Hi, my name Terese Ovidie Amundsen and I am 21 years old. I joined the Sierra Leone project when Eikeli School took participated in the project of constructing Prosperity school. I sat in the school committee for the cooperation with FNSL and we in the committee were fortunate enough to get to inspect the project and thus traveled to Sierra Leone during Easter 2010. Being able to first participate in the planning of a project, and then get to inspect the school was very rewarding. It was nice seeing what we had accomplished, and how much this meant to the girls. It gave me a taste for more and it was a decisive factor for why I chose to travel back again after high school.
In January 2012, 6 other graduates from both Eikeli and Ullern secondary school and myself traveled back again, to be one of the first that would monitor the project over a longer period. We were very excited about how our stay was going to be, as we knew little about the approach that awaited us down there. At Prosperity we participated in teaching, we helped with sexual health education and we had evening activities with the girls. During evening activities we had both sports games and computer lessons. Computer lessons were especially rewarding for the kids and it was very strange to see that something so simple and commonplace for us was incomprehensible to them. It is hard to put my stays and experiences in Sierra Leone into words. Sierra Leone has a culture and atmosphere that cannot be compared with the Norwegian culture. The people are very open and welcoming, although most have a very low standard of living compared to Norwegians, they broadcast a much larger positive charisma than most Norwegians. That is where we really got to see the big cultural difference and how materialism is so strong among Norwegians. This is a culture and a people full of energy and joy, and wherever one went, there was singing, dancing, and big smiles.
There is still much that remains before the people of Sierra Leone will have the same opportunities and rights that we in Norway have today. It is therefore good to know that further expansion of the school is continuing and that more and more is being done. Education for girls in Sierra Leone gives a ripple effect, allowing it to become less common with discrimination and premature pregnancy. The group I traveled with hope to be able to go back because this was without a doubt an experience of a lifetime. It is an experience I now can look back on being proud of having been part of, and I feel that the journey has developed me as a person. Today I am working hard to get into medical school in Norway, and my dream is that I can one day use my education to help other people. My experiences in Sierra Leone and Prosperity have really given me an enormous tenacity to reach my dream.
If you want a totally different experience you will never forget, I strongly recommend traveling with FNSL, it is something you definitely will never come to regret!
With best regards,
Terese Ovidie Amundsen