Sierra Leone lies on the west coast of Africa bordered by Guinea, Liberia and the Atlantic Ocean. There are about sixteen ethnic groups in Sierra Leone, each with its own language and custom. The two largest and most influential are the Temne and the Mende. Although English is the language of instruction in schools and the official language in government administration, the Krio language (derived from English and several indigenous African languages) is the primary language of communication among Sierra Leone's different ethnic groups, and is spoken by 90% of the country's population.
The country achieved independence in 1961. Competition among rival groups finally opened into the Sierra Leone Civil War (1991 to 2002), which devastated the country. It left more than 50,000 people dead, much of the country's infrastructure destroyed, and over two million people displaced as refugees in neighboring countries.
The Bridge is involved helping build community and hope in villages to help improve these statistics.
The first community started is in the area of Makama which is in Makeni, Sierra Leone. Partnering with the people in this community, we first built a church. School started in that church and later we built a school so that individual classrooms could provide a better environment for children to learn. Over 350 students attend this school and receive free education and one meal a day. We also built a small medical clinic in the school building where our Bridge students, teachers and family members can visit and get free medical care. Child sponsorship allows us to provide this education and food as well as help out with school supplies.
Makambo is a small village in Sierra Leone near Makeni. New Life Fellowship in Graham, Washington and Soma Communities in Tacoma, Washington joined together to build a small school and support a church in Makambo named Soma Communities. They also added a sanitation system that includes a well, and several bathrooms.
The pastor's name is David. There are 9 teachers for 250 students in the school. The village has about 1000 people in it. We have recently added on to the school building and doubled it's size allowing for more children to go to school in a good learning environment. Due to the deteriorating walls in the old church, it was torn down and our new church has been built!
Rohpolon Village has been a part of The Bridge for many years. The church used to meet in a borrowed classroom. They have been moved many times in their years. But under the strong leadership of Pastor Pious, they came together on their own and built a temporary structure on borrowed land. That structure has allowed them to meet as a church for the last two years, but the land owner wanted his land back. So the church came together and after selling some belongings, they had enough money to buy some land. When the folks at Christ’s Church in Federal Way heard about this, they came together and raised funds so we could build them their permanent structure (using our Dwell Earth bricks!).
Yes...there is a New York area of Sierra Leone! When our lead pastor handed over the reigns of the Makambo church, he began to plan a new church in this area that is closer to the city. Land is more expensive and difficult you get the closer you are to the city. One of The Bridge preschool caretakers has loaned her family land so that a temporary church structure could be put in place in this village area. It is a growing church with lots of potential! We are so thankful for the "widow's mite" that allowed them to put this structure on her family land. Please pray for her and for this church as they strive to get their own land and building some day!
Rosint is a village on the outskirts of Makeni. There was a small school in this village that was struggling to continue. The Bridge has now adopted this community and built them a church near the school that will also be used for additional classrooms. The land is beautiful in this area and several farming projects have been started in the area to help the pastor and other church members in the community.
Masuba village is on the outskirts of Makeni. It is an area where one of The Bridge pastors has planted a church and with his own initiative and the help of villagers, they acquired land and built a temporary structure. After a couple of years we were able to help them build a permanent structure so the church can grow and the building will last through the monsoon season.