Freetown, Baby!

Vintage by jc2010sl
November 11, 2010, 2:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Western attire is pretty much universal in Salone, at least among the locals. Printed T-shirts are particularly popular. Like the cars here, they seem to have been well-used in more developed countries before being sent to Africa to expire.

Most people have only a moderate grasp of English, which leads to some amusing sartorial choices. One of the ripped young guys working in our compound has a shirt with “Beer belly under construction” on the front. Another guard’s T-shirt asks the viewer to “Remind me again why I need a boyfriend?” My personal favourite though was worn by a man one coming out of a mosque. Its message? “Juicy Jew.”


Dress-down Fridays by jc2010sl
March 26, 2010, 3:40 pm
Filed under: society | Tags:

There have been suggestions from various quarters that your correspondent doesn’t actually do any work out here. Sure, there’s a lot of time spent on the beach, playing football, and of course having lunch, but there is plenty of work too. The content is a bit sensitive, hence my reticence on the subject, but I can reveal one Presidential preference.

Upon taking office in 2007, HE – His Excellency – as President Ernest Bai Koroma is known, declared Fridays to be African dress days. No one in the team had yet decked themselves out in traditional attire, and I was slightly concerned that it might be seen as patronising from an expat.

On advice from some Salone colleagues, though I was persuaded to get myself a shirt made up. I sourced some cloth from the market and was introduced to a tailor in Aberdeen by a friend. A week later; hey presto:

Spider Man

The reaction was overwhelmingly positive – people seemed to genuinely appreciate the effort that I’d made to do things as a local.

It also led to one of the typically odd encounters here where I met with an elderly functionary who’d spent several years in England. There was he, in a tweed jacket with elbow patches enquiring “How do you do?” in an impeccable 1950s BBC accent, while I was in my spiderman outfit asking “Ow di body?”

I’m not sure which of us was the more peculiar.