Day 10: Frolicing Through Freetown

Separated again!!!! But, unlike yesterday, we at least all had important reasons to part ways. Grace and Michael, the A-Team, had a critically important meeting with both the District Medical Officer (DMO) and the Makeni Hospital Superintendent. While both meetings were crucial for maintaining (actually, just earning) the support of the Ministry of Health for our project, each had a distinct purpose. The former was required to open up doors within the governmental medical establishment. If the DMO signed off on our project it would be the equivalent of possessing the Roman Imperial Standard. The latter was then needed to gain access to the Makeni Regional Hospital, a location of crucial importance to our story.

To nobody’s surprise, the meetings proved to be dumbfoundingly successful! Along with securing the DMO’s blessing and the Superintendent’s permission to film for two whole days at the regional hospital, Grace and Michael also managed to get taped interviews with both officials! We had been needing to get the voice of these institutional figures for some time and finally had it in hand.

Meanwhile, Jessica and I were on our way to Freetown. Our objective, like Grace and Michael’s, was also twofold; we needed to get an interview from the Aberdeen Women’s Center and Bernadette Udo. First, we went to Aberdeen and upon arrival were quickly shepareded into an office with the hospital’s head to discuss our project and how we could mutually benefit from getting an interview. We continued talking to him along with a couple of doctors, nurses, and technicians who cycled in throughout the meeting. Eventually, we secured an interview from a nurse named Margaret Bangura.

Margaret’s interview went incredibly well for us. Since we had already talked about everything we wanted to ask about in the aforementioned meeting we already knew what to ask her. This resulted, unsurprisingly, to us getting a ton of soundbites and clips to questions we previously had no answers for. Additionally, she represented an entirely new perspective, that being one of a capital based, private medical worker. A perspective we had previously been unable to find representation for.

The second and final notable occurrence for our trip was the highly anticipated Bernadette Udo interview at the World Hope International National Headquarters. Grace and I had attempted to talk with Bernadette over video chat during the summer, and while she clearly had so much to offer us, the connection was poor and we could barely hear anything. This time though, with full camera batteries and empty SD cards, we were ready to soak up whatever knowledge she had to impart on us. And ohhhhhhhhhhh boy, did she have knowledge! In our longer interview yet, lasting over an hour, Bernadette talked about every topic imaginable. From classics like “why women suffer from maternal mortality and what causes the issues?” to the more taboo topic of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), she was ready to discuss anything we through at her.

On both fronts this day was an unwavering success! We have once again hit our rhythm and are ready for whatever this project throws at us! Here’s to another impact filled day tomorrow!
(Also, I was too lazy to fit it into the actual post but omg the restaurant Khanjan took us to for lunch was so damn good!!!! We ate MEAT for the first time in ages! If any of yall go I highly recommend the chicken burger!)

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