Gallery 2008 - Freetown
Thursday 11th December 2008
Freetown is very busy, very buzzy and very friendly with everyone wanting to shake hands and say hello. After a few minutes of being "English" and pretending to look the other way we soon adjusted to the new culture (as we had the new climate) and started getting in first with the greetings!
On our first full day we met David Sandi who had travelled from Koidu, Kono district to meet us. It was appropriate to meet David and Yatta at a café in Wilberforce Street, reminding us of Lord Wilberforce's work here and elsewhere as a slave trade abolitionist over 200 years ago.
Despite the fact that Freetown has a large population of around 2.5 million Yatta seems to know so many people. He asked us to join him to visit Herbert Williams, the newly elected Mayor of Freetown. We had a good discussion which began with football – it's funny how football is such a universal language for finding common ground (and common "enemies") the world over. It seems everyone in Africa wants to beat Nigeria, over in Britain – well everyone wants to see England get beat (except the English)!
We asked him what his single most important issue is to him as Mayor. In a single word he said "SANITATION". Richard's jaw dropped, as being a civil engineer that was an extremely uncomfortable answer to the question. Looking at the open sewers, cramped refugee housing and landfill site located within the centre of the city it is easy to understand the Mayor's predicament.