The Northampton Diocese welcomed Sheku Mark Kanneh (Livelihood and Disaster Risk Reduction programme officer – Sierra Leone) on the 13 and 14 July. Sheku who has never been to the UK before, in fact he says “I have not been outside Africa before!”, was delighted to meet volunteers and supporters from around the Diocese.
He spoke at the Catholic Women’s League CWL) meeting at St Clare’s Aylesbury, as well as at Sacred Heart Northampton. He showed the following horrendous statistics!
Sheku also shared his experience of what CAFOD did during the Ebola crisis. To help prevent the spread of Ebola, they focused on safe and dignified burial methods and engaged Faith Leaders in raising awareness. Sheku said, “Ebola is still present in 2 out of the 12 districts with very few in the two districts still infected.” This success won them the prestigious bond humanitarian award. Well done to the team!
However, the effects of Ebola has not only affected education (all schools were shut for over year!) but people’s livelihoods. “A lot of people did not farm and the regular hunger period which is about 4 months will now be well over 7 months” explained Sheku. “But through your support, CAFOD will be able to help in this.”
Pat (CWL- Aylesbury) said that it was “an excellent talk and very informative”. The CWL have given £30 towards the work of CAFOD in Sierra Leone. What generosity from the CWL who have always supported CAFOD’s work! Thank you so much.
Stella (parish contact – Sacred Heart Northampton) said, “We were all so impressed with Sheku’s talk – lots of food for thought. It was great that people came from other parishes; I think this is something we could build on.” They too hope to raise funds for CAFOD’s work in Sierra Leone.
During his two days stay in the Northampton Diocese, Sheku was kept busy. He met up with Fr Jonathan Hill (Holy Cross – Bedford) and with Jack the parish contact there. He was so interested in and impressed by what parishes do to support CAFOD’s work.
He then met up with the office volunteers Dorothy and Liz and learnt about their important role. He said, “I didn’t realise what you all do in the office. So much support for us. Thank you”
Being invited for dinner at Frank and Val’s home made him feel so welcomed and happy. He was thrilled rice was on the menu! He also enjoyed the tour in Frank’s garden and even gave Frank some tips on how to get more crops!
Sheku enjoyed beauty of the area and commented, “You have beautiful countryside here, your cows are so healthy and well looked after and you have so nice roads everywhere.” When he was given his coach ticket that was purchased online that day he exclaimed, “whow, I can’t believe you can just sit at your desk and get everything so quickly!”
Sheku thoroughly enjoyed his stay in the Northampton Diocese and meeting so many wonderful volunteers and supporters. “I am saying ‘Plenty Teinki’(many thanks) for all the care and support you gave me when I was with you and for our work in Sierra Leone. I can see now what people in the UK do to help us and I will share my experience with our partners when I return.”