- Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:47 am
Yes although my visit was due to tragic circumstances I was overwhelmed by how people were coming together to positively combat the situation. I worked in the Ebola Treatment Center in Port Loko and despite the horrors, there were some good days. Taking part in a release celebration for a lady that had recovered was a highlight - singing, dancing, workers playing instruments. I believe travel was still possible, although difficult - I worked with a man who was half Sierra Leonean (half English), he was able to send his wife and children to another country to live whilst he stayed in SL as an aid worker.
At the airport when we left it was pretty much the same as when we arrived; questionnaire about your health/background/recent activities (e.g. have you been to a funeral in the last month/had a family member become sick etc.), numerous temperature checks - so I suppose they would make decisions on a case by case basis. But most of the citizens we saw were living in poverty so I guess travel abroad was not an option for them.
Yes most people spoke very good English. Food was prepared by locals at our compound, most of the time it was great! We got a new chef a couple of weeks after arriving who even started baking cakes/desserts (along with some English dishes). I don't remember any particularly local dishes, although I had plantains for the first time which was yummy! The food was usually some sort of meat with sauce and rice (sometimes very spicy!).
The majority of people were very kind, ofcourse there were one or two that were not so happy to see us. We did find that you may get unwanted attention if you went out in just a group of females (nothing sinister, just kissing noises). The children would shout 'apoto! apoto! apoto!' everywhere, which was fine they just seemed so excited/bored from not being in school. The children were brilliant actually, always wanted us to take a photo and then show them. We sat with a group by a river where people were doing laundry/car washing, and played skipping stones/pictionary with them by using stones to scratch into the rocks to draw -one kid drew a helicoptor!. They also seemed to create a game of 'who can touch the white person' - obviously there was no touching guidelines.
Can I ask how you know the language? Are you from/do you currently live in West Africa?