Tehmoendor Takes On Sierre Leone

I deeply inhaled the moist, warm air and took in the bountiful sight of the morning sun breaking through the amber sky.  “Paradise,” I thought. 

What country did you travel to?
Sierra Leone

Think back to the country you visited. Describe 24 hours of your time there? Sights, sounds, atmosphere, foods.
The very first day I spent in Salone I woke up excited to meet the sunrise. I went out of my Aunt’s 1 acre compound, was let out of the front gate by the groundkeepers and walked a short 100 yards to the beach –- this beach was literally in the backyard of their Bungalow in the capital city of Freetown.  I deeply inhaled the moist, warm air and took in the bountiful sight of the morning sun breaking through the amber sky.  “Paradise,” I thought. I returned home after walking along the beach with my cousin, and found breakfast and coffee waiting for me in the veranda. On my plate lay freshly laid eggs from the Chicken that ran across my path this morning, plantains grown from their trees in their yard and fish bought last night from a fishmonger fresh from the day’s catch. Full, energized and still salivating over an amazing meal, we went into the city to stop by the market and see the State House. Our driver, Julius pointed out the stretch of Lumley Beach, that I had only seen a portion of on my morning stroll, it was expansive and captivating from far reaching end to end. I was only able to half-focus on the beach as I was trying to figure out how he was driving on this incredibly busy road. Dirtbikes called “Ocarra’s” weaved in and out of still traffic; cars entered and exited lanes abruptly yet someone in coordinated unison with everyone – it was astonishing organized chaos that somehow Julius was able to navigate while giving me a guided tour in Krio- the pigeon English that is the country’s primary language. Lumley Market was a cacophony of calls from charismatic vendors, cars honking at the sea of customers, lively and loud exchanges between vendor and customer; one bargaining to make a living and the other for the goods essential to live. As in awe as I was, we had to make it to our next destination in the heart of Freetown. The State House is impossible to miss as it’s next to the most noticeable and revered landmark in all of the Country – the Cotton Tree. This giant tree that stands in the Heart of the City is marked as the place the freed slaves gathered around for prayer upon their return to their homeland. As I stood directly under the Cotton tree, I thought about those freed slaves, generations removed from this land who despite the cultural erasure they experienced in the U.S., still loved and honored the home they never knew. As I stood where they stood where they stood, I threw up my hands in prayer and thanked God for my opportunity to return to the Home I never knew.

What was your most memorable experience on the trip?
The most memorable part of my experience in Salone was going to my Father’s home village in the upcountry.  My family come’s from the Kono Tribe and my Grandfather lived in the village of Kainkordu in the Kono District. My Grandfather was the richest man in Kainkordu in his prime and owned a significant amount of land in the village. Modern day Kainkordu still remembers and respects my Grandfather’s legacy, and thus when my sisters and I returned to his village, the amount of praise and respect we were given was overwhelming. Throughout the entire week, people from all over town came to my family’s home to meet my sisters and I, give us gifts, or share stories of our family’s legacy. This week was so humbling because it showed me something I knew of, but never truly understood; there is nothing more powerful and empowering than knowing your roots. To them, I was Greatness, before I spoke a word of who I am, or what I’ve done, I was already a “Josiah-Faeduwor,” heir to this land, and a continuation of legacy that came far before me. I haven’t looked at myself the same since.

If we decide to travel here, is there any travel tips you could leave us with?
Eat Everywhere! Even the Chinese food there is better, since its cooked West African style.  You Must Beach! Beach No. 2 as it’s known is the best beach I’ve been to in my life. Learn Krio! It’s not too hard, again, since it’s very close to English, but if you get identified as not able to speak Krio, you will have a very hard time getting a fair deal in the Market.

What country is next on your list?
Ivory Coast

Lastly, if we want to follow your adventures around the world. Where can we find you?
IG: Tehmoendor

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