A couple weeks ago i was returning home from a trip up country when i noticed St. George’s Orphanage on the side of the dirt rd heading past Grafton. Casually, i thought how nice it would be if i’d be able to bring gifts to the kids at the orphanage. I made my way home and i got consumed by my daily tasks and ups and downs. About ten days to Christmas i mentioned the idea to my AmericanoCongolese friend Robert and he thought it was a good idea and offered to help. That very night we made a to do list. First on the list was the drafting of a letter that we would both send out to our mailing lists hoping that folks would wanna get involved. Before we could send out the email I got struck down by malaria and our plans were almost shattered by the parasite until Robert came to my rescue bringing his laptop to my house so that i could email folks on my list. Between the two of us were able to get very generous food donations from a company called Mantrac SL the official dealers of Caterpillars in Sierra Leone. They gave us everything from laundry detergent, to cooking oil, cornflakes, milk, soap, sardines, rice etc. In addition to their contributions my friend Randa Swaid, owner of City Plaza Furniture & Interior Design on Wilberforce Street reached out to her friends and family with children and we got five boxes of clothes and toys. My sister and friend Yeniva Sisay made it possible for us to collect 500,000(leones) from contributions at Play On words that we used to purchase 14 children’s books from Diaspora Bookstore. Diaspora gave us a great discount on the books. Some folks at the American Embassy also made donations to the orphanage although they did so on their own a day before us. Several Other individuals contributed money, toys, and clothes and we were able to put together gifts for all 54 children at St George’s Orphanage. I bought brown paper and wrapped gifts at home on Christmas Eve with the help of my friend Robert and my cousins Mohammed, Pa Koya, and a neighbour, Augustine. Each kid had atleast one toy and an article of clothing but most of them had more depending on the age and sex.
On Christmas Day we drove to St. Geroge’s Orpahanage and made the donations to the kids. I individually handed each child their gift and gave general contributions like the food and left over toys to the Administrator at the Orphanage but in view of everyone present. I read one of the stories together with the kids and encouraged them to read books. The older kids sang christmas carols for us and we cheered them on even though it was obvious that carrying a tune was not their strong point :-).
We took a group photograph and had my hands held by three cute and charming little girls that i would have gladly taken home if i could. In the end we danced to the song “Alhaji”, helped some of the younger kids open their gifts and then waved a heary good bye as my three companions reminded me to send for them next time i went back.
It was a beautiful christmas and i want to thank everyone who contributed to making Christmas at St. Georges Orphanage. If i’m here next christmas lets definitely do it again.