Monday, 17 May 2010

A walk in the Mountains... to Gloucester

Behind Freetown is the forested Leicester Peak, surrounded by small Krio villages with other English names like Gloucester, Regent as well as Leicester itself. Last Saturday I went on my first Sierra Leonian hike around the mountain, starting and finishing near the American embassy (a huge ugly monstrosity, what a surprise!!) and…. it was a rather magical day. You all know how a love to walk!!!
Lots of children were very interested in me as its not often that a white women strolls through their village. Joseph kindly agreed to take me on the hike and along the way I also learnt more about Freetown and Sierra Leone. We visited the church in Gloucester where local musicians were pracricing and stopped to chat to people and take photos. The rural areas above Freetown are quite beautiful and enterpreneural farmers are growing lettuce and tomatoes and selling them by the roadside. The walk finally end ups at Fourbay college, a university complex high above the city with breathtaking views. Then we took the ridge road back along the hill with constant views of the city below passing stone masons breaking up slate to be used for building materials .
So on 8th May 2010, way above Freetown on the walk back, Rosie called my mobile and passed me to my 94 year old (today) Grandma. I had to shout Happy Birthday and that I loved her, at the top of my voice because she is rather deaf and frail, and this was much to the surprise of the stone workers. I wondered afterwards what she would make of this wonderful place and realized how lucky I was to be able to travel and explore and have lots of opportunities that she never had. Many of the Sierra Leoneans I meet each day have so very few oportunities but work hard to improve their lives and those of their children and grandchildren. Adequate food and housing are a challenge, travelling to another country is sheer fantasy for most. I cant tell you how much I want them to succeed. This place and the people have really found a central place in my heart.

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