Sierra Leone 

Sign at airport

Where Is Sierra Leone and where does MOMS work in Sierra Leone?

For photos, click here. 

Sierra Leone is in West Africa between Liberia and Guinea.  Following is a set of three maps, showing greater focus.  

In the first map below, you see Sierra Leone as a small, round-ish, green country on the coast.  (It is about the size of South Carolina.). We work mostly in the south and east, mostly among the Mende people.

In the second map, you can see the Districts.  MOMS works in Kailahun, Kenema, Bo, and Pujehun.  Our headquarters is in Bo.  


In the third map, you see approximately where the villages are that we have worked in.  


Sierra Leone was claimed by the Portuguese then by the English, while many groups of people lived there.  In 1961, when England was disengaging from many of its colonies and protectorates, Sierra Leone gained independence.  After that, a series of coups and counter-coups devolved into Civil War, known commonly as the Blood Diamond or the Boy Soldier War.  

Since 2002, when disarmament was underway, the transfers of power have been relatively peaceful.  The country has made sporadic progress in all sectors; however, as the nation started out as the poorest in the world, ”progress” is relative and doesn’t always look impressive.  And of course, things like Ebola epidemics, mudslides, flooding, and drought often derail progress for a time.  Many are still hungry, lack access to water and to health services, and live in terrifying housing.  Yet many are making strides toward economic development.  China has been a major player in the development of roads and other infrastructure projects.  

The people belong mostly to 16 or so ethnic groups; Mende and Temne are the largest groups, each with its own language.  English is the official language, while Krio (akin to Creole but more English-based, like Gullah) is spoken by the most people.  Tribal languages are the first language for most people outside the capital of Freetown.  

A number of residents have emigrated to Sierra Leone from Lebanon, Pakistan, and India.  Several of these families have large holdings in retail industry.  

The countryside sweeps from gorgeous white-sand beaches in the west, through mangrove swamps, into highland rainforests.  Rice is a common crop, as are tropical fruit, coffee, and cocoa.  Rights to diamonds and other minerals are mostly in the hands of Europeans, with local people deriving little benefit.  This is mostly the legacy of English policies of selling the rights of its colonies and protectorates to others.  

Sierra Leone is beautiful and is working hard to overcome the definitions and limits others forced upon her.  

Click here for more pictures.  

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