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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