A personal blog about everything Sierra Leone from Social Issues, Entrepreneurship, Art & Poetry, Fashion & Beauty, Health, Entertainment, Food, Weddings & Promoting Change. If it is NOT about Sierra Leone then it is NOT on Dasalonetiti's blog #peace✌
Are you thinking of switching or spicing up your evening snack? Are you tired of eating rice three times a day? Let me introduce you to something I bumped into earlier today for a snack. You can actually use any of our staples in Sierra Leone such as cassava, sweet potato, yam and plantain as a base. By the way, I am neither a chef nor a cook. I just love trying things out when I have time😊.
Boneless fish or chicken
Few sweet potatoes
One tablespoon of Cayenne pepper
Or any other vegetable pepper
One tablespoon of knor season
A teaspoon of black pepper
A teaspoon of thyme
A cube of Onga Maggie
Three garlic cloves
A sprinkle of salt
Breadcrumbs of your choice
First, you season your fish or chicken and steam over low heat. Allow it to cool and mashed after.
Next, boil your sweet potato and leave it to cool off. After cooling you can blend, pound or grate, whatever you prefer to get it to a mashed state.
Then, you pour a few drops of olive oil or whatever vegetable oil you have in your kitchen into a frying pan. Set your frying pan or pot over low heat. Pour the cabbage and onion into the heated oil and stir add garlic and the rest of the seasons and keep stirring. You don’t need to use my exact seasons, you can use any seasons of your choice. Leave to simmer for five minutes and add your mashed fish or chicken and your potato, stir until completely blended. Remove from the fire and dish in a bowl. Set it aside as it cools down.
Whisk your egg and pour your crumbs in an open bowl. Use your clean hands to flatten or ball your potato fish cabbage into your desire size. Dip into the whisked egg and finally into your crumbs and fry as desire.
This episode is dedicated to Mariama Bassama my muse when it comes to food. Hope this will motivate you to write your first food blog post. I know you can do it and I am proud of you.😊
If you did try this at home, kindly tag me on any of my social media platforms on Twitter @dasalonetiti232, Facebook @dasalone-titi, Instagram @dasalone-titi
To grow up in Sierra Leone as a girl child through adulthood without being molested, abused, sexually harassed or raped is a privilege, a big flex actually. It seems as if women are meer sheep among wolves and this sick notion is only getting worse, even after the presidential proclamation about rape. My heart weeps for myself, my heart weeps for Khadija Madinatu Saccoh, and for all the Khadijas who died through this inhumane act without anyone knowing. For those who lived to tell their stories, yet no one believed them. For those who told their stories but were gaslighted and blamed for being raped.
I see no justification for this sick act of rape, none at all. It is just selfishness and cowardice in the first degree by those who commit rape. But, then the most distasteful part is the hypocrisy of some of our leaders. They will come out and shout with the people, meanwhile, not making the necessary decisions that will help us see a downward spiral of these cases. They know the longest these shouting will last for is a week. After that, life will go back to normal and Sierra Leoneans will forget or pretend this never happened. They feign to be oblivious to how much of a problem RAPE is in a small nation like ours. Rape culture is deeply embedded in our society, and most times perpetrated by people the victims know. Most times these are people with power or people that are associated with power; traditionally, socially, religiously and politically.Rape is prevalent in Sierra Leone and mostly committed by family members, family friends and neighbours, but this does not mean strangers don’t commit these crimes.
We grew up hearing stories of fathers raping their daughters and people manufacturing phrases like “udat cook soup na ein first de taste am.” Interpreted as the cook is the first to taste his sauce. Instead of bringing them to book, these stories are humourized by our communities. We grew up in a society where men see a day-old girl child as a potential wife. We grew up in a society where men think it is normal to touch the woman’s body inappropriately in offices and other public spaces. A society wherein male bosses use sexual advances as a tool to intimidate female employees. A society where women are seen first as an object before anything else. A society where neighbours observe these happenings but turn a blind eye, in the guise of minding their businesses. A society where people would birth a child and think it’s the responsibilities of others to train them. A society where parents think it is the responsibility of the children to fend for them. A society filled with rapists and paedophiles preying on vulnerable young girls. They are known in these communities yet community members chose to ignore them, why? A society where children are giving out to family members, acquaintances, friends to train (referred to in Sierra Leone as “menh Pekin”). These children suffer the brunt of this barbaric act.
We all have failed ourselves, we have failed this generation, our leaders have failed us, those in decision making positions have failed us, especially, the rape apologists who by their actions or inactions are normalizing rape and the rape culture. Now let look at what rape is and the other things that can be classified as such;
RAPE– is a form of sexual aggression involving violent penetration without personal consent.
SEXUAL ASSAULT is a form of rape– it is when a man knowingly touches a girl/woman in a sexually motivated manner without the girl/woman consent. This can include intimidation or causing the woman to engage in sexual activity when she will rather not.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT is a form of rape– it is making undesirable and improper sexual comments or advances in any situation. We all have seen the recurring topic here is CONSENT. Now, what is consent? For every literate woman or man reading this;
CONSENT here means actively agreeing or accepting to be sexual with a man. But bear in mind, consent cannot be given by a child, a minor, a girl below eighteen years. Consent cannot be given by an individual who has an intellectual disability. Consent cannot be given by a girl/woman who is challenged or intoxicated. Consent cannot be given by a girl/woman who is unconscious.
So sleeping with a woman who is drunk is rape. Sleeping with a girl below eighteen is rape. Touching a girl/woman’s vagina while she is asleep isrape. Compelling a girl/womanafter she has said no, is rape.
Even though this happens less often than with girls and women. The Boychild can be raped as well, by a fellow man or woman. Someone who is married can be raped, A person in a relationship can be rape by the partner. No man has the right to force a woman to have sex without her consent.
Meanwhile, there are some actions that are not rape but are still forms of sexual abuse and add to promoting the rape culture, such as;
1. Rape Apologist: A rape apologist can be of any gender that endorses the acts of rape, usually by arguing that rape is not a significant crime or that people do not need to give approval before sex. Any individual who indicates that women may be able to take precautions to reduce their chances of being raped, such as carrying a hidden weapon for self-protection or avoiding places where a rape crime is likely while alone at night.
2. Victim Shaming/Blaming 3. Jokes about rape 4. Catcalling Women 5. Nonconsensual removal of condoms 6. Revenge Porn
There is a lot of advocacy and social work on rape and other gender-based violence in Sierra Leone. What I have not seen is engaging the men in our communities of their actions and to create awareness, education, and engagement targeted at them on thegrassroots level.
What I have not seen is mothers/ women paying more attention to their daughters and learning to listen to them, they should try to investigate their every concern. Teaching them to know about their bodies, having the sex talk with them, teach them to be comfortable with their Vaginas, train them on how to look for the signs of rape or abuse, such as what’s appropriate and inappropriate touches by the opposite sex is our best bet.
What I have not seen is the creation of programs directed at teaching parents, the village elders and community members about rape, its effect on the victims and it’s implications on the society as a whole. The criminality of the act and the punitive measures for those who commit these offences and those that may try to sweep it under the carpet.
What I have not seen is teaching girls that rape is not normal, and to speak up and speak out to someone, when they are faced with such situations. Girls mostly, cannot defend themselves against these perpetrators who are likely to be physically stronger than them.
What I have not seen is the forming of women groups and training them on how to detect the signs of rape and abuse and how to look out for these signs among girls within their communities. They could be young women who have taken a leadership position in our communities. They may also act as a medium with whom these victims may feel safe to report or open up to about these incidents. If they are afraid or frightened to talk to anyone else at home. These women will then forward these casesto the appropriate law institutions.
What I have not seen is Providing community health workers with the training on how to diagnose and treat rape cases, provide rape kits for community health centres. The government or NGOs should try to establish more Rainbow centres all around the country. Whose job will not only be to treat rape victims, but also to engage in awareness and educational activities in these communities. Develop laws, reform outdated laws, empowering law institutions and law officers especially, on rape cases. Develop proper punitive measures, charged rape cases to court, monitor and make sure that the courts treat rape cases with the required urgency they need. Set examples with guilty perpetrators and see theactual result.
Are we not tired of merely giving lip service to rape issues in the country? Are we not tired of not getting the answers we need? Are we not tired of protesting with no much result? Are we not tired of seeing culprits walking freely after a short period of time? We need actual results, weneedanswersandweneeditnow.
Her name is Adama Koroma. She lives at Yams Farm, Waterloo Highway. She attended Wesleyan Primary Sch Grassfield and The Annie Walsh Memorial School(class of 2008), for her primary and secondary school education respectively. She graduated from Njala University with a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Public Health in 2015, and she was crowned Miss Njala Bo Campus in 2012. She is also into modelling for clothing brands.
In 2014 she started volunteering with the Ebola Response Team at Portloko District Ebola Response Center as an ambulance nurse. She excelled in that position and was later recommended to Partners in Health where she started working as the Psychosocial Coordinator under the Community Health Workers program in 2015 and was promoted six months after to the position of Acting Program Officer. In 2016 she received a scholarship to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Health at Southeast University, Nanjing, China. She graduated in 2018 and came back to Sierra Leone. She is very vocal and never skips the opportunity to express herself. Her Mandarin-speaking can be rated as fair.
Adama is Unique in so many ways. The way she is able to switch characters is amazing. It is no brainer she can be the good girl with a bookworm attitude one minute and can be a social butterfly the next. She can hold her own in any discourse and contribute meaningfully. Adama is what is missing in Sierra Leone’s reality TV show. She will bring the extra to your ordinary television screens; she is unscripted with a great sense of humour. She is very relatable; her story is in most of us. A simple girl from a humble background that is thriving to change her situation through hard work.
In June of 2019, she established her own business (GlamDivaBeauty) at Hastings Junction and recruited five Sierra Leoneans as full-time staff. She also runs an online Health Education program on Facebook (WalkieTalkie). All of these have shaped her life to be someone viewers will relate to. Running her own business over the years have helped her to develop her human relationship skills and has taught her that trust is the glue in any human relationship. She will be the housemate that other housemates will easily confide in, as she is down to earth and very easy to talk to. Don’t expect anything less from her,she is purposeful and intentional. She does not fake it to make it, but rather, She works it to make it.She promised to be the spiciest character and she will bring the necessary drama to the show this season.
Adama Koroma has so many dreams and aspirations for herself and Sierra Leone, she grew up feeling the need to create a healthy environment for everyone. Health should be a priority for every nation, she stated. At the moment, she’s planning on starting a Dental Health Campaign as this aspect of health has long been sidelined. She is with the philosophy of showing the woman how to fish rather than giving her fish every day. That’s why she is using her Facebook live, to bring her health talk program called Walkie- Talkie, to young people as they are the active users of social media. Imagine what this young woman will do if she is given such a huge platform like big sister Sierra Leone.
Big Sister Salone Season two reality television series had shortlisted Adama as housemate seventeen. This will give her the platform she needs to reach more people and touch so many lives in her health journey and talk show. More importantly, this will give her the wings she needs to take flights and explore other things that she is passionate about. she will need your vote to stay in the house come October and to be there till the finale. She will need all of us to bring her aspirations to life. Be part of this young woman’s dream and journey, be part of her success story. Adama is no superhuman, expect her to lose it sometimes, expect her to snap sometimes, expect her to be tired sometimes, expect her to not want to mingle sometimes, expect her not to say the right things sometimes, or rub viewers the wrong way sometimes, expect her to fail or fall sometimes, but then expect her to rise up like she never stumbles before, don’t ever expect her to not be herself, lastly, don‘t ever underestimate what she can bring to the show.
As this year’s season will commence soon, she is soliciting your support in any way possible; financially or otherwise, but more so to vote for her. She urges Sierra Leoneans to follow her journey to the end. Keep her in your mind, remember her name, remember her struggle and remember to support her. She is Adama Koroma because you all are.
@By Rahima Vandy Kargbo known as dasalonetiti Rahima
Our featured entrepreneur this weekend is the founder and owner of a gara clothing brand in Freetown. Her name is Salmata Nimata Onikehpoh Alghali. The third child to her parents. She has two older siblings and a younger one. Her family is her happy place and her constant motivation, she said. She is in her final year studying Business Administration and Entrepreneurship at the Institute of Public Administration and Management, University of Sierra Leone. Currently rounding up with her dissertation.
Nimata had always loved business since her early school days, she has always been independent and this had triggered her sense of responsibility. She is shy and dislikes to be in the position to ask for things she needed. She knew then she needs to find alternative ways to supplement whatever she is getting from her parents. She loves to be fashionable and has a high taste for fashion. She is into wearing t-shirts, especially the white ones. At some point, she became tired with the plain white t-shirts.
It was in April and she was looking forward to something that has our national colours. She was not going to get the stencilled green white and blue t-shirt, she was tired of using those as well. Then the idea of getting a plain white t-shirt and dyeing it came to her mind. She loves colours, so she thought of the idea of tie-dyeing something that could bring her taste to life and at the same time something that says Sierra Leonean without saying a word. In 2019, a few weeks before our country’s independence she bought three t-shirts, which she dyed into our national colours with the help of a friend. Even though the t-shirts were lovely, The end product did not come out as perfect as she was expecting. She did not allow that small hurdle to deter her optimism.
She wore it and took some pictures, strangely, she got a lot of request from friends who were interested and were asking if she can make some and sell to them. That’s how the whole idea of doing this professionally started for her. Financially, she was not in the place to actually start a business and this made her procrastinate the viability of what she was getting herself into, and some of the risk involved in starting a business. She confided in her mother who had encouraged her to do it and to always be optimistic. So that’s how her clothing line started.
“I am very spiritual and sensitive; I overthink things and sometimes they end up in my subconscious and will dream about them when I sleep,” she said. After the talk with her mother, she took everything seriously and kept thinking about what she might need to start small. One night she had a dream, where she was already doing this professionally, and a lady came to buy from her. In the dream, the lady asked her how much she was selling her Makara wear? She usually forgets her dreams, but with this one, she remembered every detail of it. That’s how the name MAKARA wear came about. She held on to the name and the rest they say is history.
Her main challenge has been the capital to finance her business. She lacks the required funds to acquire some of the raw materials needed to effectively start her kind of business. Getting and maintaining clientele has been an issue as well, as few constantly try to negotiate the price of her products to the point that eventually diminishes her profit margins. Lastly, a lot of people prefer clothes from overseas because of the idea that these products are better made than that of our local contents.
Consistency in doing what she does and saving her little profit has been her key to success. Making sure her products meet all the quality standards of her clientele. She tries to efficiently produce her products, so she can be able to price them in a way that could be affordable to the average Sierra Leonean. She wore her heart on her sleeve as she persistently strives to meet her goals business-wise. Because of her spirituality, she prays a lot about everything in her life and speaks positively to herself and into her business. Even though she is not where she wants to be, she knows she has started a promising path that will eventually lead to her business blossoming and flourishing in the near future.
“The compliment I got from clients and people around me has been my highlight, especially, when they realized I made them with my sweat and tears,” Nimata said proudly with a beaming smile. “The fact that Makara wear has attracted a lot of people who use to not love the gara tie-dye to wear my gara tie-dye products and they keep coming to patronize me is enough highlights for me” she continued.
She wants to see Makara Tie Dye Wears grow as a well-known brand in Sierra Leone, West Africa and the world at large. ” I want Makara Wear to be known like other well known international brands, such as Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana etc. A girl is allowed to dream. It’s never too young or old to dream and to dream big”, she said. She believes if she continues to work hard there’s nothing she can’t achieve in this world.
Her advice to others is for them to have goals and focus on them. They should try to take advantage of every opportunity given to them. As young people, they should not overthink their dreams as everyone’s dream is valid. Young people should be optimistic about life and build a positive mindset. They should be the change they want to see in the world. It is better to do something and fail; learn from the process than not doing anything at all.
Her life philosophy is “link with the right people, move with the right crowd, people who will teach you so many things by just been closer to them. People who may notice your mistakes and correct you” she said. “This is the kind of energy we need as young people, for us to achieve positive things in our lives. We should not feel terrible when we are criticised or corrected, rather we should learn from it and make the necessary change to better our lives” Nimata continued.
When asked for her last words, Nimata replied “As an owner of a small business, one thing l have learned so far is to always control my attitude when faced with difficult customers as there will always be that one person that will trigger you to react unprofessionally, but maintaining your composure is the key in such situations. Bear in mind that most times these are the people if treated right, will bring the most clients to your business. As entrepreneurs we are our brands, therefore, we should always be on our guard to be the best version of ourselves as CEO, bosses or founders. Finally, when you fall, make sure you get up, dust yourself and continue the journey. The road is not easy but very satisfying and fulfilling when one reaches at the end”. Ending her statement with a smile.
For more information on Makara Wear and how to put in orders. You can reach her on her business page on Facebook@ Makara Tie-Dye Wears On the following numbers: Mobile line……..+23276993821 WhatsApp line- +23230252390
“Perseverance and resilience are key. One should also try to remain true to the vision. The idea is to create go-to pieces for a woman’s wardrobe and her life—beautifully crafted pieces that a woman will love today, in two months, in two years, in five years—and to do that for as many women as possible.” —Narciso Rodriguez
This quote right here depicts all that this young woman is about. Readers, please, meet Mariama Ena Kanneh (nee Kamara). A fashion entrepreneur and the proud owner of Amena’s Haute Couture, which she runs alongside her uncle. She takes her inspiration from the colourful and vibrant African fabrics, prints and turns them into beautiful ready to wear pieces for the everyday woman. Hope you will enjoy reading this interview and be inspired by her story to start something no matter how small.
DS: Give readers a brief background about yourself
MK: I graduated from IPAM with an honours degree in Financial Services. I later pursued a Masters degree in Business Administration at Anglia Ruskin University, where I majored in International Business. After returning in 2016, I started working for a reputable Bank whilst looking out for a business idea. I am very passionate about fashion and had a keen sense of fashion since I was a kid. So it was easy for me to partner with my uncle, who had the expertise but lack the funds to establish a viable business. Starting this business has helped me to learn, change, adapt, get tough and as I continue to improve every other day.
DS: What motivates you as a Fashion Entrepreneur and why Fashion Entrepreneurship?
MK: Most people think, that entrepreneurs are primarily motivated by making money. For me, I derive my business power from knowing that I am helping people gain employment to cater for their families. There is a strong demand for fashion clothing in Sierra Leone and we have the right staff with creative minds to change the narrative.
DS: Who are your target audience?
MK: Our target audience is composed of men and women, within the ages of 18-35 years, with mid-range income. Amena’s Haute Couture customers are mostly based in Freetown and therefore, are able to keep up with the latest fashion trends.
DS: Fashion changes so fast how do you stay up to date with the trends?
MK: With fashion trends constantly changing; I try to stay ahead by watching fashion shows, visiting fashion websites, blogs and always keep an eye out for celebrity styles.
DS: What is the most rewarding part of being a Fashion Entrepreneur?
MK: The best part of being an entrepreneur is contributing to something larger than yourself. Solving problems by bringing a product that people need, giving livelihood to others and crafting the world you want to see, as this is way more fulfilling and the most rewarding forme.
DS: What is the most difficult part of being a fashion entrepreneur and how are you managing it?
MK: The availability of Fabrics- It is very difficult to get hold of a fabric that is affordable, high quality and unique. This is why you see most fashion houses using the same fabrics. It’s not lack of imagination, it’s because that’s all they can find. I mostly try to source fabrics from neighbouring countries in order to get unique prints.
DS: Where do you see yourself in the near future?
MK: Our plans are in God’s hands, we shall take one day at a time, for now, I am just trying to build a brand and get my business name out there.
DS: What is your pet peeve?
MK: I cannot stand it when people wear overly tight clothes; wear something that is your size, that would eventually look fabulous on you.
DS: Who are your favourite designers locally and Internationally?
MK: Madam Wokie has a very good taste in fashion. Frederica(J&F) is also great. Internationally, I love Lisa Folawiyo (Jewels by Lisa), Folake Folarin-Coker (Tiffany Amber and Mai Atafo.
DS: How and where can people locate you in case they need your service?
MK: Our store is located at 27 Bailey Street, Brookfields. On Instagram as Amena Haute Couture. You can also call us on the following numbers; 078242851/075004009.
From pageantry, fashion, poetry, to politics and now music. The one thing, you will have to agree with me on, is that Natasha Swadu Beckley is a piece of art, in short, she is an art itself. That is why we believe she is going to dominate the music industry soon. Our girl is super talented, a hard worker, a go-getter, with a brave heart. A philanthropist; founder of the Natasha Beckley Foundation. She has been providing scholarships to young girls in schools within Freetown, building and renovating primary schools in Port Loko through her charity projects. She is also the founder of an all-female organization known as the Sisters Supporting Sisters; which is a vehicle she uses to promote sanitation and mentorship to under privilege girls in Sierra Leone.One thing we know for sure is she is not afraid to walk on uncharted waters.
Natasha is a Sierra Leonean, based in the United States. She left for the States when she was ten and she never lost herself or the thoughts, to one day return and help rebuild her country. She first came into the limelight when she became the first runner-up at the Miss Africa USA in 2009 held in Maryland, an international platform. She had not slowed down ever since. She went ahead and won Miss Sierra Leone title in 2011. Subsequently, she went on to represent Sierra Leone at this Miss World stage in London that same year. She became a strong advocate for women and girls in Sierra Leone and has never looked back. She is the owner of International Ambassadors of Sierra Leone (IAMSL) Pageant. The IAMSL Pageant is a body that has the Franchise to the Sierra Leone Miss Universe; Mr World, Miss International and other pageantry platforms, that promote the youths, and help them to discover themselves and become ambassadors for Sierra Leone. They train and chaperone young people who are aspiring to enter into the pageantry world with the skills and confidence needed to excel.
She is also a renown poet with over two hundred poems to her name. Amongst which, is the popular Mama Salone at 56 poem; a spoken word poetry which she did and recited in commemoration of Sierra Leone’s fifty-sixth year independence anniversary.
She went into politics in 2017/2018 and became a councilwoman for ward 234 in the Port Loko district council with 69% of the votes, as she hails from that part of the country. She is devoted and committed to bringing change and hope for the people of her constituent and eventually, for the people of Sierra Leone. She had bagged a lot of recognition and awards for her contributions to the development of Sierra Leone.
Furthermore, she has hosted several shows and concerts in Freetown and the diaspora. She is still honing her skills as MC, presenter and host. Tasha is currently in the studio working with popular international stars in Nigeria. She has been dropping singles and freestyles on her Instagram and YouTube accounts; like Dreams and Nightmares, Korlay, Tasha 2wam for Salone and Issa Fact. Recently, Tasha has been trending for all the right reasons, since she drops her single “Freetown”. The Freetown challenge has gained momentum and a lot of other artists and none artist alike had come out with their version or cover of the song. Her fans can’t wait to get the album and hear what she has to offer. But there is no doubt that Tasha baby is here and she is here to stay. We believe she is gonna give the music industry a run for their money. Once a queen always a queen they say, and this queen is going to reign for a longstretch of time.
*Since COVID-19 regulations to enter destinations around the world keep constantly changing, you are strongly advised to check official announcements by health authorities daily while preparing for your trip