It’s all in the name….

Descriptive phrases

Its all in the name….what would your truck be called?

Throughout many countries in Africa, there is a custom of painting names or sayings on trucks, buses, and public vans.

Sierra Leone is one of these countries where people place these descriptive names and phrases on vehicles. During our last visit I paid closer attention to these sayings and wanted to share some of my favorites.

Life is it or Change is Inevitable

Simple statements but true and

when one is stuck in Freetown traffic a truck with the phrase –

Patience is bitter but the fruit is sweet

can really lead to thoughtful conversation as patience is not an easy virtue but one does feel better if patience can be exercised…

One of my favorites was My Wife is My Hero and then the next day I saw My Husband is My Hero. How nice it is to see people express their happy relationships for all to see!

Some vans sought for us to Be Honest and others cautioned us to Fear Judgment Day.

Still recovering from Ebola, I thought Hard Times No Friend was particularly poignant but was balanced out by No Place Like Home.

I’m not sure if these phrases have any personal connection to the driver, but maybe they do and they are fun and certainly can get your mind off a Freetown traffic jam.

I also like to think what would my truck be called? I think it would be…

Make Something Good Happen

What would your truck, van or bus be called?

A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.

-Mahatma Gandhi


Update on Conrad H. Hilton Foundation Grant to Aid Capacity Building in Sierra Leone

Capacity Building


We only got these Sisters to stand still for this one picture! They were very excited to get started on their new challenge to aid in capacity building for health care development in Sierra Leone.

In May 2016, HealeyIRF received a 3-year $525,000 grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. This grant is a key component in HealeyIRF’s plan to create a self-sustaining and locally managed Charity Health Network in Sierra Leone. With 78% of the population living on less than $2 a day, building a network providing free or low fee-for-service healthcare interventions is critical to improving health outcomes for vulnerable populations. Particularly since, nearly 40% of all healthcare services in Sierra Leone are provided by private and faith-based organizations. 

Capacity Building for Health Care Development

Developing an administrative workforce to support this network is the purpose of the grant. Nuns in Sierra Leone will train in non-traditional roles.  These areas of study include, public health, management and finance, logistics and production, psychology, biotechnology and microbiology. After receiving their degrees, they will support the Charity Health Network.

During our March trip to Sierra Leone we met with some of the Regional Supervisors and scholarship recipients (pictured above) participating in the program. Nine Sisters have collected their scholarships and an additional nine have received notification of their award.

Fields of Study

One participant is seeking a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the Institute of Advanced Management & Technology (IAMTECH) in Freetown and another is taking an online PhD course of study in Organizational Leadership at Regent University in the U.S.  Further, one Sister will be getting a Bachelors Degree in Business at IAMTECH and a Clinical Mental Counseling Online Course at Warden University is the field of study for one of the program participants.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

-Nelson Mandela

Sierra Leone — A Warm Welcoming Hug


Having not been to Sierra Leone since December 2015, I was filled with excitement to return. We touched down at Lungi International Airport on March 15th after leaving a snowstorm in the U.S. the day before. A welcoming hug of heat met us on the tarmac!Sunset

The airport is across the harbor from Freetown so there are options for crossing – water taxi, ferry, or a 2-3 hour drive overland. We chose the water taxi and while waiting watched this beautiful sunset.

The purpose of our trip was to review HealeyIRF healthcare programs and also our programs caring for Ebola orphans.  These programs are operating well and we saw great improvements. Program details will be covered in future blogs. But for now, I wanted to share some ‘non-work’ related experiences.

First, the beaches…. beautiful… stunning…inspiring,  and I have only seen two of them…there are so many more!  I visited River #2 during my last trip and it was truly breathtaking. Sometimes you worry that you have built up an experience so much that upon return you will be disappointed.  Not so with River #2 — I think I loved it even more this time. What’s not to like — the beach, the mountains, and the boat going back and forth across the outlet. My first swim confirmed that yes there is a very strong current, and you do need to take the boat!

A trip to the market

This trip I tried my hand at bartering at the market. The market is located in the center of the city where masks, carvings, handmade dresses, handbags, and jewelry can be purchased. The fabric of the clothing is bright and very colorful – so you will not find a little black dress here. But what you will find is a lot of people who want to make a really nice deal with you.  Was I good at bartering? Not really, so I will need to improve my skills for my next trip.

Music and dancing

Good music and spending time with our Sierra Leonean colleagues one evening allowColleaguesed us to catch up on each other’s lives. After spending hours in the vehicles visiting our clinics, dancing was also a welcome part of the evening.

As a country Sierra Leone faces challenges and again these are things that will be discussed in future blogs. But for now, I just want to remember the warm welcoming hug that is Sierra Leone.

HealeyIRF Team Headed to Sierra Leone — Including me!

Travel Sierra Leone

The HealeyIRF team is headed to Sierra Leone next week and I am very excited to be participating in this trip. I have wonderful memories from my visit in December 2015. I hope everyone is making extra plantain chips for me, as they were delicious!

Catching up with our team in Sierra Leone is top on my list – Father Peter, Charles, Theresa, Michael, Albert and so many more. I can’t wait to see what has been happening in their lives.

But the critical part of the trip is work and reviewing our programs and ensuring that they are meeting the needs of the people.

Sierra Leone visits to Serabu, Father Dan Clinic and Our Lady of Guadualpe

First on our list will be a visit south to Serabu Hospital as HealeyIRF has a long association with this facility. It is about five hours away from Freetown but a beautiful drive. We will talk shop but also share what music we are listening too. This is an added benefit of the trip – I come back with new music to listen to. Music I am going to share – my favorite songs from the Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’ –which I have not seen but love anyway!

We will also visit the Monsignor Dan Sullivan Clinic in Newton. Named in Father Dan’s memory it is always moving to hear people talk about the impact he had on their lives. You can visit ‘Our Story’ on our website to learn more about Father Dan.

A trip up north is planned to visit one of our recent additions to the Charity Health Network – Our Lady of Guadualpe Clinic at Mile 91, run by the Clarissan Missionary Sisters. Serving a population of approximately 8,000 it is a mode of efficiency and quality healthcare. 

A visit to Sierra Leone would not be complete without a trip to their beautiful beaches! Luckily we will be touring a construction site that is very near to River #2. So my fingers are crossed that we will take a quick stroll on the beach.

Many, many more meetings are planned but these are some of the highlights. Stay tuned!

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.

–Tim Cahill


First 2017 Shipment of Medical Supplies Arrives

Medical Supplies

Our first shipment of medical supplies for 2017 recently arrived in Freetown, Sierra Leone.  

Father Peter Konteh, Executive Director Caritas-Freetown and Sister Josephine Amara, the new Health Coordinator for Caritas-Freetown stand outside our Brookfields warehouse.  They were on hand to coordinate the unloading and storing of the medicines.

Supplies were provided to HealeyIRF as a result of  our partnership with MAP International. The donated value of the shipment is approximately $2.6 million.  This shipment includes pain medications, antibiotics and vitamins for pregnant women.  These medical supplies are used throughout the Charity Health Network.   The network consisting of four hospitals, nine clinics, and a Mobile Health Unit provides life saving care throughout Sierra Leone.

Medical Supplies Welcomed by new Health Coordinator

Sister Amara remarked, “I am new to the Caritas-Healey Team but very excited to begin my new responsibilities.  This shipment of needed medical supplies is invaluable as we care and tend to those needing health treatments.  I can hardly wait for the next shipment!”

That next shipment is coming soon Sister Amara!

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.

-Thomas Aquinas