Jennifer returns from Sierra Leone

Published 28/05/2014 | 05:22

Jennifer Nolan from Greystones, who is back from Sierra Leone, where she was gathering case studies for Concern.
Jennifer Nolan from Greystones, who is back from Sierra Leone, where she was gathering case studies for Concern.

JENNIFER Nolan from Burnaby Lawns in Greystones is back from Sierra Leone, where she was gathering case studies for Concern Worldwide.

'I was supervising the making of a video and collecting case studies at the health centre in Allentown, which is in the outskirts of the capital, Freetown,' said Jennifer, who has worked for the charity since 2010 and is Overseas Communications Officer.

She explained that Concern has been working there since the war which lasted from 1991 to 2002.

The charity runs a health clinic in Allentown and is trying to raise €100,000 for renovations.

'Honestly, the health centre in Allentown is the worst one I have ever been in. During the war it was badly damaged and it has not been repaired since,' said Jennifer.

'The women who are fortunate, have their babies in the health centre but if two births are going on at the same time then one woman has to be placed on the floor as there is just one bed in the clinic. The women can only be kept three hours. There are no lights and no water and the women are asked to bring their own water from the river.'

She described meeting a 32 year old woman called Aminata Conteh whose parents were burned in front of her. Her sister's arms were chopped off and her brother was beheaded. 'Aminata is the most resilient woman I have ever met,' said Jennifer. 'She fled into the bush and lived on leaves and drank water from puddles.'

She later lost a baby at birth when the health clinic was closed. Just over a year ago she gave birth to a child in the Allentown health centre but the child now has pneumonia and of course she is worried. Her husband died of typhoid a few weeks after her child was born.

At the end of May Jennifer will be celebrating her first wedding anniversary to Dylan, who works in Everest Music in Bray.

The celebration will be short as she is heading to Chad at the beginning of June to do more work for Concern.

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