It’s amazing how the Saloneans cope with all this, they just get on with and rebuild again and very quickly. Near Leicester Road, the new road went right through a market and the stalls just kept moving around the piles of mud and rubble!!! However, this road building has been going on awhile and shiny new surfaces are starting to appear. There have been drastic consequences however to this massive improvement programme and these are NOT in order of importance:
(1) Severe water supplies and long periods without electricity in the areas nearer to the roads
(2) Lots of water leaks with the precious stuff seaping out everywhere, mixing with all the dust
(3) Enormous and frustrating traffic jams
(4) Injury and death of the construction workers, although I have never seen any statistics on this
(5) Drainage and sewage problems
You see Guma Valley Water Company trucks around town and presumably they are going out to search and fix leaks. Guma is the reservoir that supplies much of the city’s water. It can’t be hard to find a leak as its always surrounded with crowds of kids of all ages with everything from a small bucket to large 5 gallon yellow plastic containers (called rubbers???) chatting and waiting to fill up. Rarely is there trouble. Kids can charge 1000le for delivering a rubber to a ‘water customer’ which they carry on their heads. Even the smallest child can manage a bucket on their heads. There are bigger water barrels called 'Pigs feet' containers as they are used to import the tasty product! I think they take 25 gallons. I'm glad to see them with just water and not the original contents! There are public taps around the town too, as the number of houses having piped water is quite small (around 20% I think) and collecting water is a water of life and its gets harder and harder towards the end of the dry season.
I must get some photos of the colourful and time consuming process of water collection and of all the frenetic building activity as we hurtle towards the 50th Anniversary of Sierra Leone’s Independence on 27th April. The deadline is to have some of the roads completed by then. Already there are bunting and flags appearing everywhere and buildings newly painted. There's still time for more paiting before the big celebrations, but that’s for the next blog!!!