Africa Reporting Project reporter Madeleine Bair was in Dakar, Senegal’s capital, for 17 days in March, exploring the ways that a swelling city’s concrete jungle is paving over traditional farmland. The discoveries took her from the city’s center, where a small patch of green is all that remains today of a fertile farming valley, to […]
My last night in Sierra Leone was a memorable one. I guess I made such an impression on one of the youth groups that I interviewed in Waterloo that they decided to show their appreciation by hosting a send-off party for me and my guides. Mind you, these are youths from a rural part of the country who often can’t afford to finish school, who don’t have anyone supporting their organization, who have to struggle for everything. Yet they plan this big celebration just for us.
On Friday, we travel to Kono in the eastern part of the country. It is known as the breadbasket of the country because of its rich diamond resources. How do you know you’re in Kono? You can feel the bumpy roads along the way to the district.
I’m starting to feel right at home. We spent most of the day Wednesday in Waterloo, in the Western Area Rural District, where we met with three youth farming groups. They all had interesting stories and seemed very determined to get their projects off the ground. But they all mentioned one similar problem: Because they were women’s groups, they were all dealing with the issue of getting young girls out of prostitution.
The journey to Sierra Leone was long. I left California Tuesday afternoon and, after two layovers, I finally arrived at my destination the next evening. It really didn’t start to sink in that I was heading to Africa until our plane began flying over the Sahara. All I remember seeing was vast areas of sand, with layers of blue and orange coating the horizon. The nice lady sitting next to me described it as an “ocean of brown.” I would concur.