Blogs from Moa River, Sierra Leone, Africa

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Africa » Sierra Leone » Moa River July 8th 2013

After exploring the remote beaches of the peninsula, we made our way back to Freetown and were once again surrounded by the chaotic metropolis. Our first destination took us straight through the busy centre and out the other side into the hills beyond. We had decided to visit Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary which was established to offer a home to chimps that have been found as orphans of hunting, traded as pets or were captured for bush meat or trophies. The sanctuary hopes that at some point in the future it will be possible to re-release these chimpanzees back into the wild to support the declining population, unfortunately at the moment there is too much risk and not enough protection. A number of years ago I worked for an NGO based in Uganda which is working towards ... read more
Freedom steps
The iconic cotton tree
Mosque in Makeni

Africa » Sierra Leone » Moa River July 1st 2013

As this is a travel blog website I feel like I should take some time to talk about the occasions when I have been a tourist in Sierra Leone and not only the work that I am doing here. I was lucky enough to be able to take two weeks off work to travel around the country with my boyfriend who flew over to visit me. Sierra Leone has endless hidden treasures and massive potential for tourism in the future. Some places that we went to were difficult to reach but every where we went was well worth the effort to get there. Our first stop was Banana Island which is south along the peninsula from Freetown. A private car organized by the hotel we were staying in offered to drive us there for $100 plus ... read more
Exploring the fishing villages
Exploring Bureh
Sunset surfing

Africa » Sierra Leone » Moa River June 27th 2013

As I mentioned in my last blog GRNP is in the process of developing a REDD Carbon project which will mean that all of the work we do will be funded by selling ‘carbon credits’ on the international market. If you’ve never heard of REDD or Carbon Projects before that might not make much sense so for those who are interested here’s some more information from an article I wrote for our newsletter..... Carbon is a molecular building block of life. Every living thing contains carbon. Plants, particularly trees, store large amounts of carbon in their trunks, branches and roots which they absorb from the atmosphere. When we cut down trees for construction of roads, houses and industries, or to convert the forest into the bush fallow cycle for crop production, we release into the atmosphere ... read more
Community meeting to plan for the project
International research support

Africa » Sierra Leone » Moa River June 20th 2013

Forest Schools is a growing initiative in the UK and a number of other countries. I was lucky enough to go through the Forest Schools Level 3 Practitioner training in 2010 when I was working for the RSPB in Essex. The programme is an inspiring one and really highlights the importance of natural stimulus in childhood development and the need to get children learning outside of the classroom. While with the RSPB I worked with a wide audience from tiny tots and teenagers to adults and saw first hand the benefits experienced by those individuals. The number of children in the UK getting regular and meaningful interactions with nature has reduced greatly over the years; however the importance of this interaction is gradually being recognised so hopefully this will improve. The situation in Sierra Leone in ... read more
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Africa » Sierra Leone » Moa River May 5th 2013

It’s been another week full of touring around villages and delivering Roadshows, however this week has been full of TIA (This Is Africa) moments so I felt like another blog was needed. We were originally meant to have Roadshows on Monday, Tuesday and Friday but that changed last week as we found out that Monday was due to be a public holiday - for some reason advanced notice of public holidays is not possible in Sierra Leone and we only ever find out when they will be at the last minute! We also found out that the school who were presenting for us on Friday had exams so we amended everything to make it Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday instead, thankfully there was still time to let the communities know about the changes. Tuesday morning came and ... read more
Views of forest covered hills
Morning walk around Jabwema
The family who cooked our food in the first village

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Africa » Sierra Leone » Moa River April 30th 2013

One of my main projects since coming to Sierra Leone has been to organise an educational roadshow to forest edge communities around Gola Rainforest National Park (GRNP). We’re now half way through the programme and so far the events have proven to be a really good way to bring the community together to deliver some important messages in an engaging and interactive way. I’ve been working with the support of a great team in GRNP including the education officer Eddie, a park ranger, our media and publicity officer, a community development relations officer, one of the research technicians and one of the drivers. It’s really good to have people from a range of departments coming together so the community can see the breadth of the work that we do and get questions answered by the appropriate ... read more
Dancing with the children in the parade
Devil dancing
Cultural performances

Africa » Sierra Leone » Moa River April 10th 2013

I’ve been to a good number of parties and celebrations in my life but never one celebrating something quite like this. The party that I went to was organised by a charity called GOAL and was to celebrate the fact that the Chiefdom we were in was ‘open defecation free’ – I think that’s a pretty good reason to have a party! The event was hosted by the Chiefdom Headquarter town and a lot of preparation had been done to get the town looking good and to build areas of shade for people to sit and watch the festivities. When we arrived we parked up in the school field which was the main venue. We then walked down through the town along a road which had been lined by white painted stones. At the far end ... read more
Local music
Cultural performers
Cultural performers

Africa » Sierra Leone » Moa River April 10th 2013

It was a glorious sunny morning (as it is pretty much every day) and myself and five expat friends packed up the car ready for a long weekend away over the Easter holiday. Our destination was Tiwai Island (said T-Y) which is a wildlife sanctuary and one of the few reasonably well known tourist destinations in Sierra Leone. We set off early to make the most of the day and it was a good job that we did as the journey there took rather longer than expected. The first reason for our delay was that Meredith, who was driving, had been given directions to take a route that passed via Bo rather than going directly south. The second reason was that the car we had borrowed from her organisation broke down when we reached Bo. The ... read more
Boat trip to Tiwai
Sunset over the Moa River
Evening at the campsite

Africa » Sierra Leone » Moa River March 28th 2013

Wedding celebrations vary all over the world with different religions and different cultures having their own unique style. One interesting aspect of weddings in Sierra Leone is that groups of people that know the bride or groom for a particular reason all buy the same fabric and get the tailor to make them an outfit. The material is the same but everyone will have their own preference of dress, top, skirt or shirt so each will look different and be able to show their own style. In this case the group that I was part of was the Gola team as it was a colleague from work who was getting married, the fabric (which I wouldn’t have chosen myself) was almost like camouflage and the outfit I chose was a dress. The wedding ceremony took place ... read more
The Gola table
Showing off our dance moves
Presentation of the gifts

Africa » Sierra Leone » Moa River March 21st 2013

I have now visited all of the seven Chiefdoms that border Gola Rainforest National Park. I have driven through countless villages, have discovered that all of the roads are a varying degree of terrible, and have met hundreds of students who have all been very excited to see a white person turning up at their school. Each of the 34 schools that we are working with has a teacher who attended the training workshop who will run the Nature Club using a Teacher’s Guide which we have produced. One school from each Chiefdom has also been provided with 20 Student Workbooks, these schools are our pilot schools and if successful all the Nature Clubs will get the Workbooks next year. Eddie and I have now visited two schools in each Chiefdoms – one pilot school and ... read more
Student completing questionnaire
Students in Zimmi fetching water for their classmates
Rain downpour in Zimmi




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