Tag Archives: Independance

Diamonds not forever

Mixing at the Mix Point

My local is the Mix Point it’s run by a young guy called Malcolm, he’s a nice guy and he seems to like Whitney Houston and Cher quite a lot.

I headed up there on Sunday night for a couple of Star Beers. I’m on my own at first then a one eyed chap rocks up and orders a fruit wine. He’s a teacher called Dennis that was brought up and educated by the Christian Brothers an organisation of missionaries who educate young orphans.

So he got an education that he wouldn’t have otherwise received and is now a teacher, circle of life, Elton John and all that. Lovely.

Anyway, we got chatting and interestingly he was quite strongly pro-British and had an incredible knowledge of British history which he was disappointed to tell me has been dropped from the curriculum. He was also quite strongly against Scottish independence especially as he believed that the fact that Sierra Leone’s relatively similar, small size, was holding it back.

We moved onto the local education system, I was especially curious as a nice lad on our street has written us a letter asking if we’ll pay for his school fees. It seems that here primary education (up to the age of 11) is free but secondary education you pay for. I asked him how many girls go on to secondary education- not many. He then explained that there are forms that you can get to apply to have your fees paid for from certain funds (the UN has a fund) so I’m going to see if I can help Musa instead of just paying for one term for one person in a street of people that need help.

 

Is ma 10% not good enough for you?!

 

I’ve been told that missionaries over here don’t speak to other white people, I’m not sure why but it definitely feels like an instruction rather than personal, individual rudeness.

It makes me really tempted to doorstep the Mormons round the corner.

One of them’s a particularly fat American that I always see chasing weans about the place.

Might see what he thinks of my ‘99 Problems But A Mitt Ain’t One’ t-shirt.

 

Pub orienteering

It’s a pretty small path across a small bridge and through a small wooded area from mine to the Mix Point, if you hit the paddy fields you know you’ve gone wrong.

The thing that always makes me laugh is that the at one point my major ‘location marker’ is some termite mounds and I always feel like I’m in a cartoon as I desperately shine my torch around looking for some termite mounds to guide me home.

 

Checkpoint Charlie

Beside some of the nice beaches you pay for parking (5,000 Leones) which is fair enough as you’re basically parking in someone’s backyard. You also get little pikin checkpoints where little boys stretch rope across the road and ask for money.

At the beach beside Franco’s the little boys dance which is really funny all these little boys dancing in the street enjoying the sunshine. You really think that, at times, even with all the problems it must be a great place to be a kid.

But where are the little girls?

Oh yes, there they are trudging around with massive jerry cans of water on their heads…

 

Diamonds not forever

One thing that’s been confusing me about Bo is that there’s loads of diamond dealerships but no real signs of obvious wealth; certainly not wealth that you would associate with such a lucrative trade.

So I asked Dennis about it.

Seemingly at one point there were so many diamonds around that in the rainy season it wouldn’t be unknown for a diamond to wash up on the street but excessive mining to pay for weapons during the civil war has meant that the money made that could have been used for infrastructure was used for arms and that one off chance, for this area at least, has gone.

 

That seems fair

Someone with an import certificate will give you $700 for those diamonds that you’ve spent hours, days, weeks, months or years scrabbling in the earth to find.

Someone with an import certificate will sell them in on for $1,500 as soon as you’ve walked out the door.

 

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