It's late February and Bobby Smith returned to Sierra Leone to oversee the completion and installation of the computer lab at St. Anthony's School. As you may know, the Hope for Lives Computer Lab is conveniently located a few steps from the Hope for Lives Library at St. Anthony's School.
Our recent shipment has arrived in Sierra Leone including the 7 Hematology Analyzers and Immunoassay machines, a variety of specialized cardiology equipment, a lot of medical supplies and whatever else we could fit into the shipping container. We don't know yet the destination for all of this equipment, but with all that has been collected, we could probably open one of the best equipped hospitals in West Africa. We'll just have to wait and see how this plays out.
As of this writing, Bobby has yet to return to to the U.S. to regale us with stories of his activity in Sierra Leone. He travels to Africa with a general idea of what he has to accomplish, but things often expand to include time with the St. Anthony students, feedings, health screenings, distribution of shoes, visiting the amputees and other activities. I can't wait to post the photos.
For now, we'll just encourage you to donate to Hope for Lives. Unfortunately, much of the funding for these projects and travel associated comes out of Bobby's tiny pockets. We are ever grateful to our donors of medical supplies and equipment, particularly Suburban Hospital Johns Hopkins and Bobby's cardiologist friends. Your monetary donations are what pays to ship these valuable donated goods to Sierra Lone, so please help us keep up the pace of relief and opportunity.
Our first 40 ft container of medical supplies to help fight against the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone is on its way. If it is safe, I'll be traveling to Sierra Leone for the arrival of the container, making sure it goes to the right people and is put to use for the right reasons.
In April 2013, Bobby Smith returned for the official Hope for Lives in Sierra Leone Library unveiling. The opening was attended by officials from the government of Sierra Leone as well as teachers, staff and some students from St. Anthony’s School.
St. Anthony Parish and Primary School, where Hope for Lives founder, Bobby Smith attended as a child, is one of the oldest Catholic parishes and schools in Sierra Leone. Bobby’s late mother was the head teacher at St. Anthony. As a child he has fond memories of his time at the school; the teachers, friends and learning were exciting and fun for a young boy.
On his January 2012 visit to Sierra Leone, Bobby has a bright idea to go out on the boats to see how the guys fish. But, to make the journey even more productive, he decides that he will do a CPR class on the boat while out in the Atlantic Ocean. Because of his 22 years of experience in the Emergency Shock Trauma Unit at Suburban Hospital (in Bethesda, Maryland), these techniques are like ‘drinking water’ for him.
Bobby and Hill Valley Hotel staff prepared hundreds of bag lunches to feed handicapped war victims in downtown Freetown. The number of handicapped people in Sierra Leone is staggering. An estimated 25,000 people were victims of amputations and disabling injuries during the decade-long civil war.
On the day I was to return to the U.S., my ferry to the airport experienced mechanical issues. In the time it took to repair the ferry, I missed my flight. I rushed back to catch the same ferry back to Freetown as it was the last of the day. The missed flight must have been an act of divine providence. It meant that I had to stay an extra few days in Salone.