Friday 15th February 2013
This morning was an emotional one to say the least. After a breakfast that included Mercedes’ last Haribos and the Rice Krispies that poured out from the bottom of the packet, we mopped the last few dirty footprints away, swept up our beloved dead cockroaches and packed our scattered belongings. There were lots of tears today, especially when saying goodbye to the students of JT Reffell and Balanta. Not only had JT given us multiple Valentine’s cards but we also received bracelets, woven fans and little baskets. The Headmistress presented our esteemed trip-leaders with a wooden plaque ideal for Cedars Drawing Room and we presented the students with hugs and super attractive t-shirts that a harp company had donated. We made our ways through the crowds of leg-hugging children, holding hundreds of hands and agreeing to be many a child’s friend. An impromptu performance of “Goodnight Sweetheart” set a few tears streaming but a cute flea-ridden puppy diverted our attention for a few moments. At Balanta we were treated to a song from the musicians there, followed by our own rendition of the well-practised “Goodnight Sweetheart” again. After taking the same photo of the Team on everybody’s camera, we said farewell (Annie and Hatty avoided any more awkward advances from their admirers). We added to our collections of bracelets stacked up our arms later at the market where we also gave the Sierra Leonian economy a large boost. Many pairs of jolly trousers were haggled for and a few people managed to even get a pair or two tailored for them! The minibus was jam-packed with purchases on the way back to IMATT where Alex and Josh yet again insisted on competing with Izzy during pool-time (although Alex seemed to be struggling at one point to get his legs out of the pool). Salone Square provided an all-too-welcome meal for us this evening – Rebecca was presented with an entire half of a roast chicken and Alex and Elin went for ‘meat lover’ pizzas that certainly weren’t short of meat…food babies all round! Our time to depart arrived too fast and after presenting the commander of IMATT with a well-deserved “Foundation for Life” book on Wells, we all piled into our loveable musical mayhem of a minibus and left to go home. A few last sing-alongs to Justin Bieber and we were at the ferry crossing. Goodbyes were said to Lamin, our trusty, philosophical driver and then to Freetown itself as we watched the lights get further and further away from our ferry. Sleeping proved a popular activity in the airport and we were on the plane before we knew it but still not ready to leave. The Team fell quiet as we took off from SL soil as our life-changing week came to an end but we are sure that it won’t be the end for the Team.