The eLuma team is back in Sierra Leone …
After a long trip through Casablanca and Monrovia, Paul and Anna landed at Lungi airport shortly before sunrise on January 5th. They had to wait several hours until the day’s first ferry took them to Freetown, where they exchanged a few hundred dollars for a couple million Leones and started work right away. Edward met them at the LHF office and joined them to do some preliminary research on materials for the eLuma Development Center. After a great Lebanese lunch, they headed to the Ministry of Finance in order to get clearance for the containers that will serve as the Center’s main structure. Unfortunately this wasn’t successful and the team finally headed to the beach for a well deserved dinner and rest.
The next day the team headed out to Ecobank in order to discuss plans for their future branch at the eLuma Development Center. The bank’s officials were hesitant to fully commit to opening a branch given that there might not be a large enough market. Its now up to our team to research further and build a solid case to present to them. The next meeting went much better. This one was with Abu Multi-Kamara, the founder of Emanem Investment. Abu will supply us with reliable lights that will help us expand the rental light business model that we piloted last summer. Anna and Paul then went to greet Emily at the airport, who landed after a long delay at 3 am.
On Saturday, the team went to pick up the lights from Abu after breakfast with Greta, from the LHF. It was slightly more complicated than expected given some confusion with additional taxes, but concluded successfully after a long negotiation. With Emily on board, the team was ready to head to Yele. They stopped at Makeni, to check out a market where containers are being used as shops. The team learned a lot from this market, built by the Christian mission, and continued their way to Yele. After dinner and a long day, the lights went off and the team finally got some sleep.