Freetown, Baby!

Home from home by jc2010sl
October 24, 2010, 7:43 pm
Filed under: photos, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Given that the initial settlers in the Western Area mostly came from British domains it’s hardly surprising that many of the place names have a familiar ring. Passing through Sussex, Hastings and Kent you could think you were on the South Coast. Some particularly patriotic settlers (for the Krio thought themselves most emphatically English subjects) named their village Waterloo. In all likelihood some of them had fought at the battle.

Street names in Freetown have similarly English rings to them. In Brookfields there is a “Beccles Street” – perhaps named after my home town?

I don’t think there is anything quite as exotic as a mosque in that particular corner of Norfolk though.

Even more incongruous is “Kingston-Upon-Hull Way” – the route that leads along the beach skirting West Freetown.

The oddest sign is at the other end of the beach road; a strange 1960s-looking concrete sculpture.

Herman Gmeiner was an Austrian philanthropist who set up a school for orphaned children in Lumley. As testaments go, it’s a fairly odd one, but strangely appropriate in this corner of the world.


That Sunday Feeling… by mabrajeux
September 26, 2010, 7:27 pm
Filed under: photos, society, travels | Tags: , , , ,

When I first moved to England, I loved the fact that shops are open on Sundays. I mean, what could be better than going shopping on a quiet Sunday when you haven’t had a chance to do in the week, not to mention the fact that you would never have to go milk-less again…
I never really bought the argument that Sundays should be saved up for family time or, in a more general way, non consumerist activities… But then I have to admit that there is something really amazing about the centre of Freetown on a Sunday afternoon.
We wondered there a few weekends ago to check the first church established by settlers in 1792 (that is one of the hazards of living with a historian…) and were completely shocked at what we saw, or rather didn’t see… The pavements, which are bustling with all sorts of vendors and peddlers in the week were entirely deserted and the streets, which are normally rammed full of cars, motorcycles, poda podas and the occasional livestock (check the photo on the home page for an illustration…) were empty but for a group of children playing football!

Lovely weather, isn’t it? by mabrajeux
August 22, 2010, 7:36 pm
Filed under: nature - wildlife, photos | Tags: , , , ,

True to that eternal British cliché, people here in Freetown have been talking of little else than the weather and the rain. Or lack thereof…

The rainy season in Sierra Leone hits its yearly peak in August before moving to more sporadic showers in September, yet yesterday was spent on the beach sunning ourselves between two dips in the ocean with nothing but a light drizzle to disturb us when it should by rights have been pouring down. Although last year’s August record was a whopping 2 week uninterrupted downpour, so far we’ve only managed maybe one and half days… It will probably still eventually hit us and local people have predicted that September will probably be much worse.

In the meantime, when it does come, the rain remains fairly spectacular, especially in the hilly geography of the Freetown peninsula. A 10 minute walk can take you from foggy rain to sunny delights just by going up or downhill and some areas of the town have been flooded for a few days after a particularly heavy day of rain. And if you are caught in one of the downpours, well, let’s just say my trusty wellies have come in extremely handy, especially as I try to negotiate leaving my flat:


The tough streets of Kenema… by mabrajeux
June 8, 2010, 5:24 pm
Filed under: photos, public life, travels, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Here’s a few pics I took to document the street gangs of Kenema, the third largest city of Sierra Leone…

Kenema's feared street gang...

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Street Scenes of Freetown… by mabrajeux
February 8, 2010, 7:29 am
Filed under: photos | Tags: ,

Had my first walk around Freetown with my camera the other day, and I thought I’d let the pictures speak for themselves…

Downtown Freetown

East End of Freetown

Kryo houses near Hill Station