After a taxi, 2 planes, a bus, a boat and another car journey I finally made it to the house I will be staying at in Freetown. I will be here for one week before I go to Makeni where I will be working.
There are no direct flights to Sierra Leone from the UK so I had to transit in Paris. Unfortunately my flight to Freetown left late so I arrived an hour later than scheduled. On arrival in Freetown I noticed that the airport was such nicer than when I was here last in 2013. There was a little tussle getting my luggage from the carousel but otherwise I got out fairly easily. At the airport I was met by a friendly man named Baibai sent by VSO to get me onto the boat.
The way it works is that you buy a ticket from the seaport ticket booth, they will take your luggage and give you a ticket number and they send your luggage ahead on another boat and you pick it up in Freetown. You then take your ticket and get on a little bus which will take you from the airport to the seaport.
On the bus I remembered one of the reasons I love Africa, the night sky. I have lived in London my entire life and where I live you think it amazing if you see more than 2 stars in the sky and half the time it’s a plane anyway. But in Sierra Leone, even in a busy bustling city like Freetown the sky is filled with stars. For a city girl like me it is an amazing sight and one that makes you realise how small we really are.
Once you get to the seaport you then take a boat which will take you across to Aberdeen, Freetown. I got the boat after 8pm. It was a very bumpy ride and the poor girl next to me looked like she was going to vomit. Luckily she didn’t and neither did I. The boat was small but modern and everyone was chatting to the people they were seated with. I met a British Lebanese woman who had moved to Sierra Leone a year ago after getting married. There is a large Lebanese community here who mostly work in business. Her aunt lives in Makeni and she told me it was a nice city and that a new big supermarket just opened. A bit pricy for the locals but seemed cheap compared to what we have in the UK. I also met another Brit who was originally from Freetown. He recently retired as a mental health nurse in Camden and has come back to Freetown for 3 months to see his family and get away from our cold, wet winters. He too commented on how Makeni is an up and coming city. That’s 2 people commending Makeni. Great start!
Once we got our feet on solid land again we grabbed our bags showing our ticket numbers to get out. Here I was picked up by Umar who works for VSO. He took me to the house VSO puts volunteers in for the week while we go through induction. There is no electricity tonight due to a power cut which sadly happens often in Freetown but not so much in Makeni thankfully.
VSO have arranged my room with new bedding and a mosquito net and my bed looks very welcoming even in the dark. I was pretty shattered as I had woken up at 5am this morning. I don’t care that there is no power, I call my mum to say I have arrived and then I fall asleep.