On the 26th of March 2023, at around 5:55 pm, Mr. Gibril Sorie Mansaray arrived in Sierra Leone, West Africa, for the first time. I was privileged to be the first person to welcome him to his native land Sierra Leone. It was an eye-catching moment for me to see a man I admired so much in person at the Lungi International Airport. We glanced at each other, smiled at ourselves, and lovingly hugged each other. He said, " I'm here now. It's a blessing to be here. It's a blessing to meet you in person, too. For far too long, we've just been communicating through social media".
After that, we took welcoming snapshots and hung a green, white, and blue sash on his neck, green, white, and blue beads on his wrists as well as a green, white, and blue cap on his head, which shows that he has come to Sierra Leone. Then, we left the airport and boarded the Seabird boat to cross the Lungi Sea to check in at the Mozzabeach Resort at York Village. This was the first time I used the seabird, and it was the first time I checked in at Mozzabeach Resort. We spent three days at the Mozzabeach Resort. At the Mozzabeach Hotel, I experienced a lot of things I never thought I would experience in my life. I slept in a decent room, ate expensive but delicious food, swam in a first-class swimming pool, and met with people from the upper class.
On the 27th of March, 2023, we went out and met with his Paternal family (The Mansararys) at Makamba compound, Shell new road at the back of Hotel 510 (home of Sierra Leonean teachers). He was welcomed by the family and was enlightened about his paternal family tree. He took snapshots with his family and told them how excited he was to meet them in person. We then left the Makamba compound and went to the Mongegba community where my family resides. He met with my family, and they were excited to meet with the man who positively changed my life. He was also happy to have met my family, including my wife and son, Edward Gibril Kamara. He also made sure we visited the Orphan Marie Conteh, whom he has been taking care of.
After that, we visited his Dad's building sites at Yams Farm junction and Mongeba Community and later returned to the Mozzabeach Hotel in York Village.
On the 28th of March, 2023, we visited Dignitaries in the education sector, including the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School and the chief director of Education. They were all happy to welcome him and were proud of his commitment to educating rural children in deprived communities. Furthermore, they commended him for his aspiration to construct a Junior and senior secondary school and a Library in Magbaikoli Community.
After that, we visited historical sites such as the Sierra Leone Museum. He was excited about the place, taking photos and videos and reading the histories of Bai Bureh and other warriors. After that, we left for the Sierra Leone big market, where he bought cultural items. We then returned to the hotel and slept.
On the 29th of March, 2023, we traveled to Makeni, the provincial headquarters town of Northern Sierra Leone. We checked in at the Wusum Hotel, the best hotel in the North. This was my first time lodging at this hotel, and I enjoyed the internet facility and many other facilities of the Wusum Hotel.
On the 30th of March, 2023, we went to Magbaikolie village, in Makari chiefdom, Bombali district, where the PK Memorial primary school is located. The students, staff, and parents warmly welcomed Gibril Sorie Mansaray MBA. A special traditional (Bubu) dance was performed together with traditional (Sampa) dance. He was so excited to the point that he joined the traditional dancers to dance among the students, staff, and parents. Since the welcoming took place on the road to the community, we marched through the village to the school compound, where everyone assembled. He thoroughly looked at the school's infrastructure and the environment, and he was very pleased with all he saw. He was formally welcomed by the students and staff of the school. The staff commented on his development efforts thus far and informed him of some of the challenges at the school. In response to the students and teachers, Gibril Sorie Mansaray made a speech and gave hope to the students and staff regarding the difficulties they are faced with by promising to do an extension of the primary school, as well as constructing a Junior and senior secondary school and a Library in Magbaikolie village. He assured them that decent toilets and water facilities would be made available to the schools in due time. He later thanked the staff, students, and parents for their relentless efforts toward the education process. He gave an assignment to the kids to respect their parents and teachers and encouraged them not to quit school. He concluded by saying, "As long as I can breathe in the United States, my people will have a voice." We then returned to Makeni and met with the deputy director of education and the inspector of Schools in Makari Chiefdom. He told them about what he had done and intended to do, and he was highly commended for that. They assured him of their support of his educational intentions. We then went to the Wusum Hotel and spent the night.
On the 31st of March, 2023, we went to Magbaikolie village again to meet with the community people. They warmly welcomed him and did some traditional dancing. We then visited his Dad's house, spent some time with the family, and later moved to the community center, where everyone was assembled and he was formally welcomed. The Community people thanked him for assisting the community and their children. They also told him about the plights and needs of the Community. He assured them of his unflinching support but alerted them to be patient and let God's will be done. After that, he reiterated, "As long as he has breath in the United States, his people will have a voice." He furthered that " No one chooses where he or she is being born, but we choose how we ought to live." After the meeting, we visited his late grandfather's gravesite. He took pictures and videos of the gravesite, took sand from the grave, and put it in his bag as a symbolic representation of his home so he wouldn't forget home. He believed that taking the sand with him to the United States implied that he was taking his grandfather along with him everywhere he went. We then moved to the Magbaikolie River on the outskirts of the community. It is at this river that social events take place among the community members. He crossed the river and visited the local beach area. He also took pictures and videos with some kids and youths that were around him. We then returned to the community and drove off to Makeni, where we met a key cattle rearer (Mr. Jalloh), and a Dissect member and discussed his plans for the land and his agricultural intentions for his people. We took photos with them and returned to the Wusum Hotel.
On the 1st of April, 2023, we visited the Lumley Beach Arts and Crafts market, where he bought local stuff and later went to Sierra Palms Hotel at Aberdeen. He met with the Ambassadors of the PK Memorial School (Alumni). After the meeting, we took snapshots and returned to their respective homes. We spent the night at the Sierra Palms Hotel, checked out at 1 p.m., and went to Lungi International Airport.
On the 2nd of April, 2023, I accompanied him to the airport for his return to the United States. We hugged each other and took snapshots before he left. In all of this, I am very happy and appreciate Gibril Sorie Mansaray MBA for the privilege, love, and genuine support.