Brynjulf Ystgaard

When did you stay at Masanga?
Several times from 2009 onwards…

What was your motivation for going to Masanga?
We’ve been searching for a suitable venue for health-related developmental work, preferably in Africa, in contrast to the more emergency type of work I’m doing with the Red cross/Red crescent movement.

What was your first meeting with Masanga like?
A positive experience, with kind, welcoming, but poor people. The hospital had great potential, but needed improvement in areas. A lot of work has been done since then, and the place is hardly recognisable.

What was your main duties while at the hospital?
The aim of the first trip was assessment and evaluation, both of Masanga and of Sierra Leone. Later, teaching and training of our CHOs has been the focal points.

What have you learned from this experience?
Getting to know people in Sierra Leone, and West Africa. Being able to implement a health program that might be of great benefit to the people of Sierra Leone. Gaining insight into the working condition of a West African country.

What is your advice to others that are thinking about going to Sierra Leone and Masanga?
Go there with an open mind. Whatever you do, make sure that teaching and training is part of it. We’re there to make them able to take care of themselves, going there just to provide a service will make very little difference. And remember, even though it doesn’t look that way, Sierra Leone is on the same planet as Norway. Go back 150 years, and Norway would have looked the same, just colder. And there is unspoiled beauty in the mountains and beaches of Sierra Leone, make sure you enjoy that as well.