When I first landed in Freetown International Airport, I had the honor of being welcomed by Mr. Donald Ola Smart, who's position at Mountain Lion Agriculture (MLA) I was not sure of at that time. However, while we were driving back to Makeni, the capital of the northern province and where MLA's headquarters are, he talked at length about Sierra Leone’s past history and his commitment to the reintegration into society of the civil war’s ex-combatants (a deadly conflict that Sierra Leone suffered from 1991 to 2001). I also soon grasped that he is actually the CEO of MLA...Continue Reading >>
Stories tagged with sierra leone
November 7th was the 1 year anniversary of the end of Ebola in Sierra Leone. Everyone in the streets stood still for 3 minutes at 11am to both remember and rejoice.... Continue Reading >>
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As a young man, Tejan had long dreamed of being a professional soccer player. For fifteen years, he played with one of Sierra Leone’s top teams, the first division Regent’s Olympic. But even as a star defender and captain of his team, his earnings, essentially a portion of what was taken at the entrance gate, were seldom enough to make ends meet.
In 2002, deciding to supplement his income, Tejan apprenticed with a local tailor, learning the highly... Continue Reading >>
Rivers of people and goods spill over from makeshift sidewalks into oncoming cars and motorcycle taxis that weave in and out of each other amid an endless din of beeping horns.
Hawkers hiss and suck their teeth to get your attention. Loudspeakers on an endless loop announce, “Voucher, Voucher, Top-up, Top-up, Afri-cell, Airtel, Top-up, Top-up." A man calls, “Passport photo, passport photo,” in your ear, his... Continue Reading >>
To make the dream stick, I enrolled in a development work preparatory course held on weekends in an old Georgian building.
“First will come the honeymoon period,” the facilitator warned, in a class on cultural immersion. “Then culture shock, then adaptation. Finally, when you return home, there will be some reverse culture shock.”
The dream stuck and the plan worked out. I have been working in Sierra Leone as a Kiva Fellow since February, helping the... Continue Reading >>
The website of a foreign-owned diamond mining company in Sierra Leone states, "Our Diamonds Doing Good: Follow our progress as we demonstrate that responsible and sustainable diamond mining can - and will - elevate and empower the people, the economy, and the country of Sierra Leone."
During my second week in Sierra Leone as a Kiva Fellow, I visited Kono district where this company - among others - bases its operations, and if this trip has taught me anything, it is that there is little evidence that diamond mining has brought any...