Sierra Leone: Part 2 – Holiday Destination


I love going back to Sierra Leone because it’s a great place for me to rest and relax.

If you want to visit Sierra Leone, rest assured that all your needs will be taken care of. Tourists are treated like kings and queens, they don’t have to do anything but enjoy. From the moment you leave airport to getting the boat from the airport to Freetown to the moment you enter my accommodation, there are multiple people wanting to hold your bags, give you water, help you. Its ridiculous. My mum calls it lazy culture, she says people get lazy if they stay for too long because they get used to it.

Also be aware that not everyone wants to help out of kindness, some people want to be tipped, so make sure you have some leones with you. If we tip, we usually tip around 5,000 – 10,000 leones, which is 50p to £1.

For example, when I’m in the car and I want to buy roasted corn, but the corns are 10 footsteps away, people (and by people I mean locals who are about in the street) offer to go and buy it for me so I don’t have to walk. It’s the same with directions, people don’t just direct you, they take you there, they get in your car and direct you the whole way, before making their own way to where they were going. Its great.

Public transport

As a tourist you would want to get around and visit different parts of the city. You could hire a car and a private driver, or you could use public transport.

We have 4 different public transportation. The first is buses, which are called poda poda in krio.  Poda podas have always been in Sierra Leone as far as I can remember, and it is a very popular method of transport. Unlike the UK, these buses are not all uniform, they have different names, lights, patterns, designs, different sizes. They even have American school buses (the yellow ones with the ‘School Bus’ sign) that is used as a poda poda.

The second are taxis, which are yellow and they remind me of New York taxis but with a different design. They have no special name.

The next one is the motor cycles. These are called ocada. They are the fastest form of transport as they can wiggle through traffic. They’re fast and easy, and fun to try out.

The final one is keekee, these are recent additions to Sierra Leonian streets and are from India. The drivers are impatient as they want to wiggle through traffic like the ocadas but are not always successful as they are bigger than ocadas.


If you do visit, I suggest getting on each of these public transport just to experience them. I personally prefer the keekees (pictured above).

Beaches

The beaches are absolutely stunning in Sierra Leone. We have stretches and stretches of sand all around the coast. We have yellow and white sand beaches. Most beaches have the ocean on one side, and the mountains as a back drop.


Tourist season is November and December, so if you visit in late January or February, the beaches are empty and so peaceful. My uncle lives 10 minutes walk from the beach and goes jogging on the beach every day, whilst my cousins go there to play football.


Landscape

Sierra Leone is a very mountainous country. There is never a moment when you’re not viewing the mountains or the valleys. It’s absolutely wonderful.


The views are magnificent. Below is the view from my house, that I woke up to every day.

On one side is the river and on the other is mountains.

We also have palm trees everywhere, which makes the views all the more beautiful.

Markets

There is a market on almost every street is Freetown. Its one of the things I love and hate. It means that the streets are always busy and heavy with traffic. The main markets are in the centre near Victoria Park. There’s markets on Malama Thomas street, and Goodrich Street. You can buy anything from fresh fish, to bangles, to lace, to slippers.

Top Tips:

  • Only drink bottled water, western stomach do not take well to local water.
  • Never pay the asking price in markets, haggle haggle haggle.
  • People love to beep their horns – so be prepared for excessive noise.
  • Try the local cuisine, especially sea food.
  • Make sure you eat at Crown Bakery and Lagoonda (which has an amazing view)
  • Most importantly, enjoy!!

Thank you for reading.

Sierra Leone: Part 1 – Culture

For my first trip of 2019, I visited Sierra Leone, the country I call home. It was am amazing trip and I already miss it. I miss the sunshine, the people, the clothes and most importantly the food. My posts on Sierra Leone has been spilt into 2 parts, part 1 is the culture, and part 2 is Sierra Leone as a holiday destination. Today I’ll be focusing on culture and tomorrow I’ll focus on the holiday aspects of it.

Introduction:

Sierra Leone is a small country off the coast of west Africa. We are bordered by Guinea, Liberia and the Atlantic Ocean. We have a population of 7.5 million people (less that the population of London). Our capital city is called Freetown, because this was the place that freed slaves were sent to.

People:

Like in every country, people come in different shapes and sizes, different personalities and characters, but there is one trait that I think is found in most sierra Leonian.

We are very religious, not in the ‘you must believe what I believe’ kind of way, but in a ‘we believe in God and will reference Him at every opportunity’ kind of way.

Sierra Leone has a Muslim majority and a Christina minority but that means nothing to most Sierra Leonians. Muslim children are sent to Catholic schools and vice versa. The only things that parents care about is the level of education, not the religion that runs it. On almost every bus that I saw there was a reference to religion whether it was ‘Jesus is Lord’ or ‘May Allah forgive us all’, it was there.

Muslim and Christian intermarriage/ conversion is a common thing. Our culture is about people believing what they want to belief as long as it makes them into good people, no one will interject or oppose to it. In my family alone, there have been so many intermarriages and conversions that we have Mohammeds who are Christians and Marys who are Muslims. Its just who we are.

Our love of religion/ God is about freedom to be who you are. You won’t see many women wearing head scarfs for religious purposes, but you will see head ties at weddings as a cultural/ clothing thing.

Food:

Food is my absolute favourite part about being Sierra Leonian. I love love love the food. As a pescatarian, travelling arouns is usually hard for me, food wise, as there are usually limited options. However, in Sierra Leone, we love sea food and we have plenty of it.

We have fresh sea food caught on the day.

We have west African classics such as jollof rice.

The thing I miss most of all is the street food. I love Sierra Leonian street food.

From fresh fruits to whole meals.

This is my favourite street food, fried fish and cassava bread (which comes with a sauce).

Clothes:

As Sierra Leonians we love colour, we absolutely love bright, vibrant colours. And we love prints. I particularly love floral prints.

In Sierra Leone, there is a cotton cloth that women tie around their waist and wear like a skirt. It’s called a lappa.

The lappa comes in different colours and prints. Its worn by teenagers, mother and grandmothers. The younger women usually wear a blouse and lappa together (as shown in the picture). Whereas older women in their homes just wear the lappa and tie it over their breast (although in some villages they don’t, and just have their breasts hanging out – but this is in their homes and it’s usually very old women that do this).

We also have different kinds of materials.

This is a picture of all the clothes I got made. I love the gold lace material.

We have lace, cotton, nylon, wax and other kinds of clothes. Lace is the most expensive material, and cotton is the cheapest. Lace is usually reserved for weddings, birthdays and special events, not something you would wear to meet a friend for coffee.

Our love for colourful print is also shown in furniture.


This is just a taste of Sierra Leonian culture, if you have any questions and want to know anything else about the culture, please comment below.

P.S: I will not be posting my usual writing challenge post for Day 42, or Day 43, and as I will be posting my travel writing instead. I will continue my 365 days writing challenge on Day 44 (Feb 12th).


Thank you for reading.

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