUDENTS WORKING TO ESTABLISH A FARM, HALF THE WORLD AWAY.

MIKE DICKS:  EXPERIMENT STATION HERE THAT IS OWNED BY, AND THE LAND THAT IS OWNED BY 4-HIM WHICH IS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT RELATIONSHIP THAN WORKING FOR 4-HIM.  FOLLOW ME?  AND THAT’S A VERY DIFFICULT; WE’RE HAVING A VERY DIFFICULT TIME COMMUNICATING THAT.  WE DIDN’T DO A GOOD JOB OF COMMUNICATING THAT YESTERDAY.  AND THERE WAS SOME THINGS THAT WERE SAID, PARTICULARLY BY NJOLLA, THAT WERE EVEN HARSHER, THAT CAME ACROSS EVEN HARSHER.

ROB:  THAT PUT THE ENTIRE PROJECT IN JEOPARDY, A BITTER PILL TO SWALLOW FOR THE OKLAHOMA NON PROFIT WANTING JUST TO HELP FEED THE ORPHANS.

STEPAHNIE SHURIE:  THESE CHILDREN NEED TO EAT.  AND IF THEY DON’T EAT THEY CAN’T LEARN.  AND SO WE NEED TO FEED THEM.  AND SO THAT’S, IF WE CAN GET THEM FED THEN THAT MONEY CAN THEN BE USED IN A BETTER WAY, THAT WILL BETTER THEIR LIVES, AND THEN THEY CAN CHANGE THE COUNTRY.

 

ROB:  NOW DOING SUCH INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT WORK IS NEITHER EASY NOR QUICK.  THIS TRIP IS A GREAT EXAMPLE FOR THE STUDENTS INVOLVED TO LEARN THAT EVEN THE BEST OF INTENTIONS ARE SELDOM REWARDED.  BUT I AM HAPPY TO TELL YOU THAT SINCE OUR RETURN, THE ORPHANS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PRODUCE THEIR FIRST CROP.  AND LATER THIS YEAR, A LARGER GROUP OF OSU STUDENTS WILL RETURN TO SIERRA LEONE AND DRILL SOME MUCH NEEDED WATER WELLS.  NOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HEAR THE STUDENTS’ REACTIONS TO THIS TRIP, AS WELL AS AN IN-DEPTH DISCUSSION I HAD WITH THE TRIP’S LEADERS ON EVERYTHING FROM WORKING IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD TO THE BENEFITS OF MAKING SUCH JOURNEYS, WE HAVE LINKS TO EACH OF THESE ON OUR WEBSITE.  SIMPLY GO TO OKHORIZON.COM AND CLICK ON THIS WEEK’S VALUE ADDED.

ROB:  WELL, WE ARE OUT OF TIME.  I’M ROB MCCLENDON.  THANKS FOR WATCHING.  SEE YOU BACK HERE NEXT WEEK.