Saturday, 12 February 2011

Saturday 12th Feb

Today has been a lovely ending to a fantastic week. We drove through Freetown to get to Waterloo, instead of driving on the bumpy back roads. This was very eye opening. I have never seen so many people in such a crowded space, going about their daily lives. Everywhere you looked, there were hundreds of people selling random items. The sheer amount of people selling goods made me wonder if people are able to make enough money to live off.  We also drove past the famous willow tree.

We ended up in a traffic jam for hours following a car accident, which happened on the main road. During this drive we were able to see the houses that people live in. We drove past a shanty town. The housing is so cramped and dirty. All we could see is the roofs of the shacks touching and absolutely no open space. It’s astonishing to think that people are able to live in such conditions. On the drive I also got to see mud huts that people had made. The people here are extremely resourceful and excellent at building structures. The scaffolding here is made from bamboo sticks!!

Today was the final day of the literacy festival. Children from my school were there to perform and it was lovely seeing them all. Teachers from Bassa Town had bought me a bag of bananas and cucumbers. I got told off by a man because my children were noisy, talking to me and telling me to ‘snap them’. These children are incredible; they had been sat since 8am until 12pm, quietly with nothing to entertain them. Children here take such care of their uniforms and belongings. They are so proud of their uniforms and they are always spotlessly clean, despite the fact they have to wash in the dirty rivers. A teacher from Bassa Town who had attended my workshop yesterday, said she had gone home and found her copy of Owl Babies. She said she is going to teach it to her class next week, which was lovely to hear.

Following a quick stop at an army base, we then went to visit Kent Beach. This was an absolutely stunning beach, with a horrific history. Two volunteers spoke to us about the history of the beach. People were brought to Kent Beach to be held and shipped to Banana Island. From here they would then be shipped to other countries (including Liverpool!) to be sold as slaves. Looking at the slave house was awful. The slaves were kept underneath the master’s house in awful conditions. In this tiny room, with minimal ventilation, 500 people were chained up. I was unable to stand up in this room as it was so small.

On the beach, hundreds of students arrived to sleep overnight and have a party. The atmosphere was lovely. We then got to meet a group of trainee teachers, who were carrying out research. They were lovely to talk to.
After a long drive back through the hustle and bustle of Freetown, we arrived back at the hotel and I had a much needed rest. Today our driver Mohammed played the song Heal the world by Michael Jackson, constantly on repeat. This song will now always remind me of my time spent in Sierra Leone. At dinner time, we had dinner with a second group of teachers who arrived from Liverpool last night. Staff at the hotel were very interested in the bells that Ian had bought, from the war wounded community.

This week has been an incredible; I have experienced so much kindness and warmness from the people I have had the pleasure to meet.  The past 8 days have been jam packed with laughter and smiles.  Despite the extreme poverty in this country, this week has been full of happiness and joy. I have so many amazing memories from my time spent in Sierra Leone.
I would like to thank the people I have spent this week with;
Ian from St John’s,
Pat, Clare and Adele from English Martyrs,
Eddie, Jenny and Chris, teachers from Maricourt,
Robyn, Sam and Charlotte, students from Maricourt,
Anne, Early Years specialist,
I have enjoyed every minute spent with this wonderful group of people. I can't wait until next year  when I can experience this adventure all over again!


  1. Amazing! thanks for doing this blog. Have loved reading it.Its made me "google" loads re Sierra Leone, the war, the slave trade etc...
    Can't wait to see you and hear about your week in depth.
    ps. "google earthed" Kent beach...stunning!
    Thanks again. love m x

  2. Have a safe journey home Clairey. You've had an amazing wk by the looks of it. Can't wait to see you. Have missed you so much.
    I'm so so proud of you my heart could burst!!... i can say this.. i'm your mum. see you tomorrow xxxxxxxxxx

  3. What an adventure!
    I think it is sometimes too easy to forget about the struggles and hardships other countries go through. I like the way you've put it across and it seems like a real eye opening experience.

    Glad you enjoyed it! :-)

  4. Hi Claire, my name is Paul, I'm a friend of your Auntie Berni's, she suggested I have a read of your blog. It sounds like you had an amazing time, it will probably make you look at the world in a different way. You've taken some great photo's and I loved the way the kids reacted to your books and read them to each other:)
    I bet oyu can't wait to go back!?.