I’ve started and stopped to write on here for months. I was either too busy with school/life or was simply not ‘feeling it’ to finish anything. I think now is as good a time as ever to catch you up.
I’m sending this from Sierra Leone, West Africa, or ‘Salone’ as the locals call it. More specifically I am in the town of Makeni, which lies in the center of the country. I’m interning with an organization called WorldFish that aims to help small-scale fish farmers build capacity and, hopefully, increase their food security and income as a result. I’m nearing the one-month mark and have two months remaining. It’s safe to say that I have a ton of silly memories already and it truly feels as though I’ve been here much longer than I have, something someone else reiterated to me at dinner the other night. *I don’t know if I should take that in a good or bad way? 🙂
Sweat is seeping from head to toe, and at times the combination of heat and humidity here is unbearable. Yet, like most everything else in life, you bear it. The people have been great. I wouldn’t call SL outwardly friendly, per se, but a lot of folks are willing to engage with you when you make the effort.
Krio is the national language and the accent is reminiscent of what I heard in Jamaica so many years ago. Incidentally, reggae is quite popular here, as is a lot of Nigerian dance music. Apparently Nigeria is a huge mecca of entertainment.
This past week my boss arrived from Zambia to hang out with Scott (the new project extension coordinator/my roommate) and me and fill us in on all the details of the operation. It was without a doubt my most fun week to date. Lots of interesting and insightful conversations were had, and the laughs kept coming!
I’ve been able to go on a number of site visits. There are five coverage areas with 200 fish ponds in total and each is at least an hour+ away from the office; often on some very…interesting dirt ‘roads.’ And speaking of travel, from my limited time here I’ve learned that motorbikes are by far the most efficient (and economical) means of getting about town. I recently joked with a friend back home that, as much as I’ve been on them, my buns will be more leather than skin by the time I leave. Many of the earlier rides, especially those on backroads during moonless nights, were both thrilling and nerve-racking. It’s funny how quickly the novel becomes the norm though, isn’t it?
I’ve spent nearly all my time in and around Makeni since my arrival, save an overnight stay in Freetown, but I hope to change that in the coming weeks. Smartphones are a big target for theft, so I don’t take mine out as much as I’d like. Still, I’ve managed a couple photos thus far. Enjoy! *attempted to put them in chronological order, but to no avail.