Thursday, 31 January 2013

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is home to one of the nicest peoples on earth.

The welcome and the humanity are breathtaking. They have the greatest beaches in West Africa and without doubt  the best snapper and chips anywhere.

Sierra Leone also had one of the worst  mortality rate in the world - dead before  40 was not uncommon and that was before the arrival of the RUF .

Almost every  time I collected my team up to go to the field someone has died. It was simply tragic, These were really bright people of graduate standard with huge potential and it was all over for them before they really got into their stride.

 village blacksmith using hand bellows
I was based around Lunsar on a swamp rice programme with  Liberia busily arming the RUF near the border in return for the wretched diamonds.

Diamonds are the curse of this country because of their alluvial deposition. In other places you simply fence off an area, guard it and dig a hole. Here they can be found across river beds, often near the surface - anyone can find a diamond, although only a few of the well connected will really benefit.

The British army did the most outstanding job to stabilise the horrors of what the RUF did to this country

Today everything has changed, which is a mixed blessing. There are  construction programmes which are great for the economy but concerning for the environment especially the beaches. Sierra Leone needs to quickly get a grip before it ends up with similar problems to Cox's Bazaar in Bangladesh.