Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Local School and Hospital in Lero, Guinea, West Africa

Lero school building situated on the outskirts of the village. Just before I took this photo a cow was shooed out of the first class room

Continuing my posts about Guinea, West Africa about the three years I lived there, today I show the school and hospital in the village, Lero. These were maintained by the gold mine company I worked for. I published a monthly newspaper for the Guinean staff in our company, in English and French, with photos and news of daily happenings amongst the people.

I worked in the maintenance department as administrative manager (actually a secretarial position) and often travelled into the village and surrounding areas with my boss the maintenance manager and where I could get topical photos and news for the paper.
The young learners are so enthusiastic to be able to go to school
Visiting the school, was heartwarming and heart wrenching at the same time. The young learners were so grateful to attend school, which was just a bare room, openings in the wall for windows and a cracked and broken blackboard. Their educational supplies were dependent on the government subsidy which was something ridiculous like .003% of the GDP of the country. I undertook to help supply the children with pencils, rulers, erasers chalk and crayons which friends from Australia, the UK and South Africa sent up to me. At work I asked the various departments to keep their printed paper; especially the pages which may only have one line or a quarter page of typing on it. The geology and mining section kept their huge A3 sheets which translated into many pages of paper for the children to use.
This was only a drop in the ocean, one grain of sand in the desert, I know but I felt I had to do what I could.
Here they pose sweetly for me to take photographs

Two technicians, the doctor, an assistant (on haunches) and my department assistant, Moosa (in blue overalls and dark glasses) pose in the laboratory
The hospital was situated within the village of Lero and "equipped" for any emergency. There was a laboratory where technicians scrutinised blood tests and other samples under a microscope. There were drips on wooden drip stands and hospital beds with matresses, no sheets or bedcovers. There was a birth delivery table.
The doctor (in green), two assistants and my boss (in khaki) seen here with a mother and child who came for consultation
The Guinean doctor dealt with all the ailments and injuries his fellow countrymen and women brought to him in his surgery. Infants receive their shots and drops as in any normal hospital in a first world country.

The doctor administers polio drops to this young patient. Sadly infant mortality is very high in a country like Guinea. Many children do not survive to see their second birthday
The doctor poses next to a hospital bed and drips on wooden stands

The doctor and Moosa pose at the birth delivery bed

When I took these photos, our company maintenance department had just received approval from the Head Office in Norway to refurbish the school and hospital buildings. Later on an English hospital donated new a new operating table, drips on modern stands and 24 new iron beds and matresses. I had already left the company to come home to South Africa and didn't get photos of the "new" upgraded hospital.
For more of other worlds around the globe, click here.
Thanks to the MyWorld team,Klaus Sandy Ivar Wren Fishing Guy Louise for creating and maintaining this meme.


  1. Oh Jo---I 'hurt' for those people. We sit over here in our air conditioned homes enjoying life. We have NO idea how others live in other parts of the world.

    I worked for the Methodist Church for 25 yrs. and we 'tried' to send money and supplies to needy countries. We also sent mission teams to help. But--as you said, it's like a drop of sand on the beach.

    I'm so proud of you for doing what you could to help. Thanks for sharing. I love seeing the bright-eyed children who want to learn. Kids here don't appreciate school---and many don't want to learn.


  2. Jo, I was really moved by your story. You have a very big heart. Glad the school and hospital finally got some help. The ladies bright colored dresses are gorgeous. Great post.

  3. That's wonderful, the work you have done to help the people in Guinea. As Gaelyn said, you have a big heart! It is touching to see the excitement the kids have about going to school and learning.

  4. I, like the others, was so moved by your story and hurt for these wonderful people. I can only wish there were more like you who do make an effort to make a difference. I have worked with people like this here in the states and while many of their situations were bad, they were/are nothing compared to what is/has been happening in Africa. I do know how much it means and how important it is that we continue.

    Thank you for all you do!

  5. Very touching, Jo! You are doing a great job. Mere words aren't they?

    When I come across such matter, I feel ashamed how I crib about small things in life. I sincerely appreciate your contribution t the betterment of this society. God Bless You!

  6. The ocean is just a bunch of small drops. That´s all you can do. Moving and real story.

  7. Jo: That was a neat look at part of your world.

  8. Hello Jo,
    That was very interesting ! I always enjoy hearing about other person's life experiences.
    I do believe that you did make a difference for the children in that bare classroom. That was a marvellous initiative that you had .

    Thank you for sharing your story and see you soon.

  9. Oh Jo, what a lot of things are still to be done. And what a compassionate woman you are. Africa needs more people like you and above all governments that care about their citizens. Thanks for this interesting post.

  10. Very nice post! Those of us in the western world need to be reminded of our great fortune sometimes. I love the photos... especially the one with the absolutely beautiful mother holding the baby while the doctor is examining. What a pretty woman!

  11. A wonderful post & photo's, Jo - thanks so much for sharing these with us. Most of our schools/hospitals here are the same - it is the story of Africa and so sad, especially when it comes to the children. Thanks for making us aware of counting our blessings every day !

  12. The children there are just as cute as kids anywhere. So sad that their school is so inadequate, and the infirmary is poorly supplied.

  13. What a beautiful woman and baby, like a film star, so clean and well dressed for her doctor's visit.
    If only we could cure the ills of this wold... surely every little does help.

    Yet for those who see this first hand it is no easier to assimilate the difference with their own noral lives.

  14. It is interesting to read about your world. It is very different to ours.I worked in P/NG for some years and I can see some similarities. I'm glad the company can overhaul the school and hospital,That is great to hear. I'm sure the children were pleased to have the extra paper you helped provide.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo