I have finally arrived in my hotel room in Sierra Leone, after an incredibly long and eventful journey. My trip began last night (Thursday 9th February), when our group travelled by train to London. It was quite an experience attempting to fit 24 people, who each have 46kg of luggage with them, onto a train! We arrived in London to snow falling and stayed overnight in a hotel. At the hotel I watched the documentary ‘The toughest place to be a fisherman’. This revealed the difficulties and the daily struggle, which local fishermen in Sierra Leone have to endure. I now will look at the fish in the local market in a different light. This morning we left the snowy scene in London behind and boarded our plane at Heathrow at 1.15pm. At 8pm we arrived at Lungi airport in Sierra Leone. Luckily, there is no time change between Sierra Leone and the U.K. When the humidity in Sierra Leone hit me, the snow in London was long forgotten.
At the boat terminal, I spent lots of time feeling relaxed and carefree, looking at banana plants. I clearly had no idea about what was next to come! The boat men called 8 people to board the next boat. Walking over the first couple of wooden bridges I was able to take in the idyllic scene of finishing boats lying on the sand. The floor began to become very slippy and I gripped the barrier tightly. Suddenly the safety barrier disappeared. In front of me were, all I can describe as giant rectangles of plastic that we had to cross. They were bobbing about violently from the waves and I became very aware of the 14kg bag filled with electronics, which was on my back. I clung onto a boat man to keep me from plunging into the water. I have no idea how these men were able to walk across these platforms, carrying our heavy suitcases on their heads!
After climbing onto the speed boat, we were told to put on flimsy lifejackets which had half of the tapes missing. This lifejacket certainly wouldn’t have saved me! After an exhilarating, wet and fast boat journey, we arrived at a newly built boat docking place. It struck me how much has changed since last year. Finally we were driven to our hotel to complete the last leg of our journey. We arrived after midnight, feeling tired, excited and nervous.