The madness that was Lungi airport on our arrival, helicopter ride, stupid bureaucracy, families and young children breaking stones to earn a living, awful tin huts and shacks that so many lived in, seeing vultures circling in the city centre, getting my head around 6,200 Leons to £1-00, hearing that 9 children and 5 adults died when their house collapsed in the heavy rain shortly before we arrived, young children are sometimes swept away and drown in the huge gullies at the side of the roads that are there to take the heavy rain water away, seeing so many amputees as a result of the cruel war, the joy and friendliness of the people we met, so many blind people usually led by young children, good football played on impossible pitches that I wouldn't take a dog for a walk on, the joy and excitement on the children's faces when Uncle Phil dished out hundreds of lollies, seeing so many beggars, learning that so many rely on rice for breakfast, dinner and tea but on special occasions adding a little bit of fish and meat, seeing Armani's cramped living conditions, the fantastic and beautiful countryside, visiting Waterloo Market, the torrential rain, visiting a High School in Freetown where there was just 1 outside tap for the 300 students and medieval cooking facilities, visiting a Primary School up country where the plight of a 5 year old girl I held in my arms was explained to me, delivering thousands of donated spectacles that were so gratefully received especially at the optical department of a major hospital, eating at 2 offensively luxurious venues but essential to meet important contacts whilst knowing the utter squalor that is down in Freetown, enjoying the company of 5 good guys that were with me, meeting the nicest professor in the world from Canada (please marry me), enjoying a quiet drink at night with the chaps, the frustration of waiting for our shipment, meeting Armani's Mum.
I could go on but I think you now get the gist of my mainly happy memories of Sierra Leone in just one week. I intend to go there again sometime in hopefully not too distant future. My most abiding memory will always be so many wonderful and helpful people we met there.
My thoughts on the final day at Freetown was the utter relief and joy I felt at seeing the ship with our precious cargo. It more than made up for my earlier frustration of waiting for it's arrival.
SWEET SALONE, I LOVE YOU