Tag Archives: Sakia Stevens

Why always us?

Chimp magic

Now THAT'S magic

Now THAT’S magic

Went to Tacugama chimp sanctuary on the edges of Freetown. It’s about an hour out of town but it really does feel like you’re in the rainforest, staying in a tree house was pretty special as well; lying in a hammock on the balcony listening to the chimps talk to each other down below.


No early release

Of the estimated 5,000 chimps still in Sierra Leone 104 are in Tacugama. Most of them have been rescued from being pets and the theory is that the chimps go through stages from quarantine, to introduction to a small group, to introduction to the larger group and then released back in to the wild.

The problem that they have is that the market for bush meat is still massive either as a delicacy or as an important source of protein so it’s difficult to see how they will get to the point of releasing them, they spoke of increased help from the government as regards protection, post release, but it’s hard to see how feasible that is given the expanse that chimps in the wild roam across and the difficulty of telling a hungry man what he can and can’t eat.

Why always us?

Tacugama was started when an idiot ex-pat Jock abandoned a pet chimp that they didn’t know what to do with…

Man strength

Chimps in the wild have a fear of man (probably unsurprising, we have guns) but growing up in Tacugama they have no such fear, I guess as man is bringing them food they see man as sub-servient. This is an issue as a fully grown chimp has the strength of five men so any release would have to be well away from any villages

There was a big break out from Tacugama a few years back and when a taxi driver got out of his cab five chimps tore him limb from limb.


I’m a soul man

Chimps are incredibly close to humans as regards DNA, think that they said 98.4%, it’s amazing to see how similar their facial expressions are, they look like wise old men. And when the stand erect they really do just look like quite hairy men.

The taxi driver that took us up said that chimps are EXACTLY the same as us, except that they have no soul.


Not big, not clever, not legal

Monkey Mitt

Monkey Mitt

Some guys I know run a company (that I won’t name) and all live in one big house.

There’s a lot of testosterone in that house.

A local came round to sell them a monkey called Mitt. They bought the monkey and now have a monkey that they don’t know what to do with. If you knew them this wouldn’t greatly surprise you.

Of course the monkey wasn’t called Mitt what they were being sold was meat.

So they now have a pet monkey called ‘meat’.

Could they not get hold of Champs League tickets?

There’s a competition to win prizes with Star beer at the moment. You can flip open your bottle top to instantly (presumably they don’t just appear) win goats, motorbikes, generators, money, more Star Beer or Europa League Final tickets.

I’m almost certain that I’m going to win a goat.


Axle Folly

Someone said that they could never work out why people don’t push their cars into the side when they break down. It’s often because the axle has just completely buckled.




Mami an Dadi Bizness

The famous Scouse wit

Got the following text:

Um, Catriona is being towed home by a water tanker….maybe call her to check she’s Ok.

So I call her and she says she’s OK but she’s at Bottom Mango which is near where I live anyway. I’m going to repeat that I live quite near to Bottom Mango. Pretty cool, eh? Anyway she’s says she’s OK and some local fitters are looking into the problem so I put the phone down.

But it’s quite late and it’s dark and Bottom Mango is pretty busy with ocardo drivers and the like and it’s pretty boring waiting for your car to be fixed so, like a Jock Saint Bernard, I wander down with a couple beers.

When I got down there she was right in the middle of a pretty persistent marriage proposal.

Those Scouse birds just won’t take ‘no’ for an answer….


Gosh Sakia I’ve got all your records*

Sakia Stevens street is the main street in Freetown it is named after the first post-independence President of Sierra Leone. By all accounts he was a dictator and a tyrant who ruled by fear and extorted what he could from the country for his own personal gain.

Which is why I feel bad that when I walk down Sakia Stevens street I always find myself humming ‘This Ole House’….

*Reference: Billy the Fish courtesy of Viz Comics


Shouty shouty

They’re very shouty in Sierra Leone, I’m often in the factory when I hear a bit of shouty.

Shouty problem? Don’t think so.

Shouty angry? Nope.


Hurray, shouty happy!


Old boys always have good chat

Auntie Hannah’s husband shouted me over yesterday morning, I’ve said mornin-o and evenin-o a lot but not more than that. We had a short chat about his trip to Edinburgh in 1974 and when I have more time I’ll go across and sit on the stoop and talk some more about it.

Talking to the older generation here is very interesting but also very sad. They are much better educated than the younger generation, better English, better travelled and more interesting. Honestly, when you talk to some of the old boys over here there’s a sparkle in their eyes as they remember the country that they grew up in and times past.

It must have been soul destroying for them to have had to sit and watch their country being destroyed as first their children and then their grandchildren were denied the education and opportunity that had been afforded to them as a basic human right.

There’s really nothing sadder than human regression on the scale that you see in Sierra Leone.

But the roots of recovery are definitely here and I hope a lot of them live long enough to see their great grandchildren begin to have the opportunities that were taken for granted by them in the 1970s before being so needlessly stolen from the generations that came after.

Form over function

The beds here are really amazing, hand made ornate beds. Not to my taste per se but when you see the guys making them by hand by the side of the road it’s pretty impressive and I’m sure that they could turn their had to whatever took your fancy.

The backs have mirrors, ornate carving, drawers, upholstered headboards- whatever you want really. They look really well made with care, attention and craftsmanship.

Under the mattress and placed across this carefully made and ornate frame are a collection of sticks of different lengths, widths and thicknesses. It’s like the important thing about a bed is what it looks like, not how comfortable it is and, therefore, the wood under the mattress doesn’t matter at all.

At night if two fall through to the floor I just leave it but when a third does I get up and sort it in case the next thing falling through the bed-frame is me…


Oranges don don

Food is very seasonal here and the orange season is coming to an end so the days of biting the top off oranges and drinking the juice are now gone.

Roll on cashew nut season….


Krio Lesson II

Sex in krio is Mami an Dadi Bizness.

If only French had been this easy to learn at school.