A couple weeks ago Jeff Austin(left) and I went to Sierra Leone to check out Freetown. Jeff had been to Bo in Sierra Leone, but this was my first time in Sierra Leone. Jeff and I both really liked it. Freetown is at the base of some mountains right on the ocean. It’s a beautiful city, and the people were all very nice. In Monrovia it seems that there’s an underlying animosity and sense of entitlement in a lot of people, I didn’t get that feeling in Freetown. People still asked for stuff and hasseled us, but it was far less aggressive. Below are some of the pictures of are times in SL.
The roads in Freetown are much nicer than those in Monrovia. Granted, we didn’t go to some of the more run down parts of the city, but the major roads were notably lacking in potholes compared to the major roads in Monrovia. The run down parts of Monrovia aren’t even paved. At one point Jeff was talking with an expat in Freetown about the roads to Liberia. She went to great lengths to emphasize how bad they were. To which Jeff replied, “But you made it through right? So they can’t be that bad.” She then replied, “No, they were really bad.” Jeff lives in Harper in Liberia. Right now, in the rainy season, no automobile can drive to Harper, the roads are that bad. Thus, Jeff and I concluded that “bad roads” in Liberia and Sierra Leone mean different things. To the right is a picture of some of the wonderful roads in Freetown and in the background the green hills that the city is built on the side of. I really liked the hills, having all that vegetation in plain site on the hills helps to remind you that you’re in what should be a tropical paradise. While Freetown is a step up from Monrovia it’s still a little under developed. To the left is a picture of another thing I really liked about Freetown, street signs, again something rarely seen in Monrovia.
Another great part of Freetown was the architecture of the buildings, as seen from these two examples. Sierra Leone used to be a British colony at one point, and you can still see their influence in the structures they left behind. The building on the right is of the Justice Ministry. The one on the left is just some building I really liked. I’m sure it’s more important than that, but I’d just be making stuff up if I tried to guess its importance.
Another novelty Jeff and I enjoyed in Freetown was the public Library. As of yet I haven’t seen a public Library in Monrovia. There may be one, I just haven’t seen it. At any rate Jeff and I were way exited to sit and read for a bit. Naturally I found a mid spring 2008 Popular Science. I was really impressed that they had such an intelligent piece of literature. I caught up on the latest gadgets that wouldn’t work in Liberia because we don’t have power there. We stayed at the Library for a good 3 hours. It was wonderful.
One of the best parts of our time in Freetown was staying at the Faduma Guest house. The owner was a guy named Stone who worked for the Sierra Leonean department of corrections teaching fine arts to those spending their days behind bars. Stone was a very nice host. One day a young man was over to negotiate for his daughter. He was so excited he gave Jeff and I a free beer, what a guy. Stone was also a big fan of American politics. So much so that the night Barack Obama gave his speech at the DNC, Stone woke us up at 2:00am so we could all watch the speech. It was pretty cool seeing people in other countries so excited about American politics… in a positive way. This is much different than the time I came up from a French subway in the middle of an anti-Bush protest. Stone would watch American news and verbalize his agreement with Obama and Bidden’s speeches. He even talked with us about how ridiculous of a choice Palin is. It was a lot of fun talking with him. To the right is a picture of my room at the Faduma Guest House. The guest house is located at N8.48398, W13.26993.
Other highlights included the public park at the center of town and the many seafood dinners we had. A picture of the park is on the left. Again, public parks like this are something that don’t exist in Monrovia. The picture on the right is the Hard Rock Restaurant. The restaurant is located on a large, hard rock at the beach.