Transafrica 2018 STOP 15

May 21, 2018

Monrovia – Freetown

Flight distance: 242 nm
Hours in the air: 0.36

The land of everything

There was significant traffic getting out of Monrovia on the way to the airport which was 35 miles to the south. That and an unprepared handler were the reasons for a late take-off. We wanted to be there timely since our next guest was waiting for us at the next destination. The Freetown airport is located on an peninsula opposite the city which is very hilly. The fasted way to get to the hotel was by watertaxi and around 1pm we finally met Eric, Rainers son.

The afternoon tour through the 2 million city Freetown was more of the same we have seen the last few days. The ocean and the beaches are really nice but once we hit downtown we were right back into African despair. Our tour guide made an interesting remark which says a lot. “Sierra Leone has everything from great weather, beautiful beaches and all kinds of resources but our politicians take it all themselves”.

Living conditions for the vast majority is poor if not dismal, everybody tries to get by by selling something on the street and there seems to be an endless amount of these shopping streets around.

On the second day we took a boat tour to Bunce Island, 30 km up the Sierra Leone River, another site of slave trade. Most of the ruins are perched under trees and scrubs, yet the evidence of active time from the 16 hundreds to 1808 is still evident. The site is in even worse condition than Cape Coast Castle in Ghana and is awaiting a government that will restore it, apparently the required money is sitting somewhere to be utilized!

Facts & figures

A tropical country on the coast of West Africa, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in south west, by Liberia in south east and it is half surrounded by Guinea in north and north east.

In the late 18th and early 19th century the region around Freetown was used by the British to ‘resettle’ freed slaves, London’s “Black Poor”, and many African American refugees from the American Revolution. Sierra Leone was since 1808 a British Crown Colony, the country gained independence in 1961. Today it is the poorest nation in the Commonwealth.

With an area of 71,740 km² the country is just slightly larger than Ireland or slightly smaller than the U.S. state of South Carolina. The country’s landscape offers a flat coastal belt, the eastern half of the nation is covered by hills and high mountains, part of the Guinea highlands, Mount Bintumani (1,948 m) within the Loma mountains in Koinadugu (Northern Province) is the highest peak in the country. Main rivers are the Tai river, the Sewa (Sew), and the Moa River.

Sierra Leone has a population of 7 million people (census 2015), its largest city, chief port and capital is Freetown, the city is situated in north west of the country at the coast of the North Atlantic Ocean. Sierra Leone is a Muslim majority country, with the overall Muslim population at 78% of the population, though there is an influential Christian minority of various denominations at about 21% of the population.

Sierra Leone is regarded as one of the most religiously tolerant nations in the world. Muslims and Christians collaborate and interact with each other very peacefully. Religious violence is very rare in the country. The major Christian and Muslim holidays are officially public holidays in the country, including Christmas, Easter, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

In politics, the overwhelming majority of Sierra Leoneans vote for a candidate without regard to whether they are a Muslim or a Christian. Almost all of Sierra Leone’s Heads of State have been Christians. Sierra Leone has a large population of people with more secular lifestyles, both Christian and Muslim.

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