Beside Freetown’s festering seaside

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Gaze out from the water’s edge at Kroo Bay and you see a typical West African seaside vista.

It’s not picture postcard exactly but attractive enough, with traditional wooden fishing vessels rounding a coastline punctuated by cotton trees and the odd leaning palm.

But this is no place for a picnic.HPIM1471-1.jpg

Turn 180 degrees and you’ll take in the rusting metal roofs of tiny slum dwellings that house somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 people. Continue reading

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Climbing Mount Bintumani

Another visitor, another excuse to explore further afield.

Rather than a relaxing tour of the Western Peninsular beaches, my old uni mate Jody fancied climbing a mountain.

Not just any mountain. At 1,948m Bintumani is the highest peak between Cameroon and Morocco. And it’s a long way from anywhere sizeable enough to be called a town. Continue reading

The importance of eating buns

Wherever we are in the world and no matter how adventurous or varied our lives, I suspect we all crave a bit of routine.

We need an anchor to hold us steady as we negotiate life’s highs and lows, pegging us to a state of relative “normality”.

For us, that anchor comes in the shape of buns.

Continue reading

Grim realities

It’s been a week that’s highlighted some sad realities about life in Sierra Leone.

Firstly, we heard two vehicles had been stolen during a break-in at the One With The Common Sense’s office.

Worse, however, was finding out later that one of the night watchmen had been killed in the robbery. Men armed with machetes – or cutlasses, as they call them here – had tied him up and strangled him. Continue reading