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✌
Black tax is a system where African/ black professionals are expected to cater for the rest of the family, whether immediate or extended. Such expectations are mostly placed on the first child of the family, but it goes for every young educated professional. In a country where extended family links are prevalent, you can understand how embedded the black tax system is for young professionals. No wonder everyone is in a rush to make the soft life rather than put in the hard work and getting the results.
In our African cultures, it is impressed on us from childhood, especially firstborns that the prosperity of our family rests on our shoulders. We are taught to be a piece of a whole, and our parents intentionally impress certain characters in us to make us feel responsible to honour the black tax. Statements like “remember where you are coming from, and know where you are going” are re-echoed throughout our lives. With little or no preparation, the responsibility of providing for your immediate and extended family will rest on you immediately you can lift your head above water. We take on these roles, sometimes unconsciously. We see it as a way of paying back our family for their sacrifices or so we think. Black tax is mostly driven by guilt because of how we were raised.
Black Tax can be just the feeling of entitlement or the expectation by some people who think they should have access to your finances. Through community words or action they will tag you “the umbrella in the family”. When you hear such sentiments, run, don’t get lost in them. Most times, they come from people who did not contribute in any shape or form towards your wellbeing, they never cared. The moment you make something of your life you are in trouble. They try to create a benefactor position in your life with statements like ‘Na we men am ooo’ (meaning: we raised him/her). The black tax is one of the reasons responsible for low savings and capital accumulation by young people and hence they cannot make investments that will take them out of poverty. The recipients of black tax sometimes think you owe them. And so they’ll spend/mismanage whatever they receive from you. The sad part is they’ll come demanding your help because they know you are unable to say NO.
This system has led to a lot of financial and mental stress on young professionals since they most times find it difficult to say No. This is particularly so when the demand is coming from their parents. To be honest, most African parents are good at manipulating and gaslighting their children either for themselves or for other members of the household/community. So it is very important as young educated professionals we figure out ways to cope with this system. We should learn how to read and see through their demands and make informed decisions based on our budget.
LET ME SHARE WITH YOU SOME TIPS ON HOW TO DEAL WITH BLACK TAX.
1. Don’t you ever make the mistake of giving them everything they asked for, they will think you have a lot and will come again. Start by giving a fraction – half or a quarter of what they asked for.
2. If you are finding it difficult to say NO, then focus on giving only towards important things that will make an impact on their lives. Focus on certain things that you consider serious such as health and education.
3. Choose one person in a family within the community at a time. If you decide to help that person make sure you let the rest of the household know that you will be helping that person and cannot be in the position to help anyone else within the same family for that period.
4. Do not give immediately they ask for help unless it is an emergency. Always try to give yourself time to work within your budget to be financially in the place where you can help them without neglecting your needs.
5. Try to know your limit financially and say No to anything above that limit.
6. Now by all means try not to fall into the ‘nice person trap. You do not give to be recognized as a good person.
7. Do not be a people pleaser because you will be left unpleasant. Those you are trying to please will never be pleased, and most importantly they can never please you.
8. Try to say No when the manner they request is not right. If the tone suggests you have money and don’t want to give or you have money and should give them, then try not to give them, that’s the typical entitlement syndrome.
9. Try to emphasise your needs and let them know if anything happens to you they won’t be able to help you or your family.
I truly hope these tips help you to navigate your way through the black tax system and just know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Try to help and give back to your family and community within your means. Black tax can take its toll on your life and well-being, therefore always be sure to put your needs first above all else.
Lima’s Diary is set to premiere the movie title “PROFIT POINT.” This movie will divulge the manipulative skills of each group in the system towards those in the slums, as this triggers each party to strive for PROFITS.
The premiering will take place at Sierra Bay on the 29th of May 2021, at 6:00 pm prompt. Tickets; Joel…….Le 150,000 Elijah…..Le 250,000
Don’t forget to make a date will Lima’s Diary to enjoy the best of Sierra Leone Movies.
Yes, you know we have our tradition here. We can’t let all these beautiful gowns, kaftans, dresses, suits and photos slide just like that. Sorry, this is coming late but as the saying goes; it is better late than never. So, here it is readers
“Your health is an Investment, not an expense” -unknown
Are you in Freetown and thinking of a lifestyle change? Don’t let those aspirations of a healthier and better you be a never achieved resolution. Get up, motivate yourself and get started. Encouraging other women to lead a healthy and vigorous lifestyle can be a daunting task for many, but not for our featured entrepreneur this week.
Today’s entrepreneur is a fitness enthusiast who has not only achieved incredible results for herself but has turned her newfound passion into a business through which she is helping and empowering other women to lose weight and gain their long lost confidence. She is the beautiful, strong, selfless, sassy, hardworking, and assertive Ms Razia Sultan Kamara, popularly known as Coach Peppeh (pepper).
Losing half of her body weight through diet and exercising two years ago has led her to rediscover herself and her purpose. She has become an expert through experience and research. She has managed to sculpt her body with toning exercises. For someone who lost half of her body weight, you cannot find one saggy spot on her body. Her goal now is to maintain the weight of her choice as she continues to sculpt and tone up. Her success has come with determination, consistency, and perseverance. She could have decided to keep her journey and experiences to herself but not Razia.
She thought it fit to share herself with others and help them become a better version of themselves. She saw other women struggling to lose weight, and she decided to bring them together. What started as a way to help just a few women she knows has blown into a total gym, known as Evolution Fitness. It runs in two-shift with over fifty women. The fear of being judged or body-shamed has stopped many people from taking part in the public exercise. Razia is one of the few who have stood up to change the narrative and has proven these stereotypes wrong.
At Evolution Fitness, women from different backgrounds and social footings are united under a single umbrella to lose weight. It has been a solution or result centre for many, where people who are tired of moving from one gym to the next without a solution find solace.
Some of her strategies are to not only work on the outer body, but she starts with the minds of her clients. She helps them with a meal plan as well. This has worked well for most of them as food plans are given according to body shape and type. Razia tries to build honesty and trust among the women. To stick with the program and food plan is very difficult, as she has only but a few hours with them in a day; getting them to be truthful to themselves is a must if they are to achieve the desired results. To lose weight, one has to develop the mindset, make a conscious decision, and be committed to it. We all know losing weight starts with the right attitude, as she’ll usually put it, “one should always connect their mind with their muscles”.
She has flexible workout plans that she frequently changes so that her client’s bodies will not get adapt to a specific workout. Her other edge is that at Evolution Fitness, you don’t get a flabby or saggy body when you are losing excess weight. You lose the fat, tone up, naturally, evolve, and become a fitter version of yourself. She deals with these things thoroughly, thereby making women feel more encouraged to get out and get fit.
She lets her clients know they compete with the scale and not the next person, as body type and metabolism make people lose weight in different places, pace, and rate. With Evolution Fitness, you get to experience that personal touch that is lacking in most gyms. You cannot help but feel important and worthy even among the crowd, and you can’t get that anywhere.
The phrase, staying motivated is easier with the right coach is the gospel at Evolution Fitness. It is no wonder women of all capacities, ages, and statuses come together to work out and are loving it. Razia makes other women feel relax in their imperfections. She has been helping women for almost a year, and you will be amazed at her accomplishments and results.
Razia’s humility and hard work have not gone unnoticed. She has gotten a lot of recognition from the movers and shakers in the industry. She has been on the Ellen Kiester show to tell her story, dreams, and aspirations to the rest of the world. During the housemate’s Sierra Leone season 2 show, she was the coach on duty; she goes into the house in the morning and helps the housemates get in shape with their morning workout. Razia collaborates with other women like Cherry Marshall, owner of Donerry Elegance, who sponsors her Saturday training with water and other goodies.
In all this, one thing we should know is that there is no magic in losing weight. It is a process, and it starts from within. It is a choice. As we try to change our lifestyles, let’s be reminded that we are what we eat, and what we eat is much more important than exercising. Let’s pay attention to what we eat, portions, how we eat, and finally, when we eat.
Are you tired of doing all sorts of yo-yo diet? Are you tired of how your tummy looks in those beautiful body con dresses? Are you tired of gaining weight? Do you want to lose weight permanently? Then evolution fitness is the right place to be. Currently, you can find evolution fitness at the tennis court, Hill Station, Freetown or you can reach Razia on this number +23276137944
Today March 8th is celebrated as International Women’s Day all around the world. This year’s theme is “women in leadership – achieving an equal future in a covid-19 world.” There is no equal future where a woman’s life will be cut short due to childbirth and other maternal health issues. Someone who gives life does not deserve to die in the process. Today on women’s day let us talk about maternal health in Sierra Leone. So we go by the general theme this year which is “choose to challenge” we challenge you all that no woman should die due to childbirth. We strongly believe that maternal health is something that should be championed by every gender. Women have carried the continued existence of the world for far too long. If the future depends on female reproduction then all hands must be on deck.
This is a topic I have been avoiding for so long because it touches the deepest part of my heart. In 2011, I lost a dear friend and colleague to maternal mortality at the Princess Christian Maternal Hospital and that experience scarred me for life. Her death was preventable, the placental did not follow immediately after delivery, we don’t know what they did to salvage that situation. She eventually died at 23 years of age. I will remember it for the rest of my life. This year we will be celebrating her tenth death anniversary, ten years just like that. Therefore to celebrate women’s day this year we went to PCMH to interview a gynaecologist on the state of affairs.
Interviewers: Tell our readers about self
DVJC: I am Dr Valerie John-Cole, obstetrician and gynaecologists at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) popularly known as Cottage Hospital. I work there in the capacity of a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist. I have worked for five years as a specialist but a total of eleven years as a doctor in the maternity hospital.
IV: What are the common health issue among women in Sierra Leone?
DVJC: The common complaints are numerous but as a gynea, I’ll say; infertility issue is the most common, then fibroid that is otherwise known as uterine myoma is also becoming prevalent among women of childbearing age; menstrual irregularities caused by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS); cancer is also on the rise affecting women of all ages, women who have reached menopause sometimes wake up to bleeding and when the test is done it will be discovered that the bleeding was due to cancer; there is also the issue of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and Urinary tract infections (UTI).
IV: What is the most effective form of birth control?
DVJC: Birth Control is also known as contraception or anti-conception. It is a method or device used to prevent pregnancy. The most effective form of birth control is abstinence. This is so because each form of birth control has a failure rate, we have had incidences of patients who are on birth control but end up getting pregnant. Another problem here also is that most people do not do consultations to know which birth control works best for them. Before birth control is prescribed for a patient, past medical history and present medical information must be reviewed to know which one works best. Some people do well with the pill, some with condoms, others with implants, some are better off with depo etc. Therefore, a proper examination should be conducted before any prescription. But what is common in Sierra Leone is that most people follow the advice of their peers, and do get these birth control methods over the counter without a prescription. The most effective depends on the patient’s clinical history.
IV: Do birth control have side effects?
DVJC: yes, of course, each one of them has its side effects, take for instance Intrauterine Device(IUD) what we commonly call coil; if it is not properly fixed it can lead to bleeding, infections, blocked tubes and or ectopic pregnancies. Other side effects of birth control methods are; nausea, bloating, withdrawal symptoms (small amount of blood or spotting), menstrual irregularities, mood change caused by hormonal imbalances, etc. Each of these methods has a side effect.
Iv: Have you ever had a patient who has reached menopause but experiencing bleeding?
DVJC: Yes! We call it post-menopausal bleeding. In most cases, it is due to cancer( cervical cancer, endometrial cancer) but there are other causes. Let me use this medium to tell each and everyone out there with parents who have reached menopause, to see a gynea immediately they start seeing blood. It is also important to note that any form of smelly discharge should also be a cause for concern and to visit a gynaecologist immediately. Because in most cases it starts with smelly discharges and they stay home until it gets to the point of bleeding. Other times post-menopausal bleeding can be caused by polyps. Polyps are ball-like structures that grow on the inner lining of the uterus. Polyps can sometimes be malignant growth that can be cancerous. Menopausal bleeding usually happens rarely with older women.
IV: Can you tell us what fibroids and ovarian cyst are and if they are the same thing?
DVJC: No! They are not the same, even though they have some similarities they are different. Fibroids are unusual growths that develop in or on a woman’s uterus. Sometimes these tumours become quite large and cause severe pain and heavy periods. This growth can be benign but non-cancerous. Sometimes, it can be corrected through a surgical procedure.
Ovarian Cyst- are fluid-filled sacs or pockets in an ovary or on its surface due to ovulation. Many women have ovarian cysts at some point. Most ovarian cysts present little or no discomfort and are harmless. The majority disappears without treatments. However, ovarian cysts especially those that ruptured – can cause serious symptoms.
IV: What are some of the challenges you face in the health care systems in general and how does that affect women’s health and maternal mortality?
DVJC: Hmmm, the challenges are many, some of them affect the health systems generally, and some are peculiar to our facility.
I am sure you may have read a tweet in recent weeks about the lack of water in our hospital. Yes, we do have a regular supply of water now from Guma since the tweet went viral, but even that is not sustainable. Somedays the water finishes at night and we go the whole night without it until we have a supply in the morning. In instances where we have to perform overnight surgery, what do we do? That is a major challenge.
Another I’ll say is the lack of human resources. When we talk to our colleagues overseas, we find out that they have teams made up of over thirty personnel. Here we have a team of five people to work the whole. What if you have to perform ten caesarean sessions? By the time you get to the fourth or fifth, you are tired and when you are tired you cannot work as effectively as you should. The most important thing is that these operations cannot be deferred because most of them are emergencies.
Logistics and supply is another challenge. For us who work at the free health care section, the supply of resources is not commensurate to the influx of people. Supply is never enough sometimes we have to put our private resources into the job.
A conducive working environment again is another factor. No sustainable electricity, medical supply not available, no proper coordination, e.g even our blood banks do not have a single drop of blood. Before now we used to have a policy that each pregnant women should donate blood, but due to some legislation, that policy was scrapped. If you go to places like Aberdeen women centre they religiously follow that policy and they always have blood for patients who need it. These are some of the reason why Sierra Leoneans abroad do not want to come back to work in the medical sector.
Limited space is another issue. The fact that our facility is small, and we are now catering to more than the number of people it was built for is a problem. It was called a cottage because it was built for a small number of people. Now with the free health care, there is a large influx of patients. It should no longer be a cottage. Another reason is that some other health clinics are not equipped to handle all the health issues, thereby causing the influx of patient at our facility and we can’t efficiently cater to everybody
Demotivation: The staff are demotivated, the salary is nothing to write home about. In other countries doctors have on-call allowances, here we don’t have perks like that and this is contributing to brain drain. Medical personnel are diverting to public health and avoiding the clinical aspect of the job. Others are leaving for greener pastures abroad and even other private facilities within the country.
Finally, the lack of public health education by most people, especially, pregnant women. A large number of them do not show up to the hospitals until they are in their second trimesters.
All of the aforementioned are challenges that affect maternal health directly or indirectly. Each of them weakens maternal health care in the country.
Interviewers: would you say the health care situation in the country is improving or deteriorating?
DVJC: This is difficult to tell because in some areas there are progress but the deterioration in other areas will derail and override all the efforts or progress that has been made in some. Until we stop recording the death of pregnant women in high digits or incidents of child mortality, we cannot claim any progress. For now, PCMH is being highly supported by an NGO and if that NGO decides to pull out there will be serious implications. This place will be left completely naked and exposed.
IV: So what are your expectations, recommendations, and advice?
DVJC: We look forward to days when we will have a proper hospital setting, where both patients and doctors will be satisfied working or using the facility. If Patients know that when they go to the hospital they will get efficient and effective service delivery they will be excited about their visits. Doctors and nurses are motivated to work, money is important but it is not all we need. The working environment should be conducive, medical supplies must be always available and enough. We hope to have a twenty-four-hour functional lab for investigation and diagnosis. For instance, if a patient needs a CT Scan we will have to refer such a patient to private institutions like Ramsey and Ecomed. Since these services are not available in government hospitals, and the cost can be a burden to some patients, considering the economic situation in the country. We need twenty-four hours running water( pipe-borne), twenty-four hours electricity (it is high time hospitals have special electricity line). We should have a rich blood bank, blood is essential when a patient needs blood nothing can substitute that. You will be surprised to know that emergency hospital gets medical supplies from government, but we either don’t get the same supply or we just have a broken hospital system here. All of us have to do more, government, health workers, and even you people blogging. We should all do more in raising and creating awareness and education for more people.
IV: Thank you so much for your time, Doctor Valerie.
Conclusion: Sierra Leone has one of the highest (if not the highest) maternal mortality rate in the world. A UNICEF report of 2019 indicated that 1360 mothers die in every 100000 live births. The mortality rates of neonates, infants and children under five are also amongst the highest globally at 34, 82, and 111 deaths per 1000 live births, respectively. These staggering figures represent the real and pervasive challenges women and children face in Sierra Leone with poor healthcare practices and sub-standard and ill-equipped health care facilities.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Walt Disney
My dear readers, as we are in the Christmas spirit, a season of love and sharing. Let’s not forget to patronise small businesses owned by locals as their growth and expansion depend on it.
Today, I want you all to meet the very promising business owner, Hawanatu Uwanie Dumbuya popularly known as Aantie. She is the CEO of Shop With Aantie. A candidate at the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute, an MBA Finance Student at the University of Zambia, a postgraduate candidate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Amity University India. She holds a professional certificate in Human Resources Management from UNICAF University, a verified certificate in Data Analytics for Managers, Michigan University, a certificate in Equity Finance and Innovative Markets and Industrial Technology from The Open University (UK). Hawanatu graduated from Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone with a Second Class Upper in Accounting and Finance. She is currently working as a Finance Officer in the Energy Sector Utility Reform Project.
She had always dreamt of starting a business since she was a little girl. Born and raised in a household known for entrepreneurship, she saw first hand, how her mother was able to raise them through her business alone. Even though she wanted to work in the corporate world, she was not going to sit and wait for a job. So after graduation she went ahead and start her business venture known as Shop With Aantie. Now let’s hear the rest of her journey from the horse’s mouth.
Dasalonetiti: Tell us about your business?
Hawanatu: Shop With Aantie is an online gift store that caters for kids ranging from ages 0-15years. I am also into; home decor, office furnishings, cleaning Items, and personalized picture frames. Shop with Aantie makes it easy for my clients to discover, access, and buy products they see in videos, pictures and flyers. The public can access Shop With Aantie 24 hours round the clock, seven days a week. I offer premium customers satisfaction. As I bring my clients their choices right on their doorsteps.
Dasalonetiti: What made you start Shop with Aantie?
Hawanatu: I started Shop With Aantie to provide the general public with a much easier way to buy gifts for their families and friends. To ease the stress associated with going to town and walking miles just trying to locate the right place or the right gifts, cleaning materials or home decors. No one has time for that now, as people are extremely busy nowadays with work and other side dealings (which could be family, business or education). The goal is to take off the stress associated with scouting for gifts and home decor for our clients. I provide a one-stop service to my clients, as they can just go online locate all they want and I can get it for them.
Dasalonetiti: What are some of your successes since you started shop with Aantie?
Hawanatu: One of my biggest success has been getting different contracts with notable organizations and offices to supply assorted food items, gifts, water, and drinks. As this was not part of my initial business plan. But one thing I have learned is to be flexible based on our customers demand. My close proximity with my client had led to the opening of a whole new area for my business. Another Sucessful thing about Shop With Aantie this year is that we made our first 100 million or $ 10,000 in sales this December, the year 2020 has not been bad after all. Business has been good and favourable so far and I am sincerely grateful to all my clients.
Dasalonetiti: You are known for gifts, home decor and cleaning materials, why the moved to general supplies?
Hawanatu: (laughs out loud!) Well like I said earlier this few months of doing business I have learned to be flexible. Doing business with corporate staff and workers, the question about general supplies will always come up in conversations. As a smart and savvy businesswoman that I am, I cannot let such opportunities slide. If my clients want general supplies for a specific occasion or their organisation, then that’s what they will get.
Dasalonetiti: Can you share with readers some of the challenges you’ve faced in the course of doing business?
Hawanatu: Sure! One of the major challenges for me so far is time. Being caught up with school work and business at the same time and now working a full time job has not been easy for me or those around me. I am in constant pursuit of ways to manage my time so that nothing that concerns me is affected. It was hard at first as I rarely have time for Shop With Aantie. But so far I have been blessed with good and hardworking people supporting me. Another constraint is the cost of transporting goods to the doorsteps of our customers. I usually spend a huge amount of money to hire the services of a delivery van for a whole day sometimes. Especially, If I have an urgent delivery of supplies for a client
Dasalonetiti: How has covid affected you and your business?
Hawanatu: Covid 19 has not spared anyone or anywhere in its quest of wreaking havoc. Personally, the inconveniences of wearing a mask and the ban on social events or gathering, the restrictions on movement, have not been easy. Business-wise covid19 pandemic has adversely affected my placement of stock. I usually run out of stock because of shipping constraints. Most of my gift items are from the United Kingdom. The UK had been severely hit by covid 19 and was in lockdown. land, air, and sea thereby bringing everything to a halt. Goods took longer to get here when they resumed services leaving us out of stock a few times. Thereby causing clients to wait for long periods to get their supplies. Thankfully, most of them have been understanding, patience, and tolerance towards me and the business.
Dasalonetiti: what should we expect from Shop with Aantie in the coming years?
Hawanatu: I just want people out there to watch my space. I am moving and will keep working hard. Even though it may seem as though Shop With Aantie is taking another route. They should also know that I am an online gift and decor store operating as an enterprise. I am still into what I established this business for. I have just added general supplies to it wherein I supply Food items and other essential to different offices and organizations. Shop With Aantie is now beyond the normal Baby, family and friends gifting thing or Picture Frames. I do bulk supplies of drinks, bottle water, gift hampers, and cleaning enssentials. Shop with Aantie has been doing huge things behind the scenes. I hope to continue that way and keep satisfying my clients.
Dasalonetiti: What is your advice to other young people, who are afraid to take the risk of starting a business?
Hawanatu: Being able to do what you love and want to do is a good thing. I can tell everyone and anyone who cares to listen that for sure business pays. No matter how small you have to start, try to give it your all. It is usually important to start small in the first place. Always back up your hard work up with prayers as this is key as well.
Dasalonetiti: Thank you very much, we hope to catch up with you in the future. We wish you the very best with Shop with Aantie.
So, there you have heard it all from Hawanatu CEO of Shop with Aantie. Even though some people will say we are romanticizing entrepreneurship, it is not an easy thing as others are claiming it to be. Nobody said it will be easy. Entrepreneurship is hard everywhere. But if you have the zest for it, why not take the risk and start small like Hawanatu?
What are you waiting for? Are you looking for any type of gifts for your loved ones. You are moving into your new home and wants to decorate? Do you want to redecorate? Are you looking for a supplier for your office essentials or private events? If you are in need of any of the above or you simply wish to get more information on how to Shop With Aantie? Kindly, contact them on: Mobile: +23276719264 Whatsapp: +23388242439 Email: email@example.com Instagram Shop With Aantie Facebook: Shop With Aantie
Basket of Ajo is inspired partly by my Dad’s younger brother, Alaba. Growing up, all our home furniture and decor were crafted by Uncle Alaba, a skilled woodworker. Art has a long history in the family. Grandpa Tommy was a Sculptor and his father, Grandpa Joseph was a Draughtsman in the Colonial Surveyor department in Southern Nigeria. Each ancestor is an inspiration to continue a family heritage of creating artwork and tools that preserve history and identity.
A creative urge and the desire to see more people motivated and empowered through handmade and curated products led to the forming of a gifting and home decor enterprise. In certain African cultures, the term ‘Ajo’ means a display of goodwill to those around you. Ajo is a journey, and a contribution, with the essence of sharing and encouraging good fortune. The concept of Ajo illustrates the essence of what we are about and a desire to create a culture of gifting for people of African descent around the world.
Gara textile making has a long history and tradition in Sierra Leone. This tradition has been in Fatmata Kabia’s family for generations. The creativity that goes into the production of our throw pillows is partly inspired by her family heritage and identity. She leads the creative team and oversees the production of our signature fabrics, all handcrafted by skilled craftsmen and women in Sierra Leone. All of our Throw Pillows are made in Sierra Leone by our team of Tailors and Seamstresses.
Our Gift boxes are filled with arts and crafts bought from craftsmen/women traders at “Big Market” in Freetown. Our small canvases are packaged in shukublai bags made by inhabitants of a historic village called Rogbonko in Northern Sierra Leone. Shukublai has strong links to the sweetgrass baskets made by African Americans along the Gullah-Geechee Corridor. The product highlights the strong connection between South Carolina, Sierra Leone and the region.
Big Market is one of the national historical monuments of Sierra Leone. Located in Freetown, it was originally built in 1861 by an Afro-West Indian builder, Charles Hazelborg. It sits at the heart of the historic settler town, founded by African American settlers in 1792, who gained their freedom from fighting for the British during the American revolutionary war. Big Market is a perfect illustration of the dynamic history and diversity of Freetown. Market traders, especially women traders and arts & crafts traders are at the heart of our brand.
Rahima is a Sierra Leonean writer whose works range from short stories to poetry. She is a writer who possesses an astounding creative mind and vivid imagination. Not surprisingly, she deploys the same with laudable objectivity, prudence, and calmness in her thoughts. This has led her to attract a new generation of readers to African literature.
Rahima is an entrepreneur and who works for one of the MDAs in Sierra Leone. She has an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Global Business with a background in Financial Services. Writing has come naturally to her– and, in the wake of her undertakings in this direction, she is doing it with finesse and top-notch brilliance. She started developing her writing skills after her tertiary education. She also blogs and who uses her platform to promote young entrepreneurs, especially women. She dares to put under the lens some of the issues affecting young people on her website @ https://www.dasalone-titi.com and all other social media platforms as Dasalone-titi. Rahima is a co-founder of 272 Foundation with her husband, which is a charity organization that helps primary school children with school learning materials. She is married to Alimamy Kargbo, and they have a daughter.
Yabom is on Amazon currently, and in Freetown at Blessed Farouk’s Enterprise, 17 Regent Road, Central.
The big sister show is Sierra Leone’s first-ever reality TV show. BSSL is created and owned by our very own entertainment guru Zainab Sheriff. The show was piloted last year and it became a huge success. According to her, this platform was developed primarily to nurture and empower young women in Sierra Leone.
This season, we saw a lot of disparity from last year’s; in terms of the venue as a whole village was created just for the show. The involvement of other nationals from West Africa and Asia, and of course the grand prize which was a whopping Le 500,000,000 or $ 50,000.
The show is still very young and has its challenges. One thing that we cannot deny is it potential to grow and go beyond our borders. Yes, there were hiccups here and there during this season just like the last, but overall it was entertaining. Which is one of the fundamental reasons why the show was created in the first place.
Out of the thirty-two girls that entered the competition. Majo Bona, a professional dancer residing in the United States, emerged as the winner as she clinched 50% of the total votes. Fans of Majo Bona called themselves cocolians and they showed their voting prowess very early on the show. We wish Majo all the best in future endeavours. As we have been hearing from her fans, that she wants to use her winnings, and platform to help other young Sierra Leoneans with talents. We hope she achieves this and creates the space for others to nurture and grow.
Finally, as BSSL season 2 is over we know Zainab Sheriff has all it takes to address some of the concerns raised by viewers during this season.
When I was a little girl. I will sit in front of our rented apartment in the east part of Freetown, Wellington to be precise. Every day at around 5:00 to 6:00 Pm, I will leave everything I was doing and dashed to the veranda, just to have a peek of Miss Davies; a lady whose father’s name was on the street. They had the best house on the street, fenced with barbed wire, with a lot of fruit-bearing trees in it. Did I mention the wild dogs? Yes! Wild dogs, so if you don’t have business with them or you are not invited to their compound, you don’t go anywhere near their house. Why do I always rush, to go seat and wait around that same time in the evening? I didn’t even know what time meant but because of the routine nature of it all, I will surely know it was time to go to that spot. My reasons then were as follows; she was the first woman I ever saw in my life driving a car, she was always well dressed, and I enjoyed watching her taking those slow strides in her thin heels up the hill if she did not drive. Thirdly, she worked in a bank and my idea then was all bank workers are rich. Finally, and most importantly, she would smile and waved at me most times. Ask me a few questions a few times, and will give me money ( laugh out loud).
Why am I telling you this? Those encounters planted a seed in my psyche. Her actions and warmth prompted me to dream. From those moments forward I looked up to her, her kind of woman or what she embodied; the educated, independent and hardworking woman. I wanted to be educated, to drive a car, work in a bank and become rich like Miss Davies, and that idea never left me growing up.
Unconsciously, this became my driving force through the years. Adulthood they say is a scam (smh). This is true indeed, I grew up and got my first degree. Coincidentally, my first job was at a bank. Lo and behold it was no fun, not what I expected after all. Why was she always cool and calm after work? I usually thought to my self. Again, I got to realize not everyone working at the bank is rich and happy (smile); I had to quit my bank job because l didn’t quite enjoy it.
I’ll tell you I have had so many dreams and aspirations. I have dropped a lot, changed a few, and I have picked up others along the way. The fact is I will never stop dreaming. I am not perfect, and not where I want to be, but my wish for every other young girl is to have that one adult that will smile at them and prompt their imaginations. That these girls will encounter strong women that will plant seeds to be more in their minds, seeds that will germinate into something beautiful. I hope every girl has the opportunity to encounter that one person in their lives. Be it a man or woman that will change their perceptions, and attitudes to life in a positive way forever. Seeds that will reorientate their minds.
Since we left that area, I have neither seen nor heard about Miss Davies. I have completely forgotten how she looks. But what I vividly remember is how she touched my life in so many incomprehensible ways. Well, maybe we might have met somewhere along the way without recognizing each other, who knows? Isn’t that weird or the thought of it? Today, I am here, sending Miss Davies love and light where ever she is or might be, she is my shero. I want to let her know that I have never stopped dreaming. She did me good and God bless her for me.
Are you contemplating on gathering your family and friends? Are you planning on making precious moments? To create memorable experiences with loved ones? Have you heard about Dreamglam & Co Teepee?
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Dreamglam & Co Teepee is a sourcing, decor, and event planning business owned by Elizabeth Fatu Conteh-Kamara. This business is located in the east part of Freetown at 154 low-cost housing estate kissy.
As the holiday and wedding season is slowly creeping upon us. Don’t wait till you get disappointed by that unreliable supplier of yours before you start scouting for a dependable and efficient one. Call Dreamglam & Co now on +23278147102, and bring all your worries to an end.
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For over 35 years, Rotary International has been engaged in the fight to end Polio. On this year’s occasion of World Polio Day, we highlight how far we have come and reaffirm our commitment as Rotarians to completely eradicating this disease on the face of the earth.
Have you heard about Shea and More? Have you tried any of their products? Shea and More is a local cosmetic and Agric-Business Company that organically produced and sell; the African black soaps, body butter, facial scrubs, lip balm and peanut butter. They have mastered the chemistry of blending locally grown products fit perfectly for the African skin and weather. Taking into consideration the different skin types. Shea and More have become a household name with a lot of positive reviews from its clients. Rush now and be a part of history, don’t be left out. If you battling with blemishes, white and blackheads, acne, and scars. Are you looking for homegrown organic peanut butter? Why not try Shea and More today, and get that amazing skin result you have always wanted.
Don’t forget! Sierra Leoneans, one unafraid girl at a time. As we commemorate this day, let’s not forget to lend our voices to what truly matters in the lives of young girls in our homes and communities. #everygirlmatters #internationaldayofthegirlchild2020
Thanks to @level_upsalone for all you do in lifting other girls/women. We see you🤝💪
Predominantly worn by the Creoles of Sierra Leone. The print is a specific cotton design with a unique type of embroidery for ladies. It is a loose-fitting dress with matching scarf of a particular colourful cotton printed fabric made purposely for that. The surface is pleated from the imperial waistline down. Necklines may be square or be in an asymmetrical zigzag decorative pattern. Sleeves are three-quarter length, with ruffles around the cuff. The bottom of the dress has a decorative ruffle sewn just above the bottom hem. Only white or off white thread was used for the stitches. The dress has side pockets and it is then adorned with embroidery around the neckline, pockets and back shoulder. This is what the typical print/Kabba slot Embroidery looks likes.
LeoneCulture aims to rejuvenate the print embroidery by embracing modern styles and designs using vibrant African Wax/Cotton, and using different colour threads, and unique cutwork to bring the Print embroidery to life. While maintaining the foundation and respect for the women before us, who wore the prints embroidery with love. We don’t want the prints to be limited to only women as is used to be. That is why we are creating for both sexes. Shop from the website @www.leoneculture.com. We also wants to get young people interest in wearing prints as they are the drivers of trends and fashion. One way we can achieve this is to make the print as attractive and modern to fit their taste.
Sierra Leone has a few traditional attires such as the Print/Kabba Slot Embroidery, Country Cloth Smock, Ronko Smock, Batik(gara tie-dye). Over the years not much has changed fashion-wise especially, for the Print embroidery in comparison to the Kente and Ero and Buba by our counterparts in West Africa such as Nigeria and Ghana. Fashion keeps evolving and for a particular style to stay relevant it has to be flexible and adaptable. Willing to evolve and change with times and we have not seen this in the print embroidery fashion industry. We have seen the same materials, design, and thread work been used since the 1950s. Thereby pushing away a lot of young people or none creole Sierra Leoneans from embracing the print embroidery culture. Most have resigned from wearing it and have left it in the hands of the aged.
Leoneculture’s mission is to get more young people (both sexes) in Sierra Leone and elsewhere to be interested in wearing the print as a national symbol and pride by styling and designing it in more attractive ways, with different thread colors.
HOW IT IS MADE The first step is to make the stitches on a particular type of paper or canvas. After stitching, the next step is cutwork of designs on the yoke of the “Kabba slot,” the perimeters of the cutwork are intricately bound with bias tape or the cotton. Then the cutwork is joined together to bring the design to life.
HISTORY OF THE PRINT Print embroidery has a rich heritage and has moved from one generation to the next. It is resilient as the women of Sierra Leone. The Cotton fabrics utilized for the dress called “kabbalah slot” were printed in Europe. A well-known firm in Manchester was manufacturing the fabrics. During the height of the fashion in the 1950s, the company sent representatives with specimens to Freetown to research the preferences of women and then created the favourite designs for the Krio market women. Some of the design chosen was called “Birds Eating Rice.” “Bananas.” “Flowers” and so forth.
HISTORY OF THE CREOLE PEOPLE OF SIERRA LEONE The Sierra Leone Creole people (Krio people) are descendants of freed African American, West Indian, Jamaican Maroons, NovaScotians, Recaptives, and Liberated African Slaves. They settled in the Western Area of Sierra Leone between 1787 and about 1885. The colony was founded by the British, supported by abolitionists, under the Sierra Leone Company as a place for freedmen. The settlers called their new settlement Freetown. Today. The Sierra Leone Creoles comprise 1.3% of the population of Sierra Leone. The Creoles went on to become some of Africa’s first professionals and experts, becoming physicians, solicitors, managers, supervisors and pioneers. Some of them would later move through the course of their work to go settle in Ghana, Gambia, and Nigeria as important actors in the business and public service.
Sierra Leone is as blessed as they come. Check out this beautiful waterfall at Grafton. My country people, nature is fair and has shared this between the East and the West part of Freetown. I hope everyone can now enjoy theirs in peace (pun intended).
According to Alpha Mansaray, a young resident of Grafton around the Zion area, the falls had always been there. He had childhood memories of going up there with his friends in search of Apple and other fruits. As children, then, they knew neither the value nor the beauty of the fall and the view up there was much more different from what it is now.
Presently, due to human interference and development, a lot of new infrastructures are springing along the stream where the fall is located. This has affected the force and speed of the fall, and this is especially so during the dry season. He advised that the best time to enjoy the view of the falls is during the rains. As it is only then one can enjoy the magical and enchanting glory of the fall.
Amidst all this, there are still opportunities for Sierra Leoneans to explore and discover our beloved country Sierra Leone. Grafton and then environs around the fall still have large palm fruits, cashew, and other fruit farms along the way to the fall, a beautiful place to enjoy sunrise and sunset, Alpha explained.
The road network along that area is deplorable as most of the hilly roads in this country. It is motorable only to a certain point, where cars can Park and the rest of the journey would be on foot.
We say this to our children all the time. So definitely you must have heard a family or friend say this to their child(ren) multiple times as a punitive measure, especially if they are out of line behavior-wise. These kids will be crying, saddened because they hated it. They are not programmed to sit still or not to do anything. They are kids, and those years are the only time they got to be the children they are. Yet, we cheat them into taking time out everynow and then.
DO THEY REALLY NEED TIMEOUT?
Yes! Time out is the word. When in essence adults do need these time out sessions than the children in our lives. As an adult, we go through a lot of everything, work, home, family, friends, and finally, society. As all of these things do come with their own level of stress. Stress over a period of time can derail our mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. This will take a toll on the body in diverse ways; some may lose weight, some may gain, some will experience hair loss, some early grey hair but most significantly many might experience a breakdown.
MENTAL AILMENT IN SIERRALEONE
In a country with a single psychiatric hospital and few doctors. You will be amazed at how much Sierra Leoneans don’t know about mental illness. How many of us go through this ailment without realizing it. Is it because our society has only one name for a complex disease like this? Crase! My people will call it. Crazy, Madness these negative adjectives has left more fear in the minds of people. Mental Illness is not all about madness and craziness, is it? There are several symptoms of mental health that are less severe and more common among people. Yet, I have come to realize how people will just gaslight your symptoms through their words, actions, or inactions. You will hear them asked, are you really sure that is what you are experiencing? Just because they don’t want to agree that you are actually suffering from mental illness or they’ll just dismiss you, claiming black people do not go through such ordeal. Black people, don’t get other types of mental illnesses except for the blanket one, CRASE.At least that what most Salone people think.
THE DEVIL HAS A HAND INEVERYTHING
The notion of mental ailment in a culture like ours is a complex one, and it is mostly treated as a curse or something associated with the devil, sorcery, witchcraft, or some other superstitious myth. Most times people who have mental health issues are ridiculed and left on the street to tend/fend for themselves. They are left to live with their struggles alone. For this reason and more people are not willing to talk about their mental state. Depending on their faith or background we almost always advise them to seek God. Through the church or man of God for their mental state. Which in itself is not bad if some of them can figure out what you are suffering from and can offer help through counseling. In cases where they feel it is beyond their control refer the victims for professional medical help as fast as possible. Some are even taken to shrines for charms and other diabolical stuff used to drive these assumed evil spirits that have possessed these victims and causing the madness. I don’t know if it is possible to drive evil with evil or maybe there are levels to these evil powers, but that we will leave for another day.
For the purposes of this Time Out article let’s try to answer some of these questions; What is a mental health illness? What are the types of mental illness? What causes mental illness? What are some of the signs of mental illness?
MENTAL ILLNESS-is a health condition encompassing changes in attitude, thinking, or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are related to discomfort and difficulties functioning in social, work, or family activities. Mental illness is common. Numerous people have mental health problems from time to time. But a mental health problem comes to be a mental illness when continuous signs and symptoms result in periodic stress and influence your capacity to function. Mental illness is common. About 1 in 5 adults has a mental illness in any given year. Mental illness can begin at any age, from childhood through later adult years, but most cases begin earlier in life. The effects of mental illness can be temporary or long-lasting. You also can have more than one mental health disorder at the same time. For example, you may have depression and a substance use disorder.
COMMON TYPES OF MENTAL ILLNESS
A mental health ailment characterized by a never-ending unhappy mood. It can also be the loss of interest in recreations, causing notable suffering in one’s daily life.
A mental health disorder that is considered to be the feeling of worry, anxiety, or fears that is adequately strong enough to obstruct one’s daily activities.
This is characterized by events of attitude swings differing from depressive lows to manic highs.
A group of thinking and social symptoms that interferes with daily functioning.
A persistent situation involving attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
An ailment that influences a person’s ability to think, feel, and function clearly.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Unreasonable thoughts (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions).
EARLY SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
1. Feeling sad or down 2. confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate 3. excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt, 4. extreme mood changes of highs and lows, 5. withdrawal from friends and activities. 6. Significant tiredness, low energy, or problems sleeping. 7. Detachment from reality and trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people. 8. Problems with alcohol or drug use. 9. Excessive anger, hostility or violence, and suicidal thinking.
1. Inherited traits. Mental illness is more common in people whose blood relatives also have a mental illness. Certain genes may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, and your life situation may trigger it.
2. Environmental exposures before birth. Exposure to environmental stressors, inflammatory conditions, toxins, alcohol, or drugs while in the womb can sometimes be linked to mental illness.
3. Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are generally existing brain chemicals that transmit clues to other parts of your brain and body.
There’s no certain path to avoid mental illness. However, if you have a mental illness, taking steps to control stress, to increase your resilience, and to stimulate low self-esteem may help keep your symptoms under control. Follow these steps: • Pay attention to warning signs • Get routine medical care • Get help when you need it. • Take good care of yourself and your sanity.
Learn to take time out for yourself, it is very important to treat yourself, even if that means some alone time to reenergize. If you are becoming overwhelmed with things. Take a step back and breathe, go to the beach, take the kids out, and go to the park, walk your dog around if you have any, visit family and friends. Learn ways to calm yourself and relax. Learn to identify your triggers and take the necessary steps to bring yourself to sanity.
This article is for information purposes only. Consult your local medical authority for advice or your mental health services provider(s).
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I wished to jot something down So I took my pen and a slab In my head juxtapose of thoughts, My unexpressed emotions rallied As perceptions fought their way through My ink dried up leaving my pen thirsty, desperateto write more Ultimately, my pen kissed the pages With every stroke a lifeline Handwriting like a sloppy artwork My mouth yearned to speak All that my pen wanted to write Yet, it couldn’t, my lips refused to open As I struggled to question What could have gone wrong?
I rubbed my pen to the right Then to the left I rubbed it upwards Then downwards I rubbed it some more But nothing stayed
Deception of ink’s reflection It is still full or that’s what I felt No visions, no characters Just like the movies the director yelled, cut! I paused, as I looked down All that I saw were marks Of what could have been A fine print for the history makers
But for those who are hungry for more Glad I got to pen this down Before my ink expired.
Love and light from my sides to yours❤💡 and have a pleasant week ahead
Life’s too cruel to live, yet we refuse to die. Lips too saddened to curve up in a smile, yet we laugh. Heart shattered into pieces, no way it can’t be fixed. We can only hope, as humans there is only one way home.
The turmoil of the mind Where is it coming from?
The universe aligns and breathes down judgement. A connection between light and gloom I am always in the middle. The courtroom is where frenemies abode with a heart as black as their frock. Life can be either black or white, no time for grey except for the wigs Evidence in my memory, not document by my defence. My life is proof, yet they did erase it like writings on a chalkboard Karma is on a journey that has made me the destination. On my hands are not blood but the weight of my fingers. I am not guilty is on a replay musical note to the mind.
“I put it to you” an angered voice screamed in my head. My thoughts aimlessly on handcuffed Muffled tone from my doppelganger The scorned voice shouts “you deserve it bitch” Against my spirit, the gavel lands with screams that jolted my realities. When the accused becomes the accuser, I am who I am not built for the orange suit. Prosecutors build their belief on my doubt but I swear to say the truth and nothing but the truth. My mind drifts to dark thoughts that need cleansing with my acidic tears. Where are the lords when I am being condemned? Are they not supposed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt? But the gavel came down again this time too loud for me to listen. GUILTY!! the Judge says I am You are not INNOCENT either my mind said My head cries out you have been FRAMED
Early this morning, sitting on my bed pondering, my thoughts drifted to where I was last weekend. You might be thinking where that was, right? There is a discovery around the Freetown Peninsula deep in the hills of Mambo, a waterfall that has been attracting a lot of local tourists even amidst the Pandemic. In fact scratch ‘discovery’, this waterfall has always been there. Hidden, untouched, pure, mystical, a secret that was known to only but a few in the Mambo neighbourhood. Even though its voice can be heard from miles away in a slow rush as it falls on black rocks as if it were cleansing them, the irony is this voice is lost on most of its people. Its voice can only be heard by those who dare to listen. Human interventions and deforestations happening around the peninsula has brought this mystery place to the knowledge of Freetownians, it is no longer a secret. In fact, it seems as if all the lands around that territory are now in the hands of private individuals. Stones marked with white paints and tiny aluminium structures depicting ownership are the views along the way. My friend asked me, what if someone comes to claim this waterfall as his/her property? We had a great laugh about it, but deep down we know this is Sierra Leone where anything can happen, especially when it seems all the landmark around it are now privately owned.
I asked myself questions: Who own these lands, the community or the government? Who are selling these lands? Why are people buying these lands? Those who are claiming to own these lands in the Mambo community, how did they come about it? If not for anything but we have seen, how building structures on these hills can be disastrous. Lessons that Sierra Leoneans are refusing to learn. When shall we start to care about our safety and that of others, these are not easy terrain. These lands should be preserved, the whole ecosystem up there had been altered. You can see the damage, as exposed land stand naked in the cold heat of the July evening asking the passersby for a blanket. We are not listening to their pleas and these hills had long stopped to re-echo our cries likewise.
I was not expecting to go to Mambo waterfall that day, but I am pleased I did. After what seemed like broken arrangements with friends. I got a call from one saying let’s do this, “I am leaving now, let’s meet at your junction”. As a lover of adventure, I jumped right in. It was about 5:00 pm in the evening when we left my junction. The road to that place is the worst I have ever experienced in Freetown. Steep hill, sharp rocks, slippery slopes, sharp edges of fallen trees for coal burning, and land clearing that require every bit of your mental and physical energies. The climb is not for the faint-hearted, I can assure you.
The amazing detail is that the trip to the waterfall is unexplainably eventful; this came as a shock to me as I was not expecting the crowd, especially in this pandemic. People moved in groups; community members as well as others who just want to see the great waterfall: those who want to take pictures for social media, couples, friends, pregnant women, teenagers, kids all in anticipation. Some in the deep conversation of what government should do, how countries in the west would have turned this into some money. The usual ‘Salone man’ talk of the knows and the know not, the haves and the have not. How we all have an opinion, yet nothing seems to be working properly in the country.
No! I didn’t see a single person in a mask. The climb did force me to take mine off so I can breathe properly, maybe the same thing happened to others too. I thought it was a national holiday or some other festivities. My people will never disappoint when it comes to having a good time. Musical sets, Bluetooth speakers all through the walk, great ambience, young guys intoxicated from alcohol, and others on some kind of high. Young girls clad in bikinis and short. I turned and looked at my friend we smiled at each other with the understanding that we were definitely not dressed for the occasion. My long turn jeans and Jesus print T-shirt on Sunday was definitely out of place, I guess. Her long black jumper seemed to have no place either. We were like, duh! who made the rules?
The view from up there is to die for, I can’t even lie. Freshwater which I was made to understand by the locals is from Guma dam waste running through their community. The fall is soothing to the soul as it will take your mind off everything else. Magical spring falling with so much grace at a pace enticing to the eyes. Romancing with the wind and creating a mist in the air just above the water. The birds chirping was music to my worried soul, I was lost on the climb but immediately found myself, only to get lost again in awe of the view.
As we left the falls trying to brave the walk back to where we were dropped off by the bike riders, I can’t help but felt sick to my stomach. Other questions came running through my mind. What is the Environmental Protection Agency doing to protect that area? I am afraid human activities will cause the water to dry out someday. What is the Ministry of Tourism doing to see how best they can build our local tourism? Can they work with other government Ministries like Lands and Works? Can they make the roads? Bring solar light and set up structures around the waterfall? Imagine if cars could get really close to the waterfall? Eventually, we reached where we were dropped off by the bikes and not a single bike in sight. This was the most painful part of it all because at this point our feet were shaking and aching. Don’t these bikers saw the crowd coming to these hills? Why can’t they see it as an opportunity to make money by doing multiple trips? In my frustration, I forgot it was dark and no one will risk himself or his bike for a thousand five. That’s how we walk from the waterfall to Mambo Junction on our way back. Lesson Learned “one might never climb down the way you went up, be humble”
Tips For First-Timers:
• Be on flat (Sneakers, Sandals or Slippers) • Get a backpack • Pack food and water if you don’t want to drink the water from the fall. • Pack your Bikinis, one-piece, minis and short or extra clothing • Best time to climb is Morning or the early evening. • Prepare your mind, be ready and be fit.
A lot has changed for women in the 21st century, so much so that a lot of women do have a career which they will choose any day over societal stereotypes. Women do have careers and plans that are well thought out. Nowadays, a lot of us strive for financial and economic independence. Sometimes this might pose a challenge to other social needs like having a family and raising kids. Some women, therefore, choose to pursue their dreams first and postpone childbearing to a later age compared to our mother’s generation. Even though fertility issues concern everyone but for the purpose of this article, we are going to concentrate on the women
Women are increasingly embracing the idea of harvesting and saving their eggs for when they will need it. In this fast-paced life of ours, women can only rely on these procedures to help them have children when and how they choose, and when they are done chasing their dreams. Such procedures, include IVF and surrogacy. IVF and surrogacy have given hope to more women in the world, to not worry about societal and biological pressures. Yet, society has placed so much importance on the idea that pregnancy and childbearing can only be complete when the woman/mother carries the embryo in her womb for nine or ten months and give birth to the baby. The question here is does it always have to be this way?
Enough! preamble already. Now let’s dive into the topic proper. Questions; What is surrogacy? or who is a surrogate mother? If faced with infertility as a Sierra Leonean parents would you try surrogacy? I know we have neither the laws nor the clinics in Sierra Leone. But, I also think it’s about time we have a discourse about this and at least bring the information closer to the people. To let them know they have choices, and that there are so many ways women can be mothers and surrogacy is one of the options.
WHAT IS SURROGACY?
Surrogacy is a procedure of aided reproduction where planned parents work with gestational carriers(GC) or surrogate who will carry and care for their baby(ies) until birth. Intended parents use surrogacy to start or grow their families when they can’t do so on their own. In another word, surrogacy is the process where an individual (woman) will willingly decide to carry a baby(ies) for another through the duration of the pregnancy, sometimes for financial gain but most importantly to help other parents enjoy the fruits of the womb.
Some types of surrogacy enable parents who are incapable of having children fulfil this desire. It’s a procedure that mandates medical and legal knowledge, as well as a healthy support method throughout the journey.
HOW SURROGACY WORKS
Through In Vitro Fertilization(IVF), embryos are created in a lab at a fertility clinic. Sometimes the intended parents use their own egg and sperm material. Other times, an egg or sperm benefactor is employed. At a fertility clinic, one or more embryos are implanted into a womb of the surrogate, who carries the baby(ies) to term.
Who Is a Surrogate Mother?
There are four kinds:
Traditional surrogate: Here a woman gets artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm. What we should understand is, with traditional surrogacy the surrogate also provides her egg to create the embryo, so the surrogate is biologically connected to the offspring and may assert in the court of law to contend the parental rights of the child. This type is certainly not recommended due to the lack of lawful defence for the parents seeking the service. She then carries the baby and delivers it for the parent in question to raise. It can also be a situation where both husband and wife want a baby but the wife’s egg is not viable, they can get a surrogate whose egg would be fertilized by the husband’s sperm. Note also that a donor sperm can be used
Gestational Surrogate. A procedure named “in vitro fertilization” (IVF) now makes it possible to gather eggs and sperm from a donor or the spouse that are requiring the service. Fertilize them, and place the embryo into the uterus of a surrogate mother.
The surrogate then carries the baby until birth. This type is free from most of the legal issues present in the traditional surrogacy. As the surrogate does not have any genetic ties to the child because it wasn’t her egg that was used.
Altruistic Surrogacy: In these arrangements, the surrogate doesn’t receive any monetary compensation. Here the intended parents will cover all the medical and legal expenses incurred during the process, including those directly derived from the pregnancy and the wellbeing of the surrogate, such as maternity clothes, special foods, vitamins and antenatal.
Commercial Surrogacy:Here the surrogate earns a financial dividend for the enormous bodily and emotional change she makes, as being pregnant brings a major change in a woman’s life. But the amount is restricted by law in order to deter the commodification of the woman’s body and surrogacy from becoming abusiness. This amount should not be an encouragement for women living in poverty to become surrogate. It should be a symbolic amount that rewards her solidarity and intention to help others and not for profit.
IMPORTANCE OF SURROGACY
1. It helps parents who have struggled with infertility to have a child(ren). 2. Makes it easy for women who are unable to physically carry a baby to have one. 3. It can help parents who have some form of genetic deformity, deficiency or health situation that is hereditary to have healthy babies. 4. It helps people who are in a same-sex marriage that want to have a baby that they are genetically connected with have one. 5. Women who had gone through vasectomy and their wombs were removed. 6. Conditions that make pregnancy impossible or too risky to carry by the wife such as terrible heart ailment.
HOW TO SELECT A SURROGATE?
Right now there aren’t any regulations about who can be a surrogate mother. But experts agree on a few points about how to select. You should choose a surrogate who: 1. Who is at least 21 years old.
2. A woman that gives birth to at least one healthy child, so she knows firsthand the medical threats of pregnancy, childbearing and other sentimental matters related to not bonding with the baby.
3. She must have been approved by psychologists to ensure that there are no underlying mental health issues, especially, issues such as giving up the baby after birth.
4. Signs an agreement about her role and obligations in the pregnancy, such as prenatal care and agreeing to give you the baby after birth.
We don’t have fertility clinics here and so we are not privy to some information on this matter. What we do know is how our societies most time make a woman who is unable to birth her own child(ren) feels less than or not much of a woman. Other countries in West Africa are at the forefront of fertility options, especially with options like IVF, countries like Ghana and Nigeria. There are people who have gone there with infertility problems and were able to have children. I also know that there will be a time in the not too distant future when surrogacy, will be a way of life for most women, irrespective of where they are in the world. Especially, those who can afford it, and are frightened of the birthing process and what pregnancy can sometimes do to the female body.
Some of the questions we should be asking ourselves are; Are there local forms of surrogacy happening in our societies already, but we don’t have a name for it? If not, the next question should be; Are we there yet as a nation? Are we ready for surrogacy and all its entanglements? If we do have fertility clinics here, would you opt for these measures to have a child? If you have the right information and resources as a woman would you go for surrogacy? Are our men open and ready to have these conversations? If you are a man with infertility would you be willing to use donor sperm? Since we don’t have laws that cover this particular problem. How are we going to handle the legal aspects of this process? If you are a woman with fertility issues would you be willing to use a surrogate? If you are a young fertile woman, would you be inclined to be a surrogate? If you were to be paid to be a surrogate how much would you accept as a fee? If you were to pay for these services, how much would you be willing to part with?
Bear in mind that surrogacy is a complex topic and do have some ethical and moral issues surrounding gender, labour, exploitation, and inequality.
As a nation that claims to have an interest in women, these are the issues we should start discussing. I think it’s about time, Sierra Leone starts thinking about the health of the citizens, as infertility affects both genders. In the light of establishing fertility clinics in Sierra Leone that will be providing safe and affordable answers to infertility. This is the time we look at what is important to us and map out ways to achieve them. These are topics we need to discuss as a proactive nation that takes the health of its citizens seriously. Till my next curiosity and write up peace!! and take care of yourself.
This article is for information purpose only. Kindly, seek adequate information on this topic from your health professionals.
Originally published by SiERRAEYE Magazine and news
BASITA MICHAEL, LLM, BL
“Not Guilty.” Two powerful words spoken by the foreman of the jury that brought a sense of relief and feelings of vindication to three accused persons in the recently concluded treason trial. In the case of the first accused, Alfred Palo Conteh, those words were uttered fourteen times. He was found guilty on two counts, viz keeping a greater number of small arms than is specified in a licence and having a loaded small arm in a public place. Although he was sentenced to 24 months in prison, this was a stunning victory for the defence team. In a country where the government rarely lose any cases, the jury’s verdict left many shocked and flabbergasted. The decision made many lawyers who were critical of jury trials rethink their position.
From the onset, it was clear to many that charging Palo Conteh for treason was an overkill. Many felt that partisan political considerations tainted the prosecution. This is by no means new in Sierra Leone. One only needs to read Aminata Forna’s ‘The Devil That Danced on the Water’ to get a firsthand account of how her father, Mohamed Sorie Forna, was framed, tried and executed on trumped up charges of treason. Our history is littered with many highly questionable convictions for treason. Many continue to ask and deliberate upon what needs to be done to prevent a recurrence of this sad, unfortunate and tragic practice.
A question posed to me the other day by a layman was whether the two accused persons, Saa Anthony Sinah and Prince George Hughes, who were found not guilty on all counts would be compensated. Article 9(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”) provides, “Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.” Article 14(6) of the ICCPR confers a right on victims of wrongful conviction, which is subsequently reversed or pardoned on the discovery of facts establishing conclusively that there has been a miscarriage of justice, to be compensated according to law. Sierra Leone ratified the ICCPR in August 1996, yet we have failed to provide any domestic legislation for rehabilitation and compensation of victims of wrongful/ malicious prosecution and incarceration. Instead, we still have in force the Law Officers Act 1965 as amended in 1972 deems that the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and all Law Officers are deemed to be acting in good faith unless the contrary is proved.
There are a number of key questions that need to be considered. What principles guide the discretionary powers to prosecute a case? What measures can be put in place to ensure accountability in the use of prosecutorial discretion? Should the exercise of prosecutorial discretion be subject to judicial review to protect it from abuse and political interference? What checks and balances can be put in place to avoid abuse by the office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice? It is clear that the Attorney-General and the DPP need to enjoy prosecutorial discretion. It is necessary and important. However, such discretion must be exercised judiciously and not in an arbitrary, fanciful, oppressive, malicious or vexatious manner.
Separation of the office of the Attorney-General from the Minister of Justice
An meaningful way to address the issue regardless of who occupies the office is to ensure that the Attorney-General is insulated from partisan political interference. As the principal legal adviser to the Government, the Attorney-General is expected to be the guardian of the public interest. He does not and should not represent the Presidency or a political party. He should be independent. He must act independently of partisan interest in the exercise of their functions to initiate, continue or terminate prosecutions. In addition, section 66(6) provides that the Director of Public Prosecutions shall, in all matters including his powers under this Constitution or any other law, be subject to the general or special direction of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. The DPP institutes, conducts and supervises criminal prosecutions and related proceedings. S/he must always act with fairness with the objectives of establishing the whole truth and ensuring a fair trial. He prosecutes and not persecute. In other jurisdictions, the DPP is completely independent, but in Sierra Leone, since the office of the DPP is subject to the direction and control of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, this could be a source of political control that interferes with the office’s independence and undermines its impartiality.
To enhance the independence of the office, the Attorney-General’s Office should be separated from that of the Minister of Justice consistent with the recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC). As the TRC notes, ‘the Attorney General should be the Chief Law Officer of the state and should enjoy security of tenure of office.” In its final report, the TRC recommended that ‘the prosecuting authority must exercise its functions without fear, favour or prejudice. The rule of law requires that prosecutions on behalf of the state be conducted fairly and reasonably. The decision to prosecute or not must not be motivated by improper and political considerations, but by the public interest and the need for justice. The Attorney General acts as the “guardian of the public interest” and has extensive powers with regard to the initiation, prosecution and discontinuance of criminal proceedings. The Attorney General must also provide legal advice on matters of public administration and government to the executive. Clearly, the Attorney General must exercise his or her functions impartially and be free from political influences. While the Office of the Attorney General and that of the Ministry of Justice remains merged, the incumbent can never be expected to act independently.’ Nothing could be more dangerous to our democracy and bring greater disrepute to the administration of criminal justice than to see politics playing a dominant role in the handling of criminal prosecutions. In addition, the appointment of the Attorney-General must also be depoliticized.
Subjecting prosecutorial discretion and the Attorney-General’s nolle prosequi power to judicial review could also be another reliable safeguard against abuse and even mistakes by the Attorney-General and the DPP. Many ordinary citizens caught up in the criminal justice system, and who become victims of negligent or deliberate decisions by the Prosecution must be protected from abuse and deserve to seek redress in court to hold those responsible for the abuse and arbitrary exercise of their powers if they can prove that it was done in bad faith.
Vesting the courts with such power will serve not just the interests of the individual affected but also the public interest to ensure that cases are appropriately instituted and prosecuted. No one is and must be above the law. The Attorney-General, the DPP and all other Prosecutors are no exception. The continuous lack of accountability for their actions or inactions must end if the office is to regain public trust and confidence in their impartiality. Shielding them from accountability and liability for abuse strikes at the very fundamental principle of equality under the law.
Adoption and Publication of Guidelines
Currently, the prosecutorial function by the office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and other Law Officers and the Police is shrouded with secrecy lack of transparency and accountability. We are, however, leaving in an era where secrecy in public affairs is no longer the vogue. Greater transparency and accountability are the order of the day. The adoption and publication of the rules and regulations that guide discretion will be a valuable step to render the exercise of prosecutorial discretion open transparent and accountable. The UN Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors provides that ‘In countries where prosecutors are vested with discretionary functions, the law or published rules or regulations shall provide guidelines to enhance fairness and consistency in taking decisions, including institution or waiver of prosecution.’ The current code of conduct for law officers must also be reviewed and brought in line with the UN Guidelines.
As the principal legal adviser to the Government, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice plays a critical role in ensuring impartiality and fairness of the administration of criminal justice. The UN Guidelines urges them to “perform their duties fairly, consistently and expeditiously, and respect and protect human dignity and uphold human rights, thus contributing to ensuring due process and the smooth functioning of the criminal justice system.” It is high time that the State stopped disregarding the plight of such victims of wrongful prosecution. An important legal maxim is ‘Ubi jus, ibi remedium’ – where there is a right, there is a remedy. In other words, there is no wrong without a remedy. The State must provide compensation and rehabilitative measures for victims of wrongful or malicious prosecution. Although the new Attorney-General and Minister of Justice has his work cut out for him, he should institute the constitutional, legal and institutional reforms needed to make this happen. Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum (Let justice be done though the heavens fall.)
Women of Sierra Leone lets us have our first health talk today on this platform. Women’s health education is such a huge and daunting task, and in a country like ours, where societal/ cultural ideals do not favour women this has made it even difficult to access some of the information we need. Women are left at the mercies of quacks and quick fixes which usually result in so many irreversible consequences. Sexual and reproductive health for women needs more attention in this country. Women go through a lot of issues, and most times we don’t have absolutely any idea of what our symptoms are. Even though its incidence ratio is lower when compared with the early decades. It is still the main reasons for maternal morbidity and mortality in the first trimester of pregnancy, especially in developing countries. These are some of the reason why we should not be in awe when there are discussions about high maternal morbidity and mortality in Sierra Leone. There is little or no access to information that will help women of this country make informed decisions and seek proper help from the experts.
Today, we will be looking at ectopic pregnancy. Have you heard of ectopic pregnancy before now? Has your gynaecologist ever mentioned the word ectopic to you before? Have you experienced it? If you have, what were your signs and symptoms? How was it diagnosed and treated? Did you confide in anyone about your condition? By the way, I am not a health practitioner and I am just here to share some of my experience, research and curiosity with you.
WHAT IS ECTOPIC PREGNANCY?
Otherwise known as extrauterine pregnancy or tubal pregnancy is when a fertilized egg grows somewhere outside the uterus, precisely, the egg attached itself on the fallopian tube. Because the egg is not inferred to develop outside the womb if left to grow, can damage nearby organs and cause life-threatening conditions. For the understanding of the layman, an ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that happens out of the womb. It is a condition wherein the fertilized egg attached itself on the fallopian tubes, where it will start to grow and develop instead of the womb which is the safest place for it to develop. This condition is life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated immediately. We don’t have the statistics here in Sierra Leone but according to other sources, 1 out of every 50 pregnancy is ectopic.
CAUSES OF ECTOPIC PREGNANCY
Ectopic Pregnancy more often than not is caused by damage to the fallopian tubes. A fertilized embryo may have a problem passing through a distress tube resulting in the egg attaching and thriving in the tube. Some may happen without any perceived cause. Ectopic Pregnancy can cause your fallopian tube to rupture which can lead to drastic inside bleeding that if not treated with quickness might lead to death. The causes are not clear but here are some; • Smoking- women who smoke or use to have higher chances of getting ectopic pregnancy. • Women older than 35 • Hormones • Genetic irregularities • A previous Ectopic pregnancy • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)- such as some form of chlamydia, and gonorrhoea as they can create scar tissues in the fallopian tubes. • If you have an Endometriosis history. • Fertility drugs and In vitro fertilization. • Pelvic Surgery. • Tubal Ligation and Reverse Tubal Ligation as it causes damaging.
SIGNS OF ECTOPIC PREGNANCY
• Not too heavy vaginal bleeding • Sharp abdominal pain • Severe one-sided abdominal pain • Throwing up • Dizziness • Weakness • Shoulder and neck pain • Passing out • Pelvic pain • Rectal pressure • Severe cramps
DIAGNOSIS FOR ECTOPIC PREGNANCY
This can be done by a gynaecologist or specialist through tests such as pregnancy test, pelvic examination, a transvaginal ultrasound, ultrasound of the uterus and fallopian tubes. After an Ectopic pregnancy has been diagnosed, below are the two ways it could be rectified;
If your Fallopian tubes are fine and the pregnancy isn’t up to twelve-weeks, the specialists can give you methotrexate (trexall). This shot can stop the cells(embryo) from enlarging and your body will eventually absorb them.
SURGERY AND TYPES
There are two types of Ectopic surgery known as Laparoscopy and Laparotomy. Laparoscopy is further divided into two; Salpingostomy A small opening will be made in your lower abdomen and a flexible and thin tube will be used to extract the embryo when it ruptures and the tube is left to heal on it own. On the other hand, Salpingectomyis where the embryo and the tube are both removed. The procedure you will have will depend on the amount of bleeding and damage and whether the tubes are ruptured. The second factor is whether your other tube is normal or show signs of prior damage.
Laparotomy– Here the doctor might perform emergency surgery, and a much larger opening will be made to remove both the embryo and the fallopian tube. If there is heavy bleeding, This can be done laparoscopically or through an abdominal tear. In some circumstances, the fallopian tube can be preserved. Typically, however, a ruptured tube must be removed.
But if the fallopian tube is damaged. Prompt treatment lessens the danger of developing difficulties from an ectopic pregnancy. Its also improves your likelihood for future successful pregnancies and lessens prospective health complications.
POST ECTOPIC PREGNANCY
After ectopic medication or surgery, consider talking to your gynaecologist or fertility specialist, if you want to have a child or have more children especially if your tube(s) was removed. Try to also know how long to wait before you try again though, some expert has suggested at least twelve weeks, as this will allow your body to heal adequately. The important thing also at this stage is to know that one ectopic pregnancy can increase the risk of another. Therefore, one should be mindful of how your body changes until you can get your doctor’s confirmation the pregnancy is in its natural rightful place.
Deterrence is not possible in most cases. You can reduce your risk through good sexual and reproductive health education and maintenance. Use protection during sex to avoid sexually transmitted diseases/infections that may inflame or scar your fallopian tubes. A regular visit to your gynaecologist for examination and screening. If you are a smoker quit smoking and take care of your personal health.
If you are a woman in Sierra Leone who had suffered quietly from miscarriage(s) due to ectopic, feeling alone and not having the correct information my heart goes out to you. Look for a professional, a trusted family or friend you can confide in. Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Stay strong and I hope this helps.
I am so thrilled right now guys. Guess what?! Your girl got nominated for the Liebster Award, and Yes!! I consider this big so I can’t keep calm. 😂 This is my first nomination ever.
On a more formal note, I was very stunned when I received the notification. Super thanks to you, Lauren I. Mugabi, for nominating me, you can check her out here. She is an amazing writer. Her perspective to things are eye-opening and there is just something about the way she tells her stories. I say to you, get to know her and you can’t help but love her. The Liebster Award is an online honour given to bloggers by other bloggers. It acknowledges emerging bloggers and even those who are well established. It is a strategy for bloggers to be able to connect, support, and promote other bloggers within the writing community.
• Thank the Blogger who nominated you
• Answer the 11 questions given to you
• Nominate 11 Bloggers
• Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post
What is your favourite book and why
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Why? “Is it your real hair?” strangers would ask, and then reach out to touch it reverently. Others would say “Are you from Jamaica?” as though only foreign blood could explain such bounteous hair that did not thin at the temples.” For me, the African hair, in her book became a symbol of the complexities, struggles and dynamics for black people in America. It highlights the battles Africans go through to fit into this new world. Consequently, even after spending so much time in the Americas and Europe, those who chose to return are never prepared for the shock and the struggle to fit right back into a place they had always called home. It’s a scuffle between two worlds.
What songs do I currently have on repeat
Freetown by Natasha Swadu Beckley, known as Tasha baby -well, I can’t miss a chance to represent my city now, can I?
Which season [ Autumn, Spring, Summer or Winter ] best describes you
Being a Piscean. I am a very extreme person, some may argue I am an introvert, others will definitely use an extrovert to describe me. I can best describe myself as a bit of all the seasons. I can be as cold as winter and hot like the sun in summer. I can be in-between like spring and Autumn. But my mood or reactions depend mostly on the attitude of next person. Give me a good vibe you get a better vibe in return.
In the event of an emergency home evacuation, what is the first item you grab
Hmmm!🤔 I will get all of my daughter’s baby pictures. I lost all my baby pictures during the war, every bit of it. I still yarn to take a trip to who I was then, but could not and it hurts real bad. I would not want her to go through the same experience.
Which historical figures would you like to meet and why
I would like to meet Ella Koblo Gulama. My opinion is she was way ahead of her time. The way she unconsciously fought for women’s right and leadership before the Internet and the hashtags. She championed women’s causes so much so, that women who came after her can find it just a little bit better than women in her time. Especially, in a man’s country like Sierra Leone. She was a genuine trailblazer for other women.
What makes a good blog
How a blogger is able to capture the attention of her readers and followers, for those few minutes. How inviting and welcoming the blog is can do it for me, as well. As it is known, people don’t like reading nowadays. Therefore, how a blogger is able to consistently grab the reader’s attention over time, can be paramount. Let us don’t forget, there are many other things that can make a good blog.
Back to the past or forward to the future
The future! certainly the future for me. I love mysteries and I definitely would not want to relive my past😂. The past should just stay where it belongs. There is just something about the future; the fear of the unknown that is frightening and exciting at the same time.
Your dream Vacation
Seychelles and Mauritius. For now, I’ll keep dreaming maybe one day I will wake up to the reality of it all.
The greatest movie of all time
The Shawshank Redemption by Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins.
Wealth or Health
Can I have both? Why can’t I have both? Okay, health then, if I have to choose one.
Your proudest moment
When I gave birth, as a first-time mom. Fam!! labour really did scare me. Couldn’t watch movies with a labour scene or even news, I did not listen to conversations about labour. I was fearful, period. Then when it was time, I became the strongest woman I know. There!! She was after three big push crying and throwing fists. I felt so much pride and better afterwards.
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.
Black is the absence of colour Yet, when they see us, they see colour Why is something that is not, can be so much? Why is there so much hate, when love is never enough? Why does everyone hate black, a few times, even blacks? More so, they say, it is the absence of.
He was the absence of; when he begged please, I can’t breathe. He was the absence of; when so defenceless and cuffed. He was the absence of; on bloody tarmac from his nostril, flat on his face helpless in broad daylight. He was the absence of; when he called out, I need water, please or something. He was the absence of; when he cried out for his mama. He was the absence of; when two knees squeezed hard and sucked the life out of him.
When the full four, couldn’t resist the full force on the full floor. When the protector becomes the murderer. When the law becomes the perpetrator
He was the absence of; when injustice breeds resentment, frustration, and revolt. He was the absence of; when the wolf of slavery is wrapped in sheep fur, under the guise of freedom.
Four big white bears went straight home, a sigh of achievement for a day’s work; when a good job is done badly. The absence of one is still progress for the agenda Heads on their pillows, they smiled God must have loved us more; so, he made us white, he caused this divide, not us. Black is the absence of colour, but they see colour when they see us, we are not colourless. We will get rid of them a day at a time, all lives matter, except black. Turn off the light and it becomes the absence of; Yet, when they see us they see colour and now I can’t breathe because he can’t breathe.
US $38,000 (SLL 380M) RAISED TO HELP FRONTLINE HEALTH WORKERS PROVIDE ESSENTIAL PATIENT CARE IN 3 WEEKS
284 COVID-19 BEDS IN 7 HOSPITALS HAVE BENEFITED FROM VITAL EQUIPMENT, MEDICATION, AND HYGIENE SUPPLIES DELIVERED TO ISOLATION UNITS AND TREATMENT CENTERS RUN BY THE GOVERNMENT.
SIERRA LEONE’S HEALTH CARE SYSTEM REMAINS WEAK. IT HAS A SHORTAGE OF APPROXIMATELY 32,000 DOCTORS, NURSES, AND MIDWIVES, WITH JUST 1.4 PER 10,000 POPULATION COMPARED TO THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL THRESHOLD OF 44.5. LIFE EXPECTANCY IS 51.3 YEARS AND UNDER 5 MORTALITY IS BETWEEN 120 AND 156 PER 1000 LIVE BIRTHS. IT ALSO HAS THE HIGHEST MATERNAL MORTALITY RATE IN THE WORLD.*
Freetown, Sierra Leone – An initiative set up just three weeks ago to support Sierra Leone’s frontline health workers in the fight against COVID-19 has delivered more than SLL185m worth of vital equipment, medication and hygiene supplies to hospitals and treatment centers.
The C19 Dignity Project, a 100% volunteer, and citizen-led community mobilization COVID-19 relief effort was set up by TV host and journalist Vickie Remoe in response to a Facebook post by doctors seeking urgent help for the isolation unit in Connaught Hospital.
Since then, she and her team have raised in excess of USD$38,000 and provided supplies to support 284 beds in COVID-19 Isolation Units and Treatment Centers at Connaught, Jui, 34 Military, and Lungi hospitals, Community Treatment Center at Fourah Bay College (FBC), for mild and moderate cases, and the Treatment Center at the Correctional Facility.
Prior to receiving medical supplies, these centers lacked the basics – machines to monitor blood oxygen levels, glucose, and blood pressure.
A lack of cleaning supplies for sanitization at a facility housing 150 patients increased tensions between frontline health workers and patients.
“You have really saved us,” said Major Patricia Briama, coordinator of the Government’s community treatment center at FBC. “We had not been able to clean the bathrooms for several days because we ran out of supplies.” She added that the long wait for supplies put female nurses on duty at risk. “There have been incidents of verbal and physical assault from irate patients frustrated with conditions at the center.”
This week, Remoe and the C19 team aim to deliver urgent equipment and medication supplies to treatment centers in the South and Eastern Provinces of Sierra Leone.
“All Sierra Leoneans deserve to be treated in facilities that are clean, and well equipped. And all of our front liners need to be able to work with the peace of mind that comes with
knowing they have all the tools and medication they need to save lives,” said Remoe. “Right now, they don’t have that.”
Lungi Government Hospital in Port Loko, which has a 20-bed COVID treatment center, received medication, hygiene supplies, medical equipment, and funds to repair the generator from the project.
Dr. Yillah, Medical Superintendent and Lungi Treatment Center Lead, said: “Our treatment center has received a lot of support from C19, including helping us restore electricity supply to the entire hospital. It has greatly reduced the burden on staff, helped us improve patient care and, along with the supply of essential drugs, will lead to better patient outcomes.”
Entirely financed by private and business donations, both online and in cash in Sierra Leone, the project provides isolation units and treatment centers with vital equipment, medication and hygiene supplies, much of which is not even available in other hospital wards.
All goods have so far been sourced locally from traders at reasonable prices, including pulse oximeters, digital thermometers, and glucose machines, and everything supplied is in direct response to urgent frontline needs, including medication.
“If a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient has an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension and they can’t provide their own medication, doctors cannot treat them. By giving doctors access to a stock of common medications, we enable them to do everything they can to treat those who are most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19,” Remoe continued.
One of the main principles behind the fundraiser was to provide full accountability. “We want to make sure everyone who has donated their hard-earned cash to the C19 Project knows exactly where it has gone,” said Remoe.
As a result, despite only operating for three weeks, the C19 Dignity Project has already published three statements of accounts detailing funds received, funds spent and what it was spent on, and the accumulative value of supplies delivered to hospitals and when.
In addition, the lead doctor at each isolation unit or treatment center is asked to check and sign for deliveries. Signed delivery notes are then sent to the Case Management Pillar leads within Sierra Leone’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to ensure efforts are not duplicated.
How to donate
Remoe initially set up the fundraiser expecting to bridge the gap until the EOC was up to full speed. But as COVID-19 spreads, the project has continued to receive requests for urgent support from doctors across the country who are still struggling to access supplies to treat confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients.
To donate visit vickieremoe.com/mission to view online donation options or send Orange money to +232 79 16 46 41.
– Ends –
About the C19 Dignity Project
The C19 Dignity Project is a 100% volunteer and citizen-led relief effort mobilizing emergency medical supplies for frontline healthcare workers at COVID-19 treatment centers and isolation units. We fundraise to purchase medicine, medical tools, cleaning supplies, and food requested by doctors at facilities providing care to COVID patients. C19 Dignity Project Statement of Accounts 24 May 2020
All the contents of this article are the intellectual property of Vickieremoe’s blog. Dasalone-titi Rahima is just using her platform to help spread the message.
Sierra Leoneans, we only got ourselves at a time like this. By sponsoring a bed you are helping a brother, a sister, a family. Donate now to the C19 Dignity Project and help restore dignity in the lives of those in treatment centres. No amount is too small to help.
Another year and our Muslim brothers and sisters are celebrating Eid Mubarak after observing the month of Ramadan. One might think the COVID19 pandemonium will dampen their spirits to show up on our timelines. But no, the Sierra Leone in them won’t let COVID19 overshadowed their celebration, resilient people, right? They showed up and showed out in terms of Fashion. As per dasalonetiti tradition, we won’t let all these fashion statements slide by and go to waste. We decided to document them and bless your timelines with what we called the Eid Fashion Show Out. Bear in mind that modesty is the key for our Muslim boujee fashion statement makers. This year, we are served with a lot of Abayas and the few Kaftans. Enjoy, eat, drink and be merry in the comfort of your home and stay safe as you do so. Don’t forget to wash your hands, use your masks, maintain some distance, and stay home #asalamualaikum#covid19ishere#covidisreal#
A desert comes to mind, the beauty of mothers lay in wait. The waste of mortal coil that breathes the unending smell of weight. Sluggish thought of what was once there but only a sign of water. The vast land of grains of sand cluster together like a mortar. Death, the roughness of terrain is only brought to a kind. When struggles warmed up the ordinary eyes is, but blinded. Permanent shortage and occasional spring. Moisture and light inform us it’s time to build another threshing. The sprinters of Marathon, bringing forth the Sahara love grass, a purine. An average of over a hundred Fahrenheit, we are still not barren.
Life’s fruitfulness dried up completely erasing any trace of our existence. God’s greatest invention is made to store enough nourishment to survive the length of a lifelessness. Hope, that contradicts a world without end. Women are the rose of Jericho, the baby toes of Namibia. Adaptation, a freewill to protect ourselves from bloodthirsty callers. Not to be susceptible like the cauliflower, a mastery we unlearn as walers. We generate so much beauty in the midst of misogynistic ugliness. Cradle of civilization a prior dream of man’s world lustiness. Yet, reality has no significant bearing as we take each step. A footprint left for those after us, a clue of the struggles we outstep. Toughest of all species, symbol of fertility, of continuity, of tomorrow, that all is not mislaid.
As the tenere tree of Niger, the loneliness of the cosmos has not defined us. We represent the symbol of life in the middle of the disarray as we hold discourse. Our roots are tentatively buried deep into the netherworld. As we mine our source of spring, drawing from the lake of being curved. Sand torrent pushes us in every direction blinded. We hold on to the cactus that reminds us of how to flourish, bear fruits, multiply and spread out tentacles. Optimistic that the annual stranger of the wasteland. Will bring about a few dips of a downpour, reasonable to bring out the scent in our muscles. The strongest vessels ever made, our mothers’ daughters. Resilient with mystical super-powers, we are unapologetically who we are.
Cueing those who have relinquished hope; That beauty can be created anywhere, We are the Sahara desert flowers.
Called out Must you always blunder? Talked down upon Oh, You are so dumb Shouted at Echoes but little never excite him High pitched tone Your voice lost over the waves Drown in his ugliness leave your delicate words unspoken Judged of Nothing good will bear fruits from you Slapped Daily occurrence the hitting escalate Scrutiny of friends your family’s next Stalking, the shadow lurking in the dark Never good enough a feeling The smile becomes an indulgence She can afford no longer A bad girlfriend, wife, mother, daughter The trigger an enabler His words are razor-sharp cut through the flesh like a laser beam Jealousy a monster he nurtured His insecurities your burden to endure Throbbing nuclear explosion Influence a total assertion Eyes on your every action Dignity bear minimum Been pushed into a rigid nook Remember oh daughter of Zion You are scarred but never damaged Ignore the sword and near metals Hold the balance scale in the lady justice statue You are always the problem You are always the reason All is bad that ends badly
Get out Run now Never look back
If you are suffering silently from any form of SGBV, please speak up. You are not alone, seek help or make a report by dialling 116 on all networks in Sierra Leone 🇸🇱 .
Aaaah! aaaaah! aaaah! Her scream goes, But drown by even louder drums Flat on her back She struggles to break free From the clutches of tradition Hmmm! hmmm! hmmm! As the gag goes Stopping the scream Suffocating the life out of her Her feet wide apart Cling! cling! cling! Unsterilized metals celebrate The loudest of screams No one could hear her in silence Drip! drip! drip! Like rain, only her tear could flow Tick tock! tick tock! tick rock! Time to a standstill it came Eyes popping wideout, a gaze of terror As everything froze into a pillar of salt When life has lost its flavor Click! click! click! A sound left behind by echos And there goes her clitoris
She is left with nothing But pain and scar For her pleasure.
Comes in different heights, but never out of style. Sexy to the feet, power to the sole. Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack. The confident woman with poise, hips swaying. Chin-up and eyes straight ahead, she takes every step with precision. Every head her direction turned, the aura of the 21st-century woman. click clack, click clack, click- clack Elongated strides, with a gait like a cat. She got nerves, how can she be this bold? Not afraid to rudely interrupt. An armour that can be used as a weapon, but she feels taller. Pained ankle, lumbar and spine-flattening, couldn’t stop this. Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack
Boss pose with a tailored suit, clutch hanging from her elbow. As she flips her hair, and there she goes again with her click-clack.
O’er the green Mountain sits a lion watching over tableland and creeks. Set dew on peaks like Bintumani and Loma so unclear it cubs can not tell the difference between myth and verity. The realm of the free almost an island of rocky hills, and deepwater harbour, with green vegetation she beats her chest about in glory.
Dishonour and shame they sometimes bring, like teens desperate for their parent’s attention. Freetown is as tight now like it was never meant to be. Harsh hills and cliff are silent over their abuse, as they continue to strip them naked for their pastime. The mud and rain in their confusion cannot work together, they slide into the inhabitants. White sand peninsula beaches reshape by sand mining, they lose their accentuate curves. A cotton tree in the middle that bears witness to history, a lesson as old as itself but cannot teach, as we gather as usual at King Jimmy Market. Sanctuary bearing memories of Bruno and its kind. Estuaries holding firm on to mangroves morasses. She looks lustily over the vast blue ocean, seducing all those who are caught in her gaze. But the sarcasm of freedom is lost on its people.
The land is known for its generosity and hospitality. Sweet Bo a place that processes garri that surges like the sun in the morning. Training the sons of elites, raising intellectual, and a hallmark of academia till this day.
The rivers of Bonthe firmly united ever they flow, with ease stronger than the clasped of their past, yet they are not captives to the future. The land is known to produce tubers of cassava as big as their heart. The fresh scent of coconut oil filled the air, Seafood like oysters held onto the mangroves growing along the rivers that caress its terrain.
The bravery that seeped from the milk of mother Ella Koblo Gulama that flows through their linage. Planters working hard to produce enough to send their girls to Harford School in Moyamba. The land of noble and strong women, the land of the first. The land of equals, where women lead with their heart and not the spear. Nations they led became mightier.
As they match like soldiers into the land of pepper, a resting place; Pujehun is known for palm nut fruits redder than their heritage, richer than the strength that drives them to thrive like the wanjama river, feeding eras yet to come. Enough to know their past is history but the future of the south looks bright.
From blood diamonds to peace diamonds, this land had left the world in awe. Trench everywhere holding stories of child soldiers. The shining stones of Kono stored the blasting outcry from the Kimberlite, a magnet that draws even the ghost of our present.
Kenema, like its forest reserve for all its splendour and misery. The chirping of the birds reminding us of the Eden Gola forest is, with coffee and cocoa reserve for the next generation. A melting pot of species unique to only their line. Endangered mammals are the fantasies born of nightmares. easy to showcase its ego and chivalry.
Black beans melanated from a fruitful land that bestows life to anything buried in Kailahun soil. Cocoa peels reflect on their skin, as clear and soft as the butter of shea. Chocolate flavours of life are mislaid on the children of Kailondo. They crave and stretches their hands but could not touch. Undiscovered beauty, a reality lost on the wise people from the east.
Hope is the only colour as brilliant as their gara tie-dye as usual. landscape like boli which hold water when it rains; that makes the sweet in potato, but too much of it in the Bombali cassava it could hardly boil.
The aroma of pepper spices fresh and scented like the Neneh Koroh yet burns the eye. Cow breast in the hands of their mothers as they squeeze for more milk and butter. The wara wara mountain with cold heat that sends fog all year round in Koinadugu.
The warrior spirit of Bai Bureh is still seen today in the nuclear bulbs of tiny mighty onions of the Port of Loko, the ore is as shiny and black like their gum in abundant that keep their smiles from never fading.
As the tonkolili streams drain into the valley of Kangari, which create an illusion that Makali and Baomahun are siblings. A land of gold, and Bunbuna waterfalls that stores energy that could light up our world.
Kambia carries the burden of providing the staple for its children. Life’s trouble and abuse very obvious on her body, turmoils have altered her shape, but she covered her face with dignity and pride as she carries and held all her children with a promise as constant as the northern star.
She is fifty-nine but looks twice her age. Life has dealt with her. She weeps but this time the hills and valleys refuse to re-echo her cries. Her riches plunder in reckless abandonment. She beseeches no harm on her offspring may fall, even when her they cannot feed. Discord of colours had scattered her children upon the face of the earth. Their Pledges of devotion with the speed of a lightening relinquish. Her only strive is for them to remember their way into her warm embrace as she hopelessly lay in wait. She had taught them well, she trained them well, her children are strong and resilient with a Kindred spirit bearing souls of those before them. She understands, her crypt will not be the only thing that will bring them together again, in the Land that they all love.
Are you out there looking for local breed organic frozen chicken? Look no further Conira Frozen Chicken is here with the solution you need. You can reach her on the following telephone numbers; +23279689010/ +23233 721333/ +23231 102902 or on her Facebook business page @organic frozen chicken.
Readers meet Ms Conira Siaka of Organic Frozen Chicken. She decided to start her frozen business with local chicken when she found out that most people are getting tired of the imported chicken and some of it associated health issues. So much so, the demand for our local chicken and its meat is on the rise. As most people prefer them to imported chickens because they lack chemicals that are harmful to humans when too much of it is consuming over time.
These chemicals can include but not limited to: those put into the chicken feeds or those injected into them to get them to grow and breed faster to meet the consumption demand, and the preservatives used on the chicken meat after they are slaughtered to increase their shelf life. Some of these chemicals can predispose humans to cancer, hypertension, liver and kidney diseases. They can also result in antibiotic resistance in man. The desire to produce more chicken by some farmers – especially those abroad – within the shortest possible time at a modest cost, is the reason for such indiscriminate practice of injecting antimicrobial drugs in birds, including arsenicals, formalin, antibiotics, and other compounds. Similarly, even though people now prefer local chickens, most of them have neither the time nor the patience to clean and get them ready for use.
Having graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Accounting 2019 with no permanent job except for a few contracts, she decided to take matters in her hands and start her own business. After some research, she saw the gap in this particular market and she took the risk of venturing into it so she can help fill the gap by providing organic chicken for people within Freetown and its environs. She has identified a few local breeders and poultry Farmers that she buys these healthy birds from.
She said what set her apart from competitors in the same business is her processing, packaging and flexibility. Since she buys the live birds from local breeders, the processes of killing and cleaning the birds are entirely hers. The fact that she knows the importance of hygiene to her clients, gave birth to her setting some procedure for herself so that her products meet the quality standard of the imported chickens. She smokes them a bit to give them the brownish colour most Sierra Leoneans prefer before she washes, cleans, wraps and refrigerates them. She sometimes receives a special request from her customers such as cutting the chicken meat into pieces as some of them lack the know-how. She makes sure she packages all the parts of the chicken, no matter how tiny that part is. She also offers delivery services to offices and homes for which she charges a small fee.
At this time when the world is fighting a pandemic and most of us are advised to stay home and be safe. Your best bet for the supply of country fowl as commonly called here is Organic frozen chicken. She is practising all the preventive measures in her processes. You don’t need to go to crowdy market just to buy a local chicken. Call her business lines and put in your orders, it will be delivered right in front of your doorstep.
Her advice to young people and to women in particular; is to never be afraid to take a risk or to fail. Failure is part of the learning process. If they fail, they should get up, dust themselves and try again. Using their oversights and experiences as benchmarks, and to avoid those same pitfalls that prompt them in the first place. They should never be ashamed of their hustle, or their humble beginnings and they should always trust the process of time and growth.
For all your provisions and other household items, do not hesitate to check their store at 108 Soldier Street Freetown.
As you all are aware, these are not normal times, and that we need to stay home as much as we can to end the spread of COVID19. The best place to guarantee your safety is in your home. Social distancing is still a fantasy in some public places such as market place and shops in town. Your safety and that of your family lies in your hand.
If you need provisions like Sugar, Milk, Rice, Vegetable Oil, Soap, Paste, Cereals, Spaghetti, Ketchup, Sardine, Peanut Butter, Mayonnaise, Luncheon Meat, Noodles, Couscous, Detergent, Biscuits, Kitchen and Toilet Papers, Arrivo Wafers, Drinks, Juices, Caprisun & Kool-Aid for kids, Diet Coke, Garlic Cloves, Onions and other household essentials for affordable prices within Freetown and it environs, dial the following numbers +23279734278 or +23230747808 and get all you want at your doorstep as they offer delivery services.
Remember, shopping made easy with blossom’s convenient store. If you are looking for ease and comfort, convenience and safety, more so during this pandemic then Blossom’s Convenient Store is the right place and they are just a phone call away. Minimum order is a hundred thousand leones (Le 100,000.00) and ten thousand leones (Le 10,000.00) for delivery.
A Conversation with Key Private and Public Sector Leaders
As we continue to move through a period of great uncertainty, the impact of COVID-19 on lives, livelihoods, and economies around the world continues. Our Government, industries, along with our development partners are working together to understand and address the numerous challenges. Business Leaders are having to act promptly on how to protect their employees, customers, supply chains and finances.
To support Businesses during this time, we at Freetown Business School hosted a _Conversation with 30 Key Leaders_ from across the private and public sector on *Leading and Managing through a Crisis* on 26th March. The objective of the event was to discuss and find solutions for businesses in Sierra Leone. A survey was also administered. The recommended solutions from the event and the survey are shared in our paper which we hope businesses will be able to use as a guide to tackle the pressing issues that the pandemic poses. Click here to read the full preparedness response plan for businesses.
Are you looking for organic and fresh homegrown Mushroom in town? Are you into the hotel and restaurant business? Please, look no further Ndolegbeh Integrated Agricultural Company in Kenema, is here for you. With there one in town organic goodness. Adequately process and package mushroom, healthy and affordable, rich in vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants that are good for the skin, going for Le 40,000 for 250g. Call these numbers and put in your orders now +23279529291/+23276636881 @ Freetown, Sierra Leone.
It rises from the east She brought along the beast With the speed of a lightening Amongst us, the fear heightened It pushes through the green zone It spits and spreads and groans Along it way turning everything dark Poisonous to the lungs it attacks The earth cannot breathe it wears a mask Quick to snatched the aged and frail Oh, it covers everything with dust & ashes
The stranger from the east Came unexpected to destroy, kill and to feast. To a halt on mankind actions She swore to reach the four corners and causes extinction In this race, she is faster Dynasties crumbling without an heir Hunger is greeted with chills and aches Cough and sneeze the appetite forsakes Skyscrapers and empty streets are all we see Cover under the sheet of materialism is the vanity we cheat.
She rises from the east And everyone retreats into the safety of their cave Afraid of her wrath, a name ahead engrave A darkness has fallen upon us The happy new year they say but never told us that the queen is worse. Everyone has dropped their phones She has all the attention she wants as she sits on her throne. Washing of hands is never enough The elbow holding droplets is tough How fresh can the air be yet we are terrified to take it in. Surfaces are all infected we are all afraid to touch the bin.
The sun will rise from the east again Daylight and rays our faces it stains Waters are cleaner, the sky is clearer Animals are out with a torchbearer This earth belongs to us all We have to stop with the brawl. We are in this together Yet, social distancing is a bother. As mankind go back to his selfish ways What the queen’s name again? We blaze, Corona they all call out, while we gaze. The only question that needs an answer now is, are we really the Victim or the Virus?
Stay Safe everyone! Cough or sneeze inside your elbow, wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing. That is the only cure you have right now.
“The greatest sweetener of human life is friendship. To raise this to the highest pitch of enjoyment is a secret which only but a few discover”- Joseph Addison.
Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person or persons that trust, understand and respect you irrespective of all your flaws and never judge you.
A company of seven and eight intelligent women with strong characters and persona can seem intimidating, energy-draining for most people. But we have been together for over twelve years and still counting. The most frequently asked question is; How do you do it? How do you manage to stay together?
We have been together since our first year at the university and have managed to stay inseparable ever since. Over the years we have seen ourselves metamorphose into a better version of ourselves educationally, economically, socially and spiritually – As we seek the innate desire to find our true selves.
Like every relationship, we have thrived. Initially, there were the expected personality clashes, bickering and fussing about each other but we have always succeeded in getting our heads above water. We have always honored the silent girl’s code by respecting each other space and privacy. We have all been there through graduation parties, job celebrations, engagements, weddings, pregnancies, naming ceremonies, birthday parties, and anniversaries. We have been together through losses, heartbreaks, break ups, deaths, and grief over loved ones. We have been each other’s shrink as and when the need arises.
” Ours is a relationship built on genuine love, trust and mutual respect for each other. As we understand the unique dynamics of this thing called friendship”
We have the geeks, the divas, the ladies, and the straight-up ratchet. Some fit into two or more categories. Others fit into all. There is no better feeling than talking to a friend for long hours after a long absence (usually caused by our individually busy schedules).
There is always an endless list of things to do with your girlfriends; who else is going, to be honest with you when you wear the wrong clothes or have a bad hair day? Who will mock the hell out of you if you have a wardrobe malfunction but still help to save the day? Who would stop you from that impulse buying and tell you how you need to save? Who would celebrate you even when you messed up? Who would listen to all your ranting after a bad day’s work? Who would listen to you and pass you the tissue paper when you are heartbroken? Who would listen to your goals and cheer you harder? Who would laugh the fun out of you for no good reason? Who would you rather unrepentantly let your guard down with, throw your wig at and eat together in a pot with your hands?
What I have noticed about female friendship is, girls are competitive as though there’s only one spot in the world for everything and that’s not true. The sky is big for every woman out there to fly. We do have competition, healthy competition. One which is more about us evolving into better versions of ourselves with each passing day, than the toxicity I see among many other female groups. As women, we are frequently put against each other, left to battle over who is the best in mundane or petty things that are really irrelevant. But this sisterhood does so much more than just help each other look or feel good. We are one another’s cheerleader and support system through every weather.
We need to stick together and open our hearts to see that there is more to life than competing for a spot or to please men. It’s important not to cut yourself off from your female friends. We are not perfect, nor are we the best of girlfriends to each other. But we task ourselves to put the individual effort required to make the whole group work and that’s all we ask of each other.
Finally, as we go along this path with the awareness and the idea that our children are getting bigger. There is no intense pressure on them to be friends. We believe they will find their own true path to friendship and happiness. We just pray and hope that in the course of their existence they will get to experience a friendship like ours.
Hey, it’s understandable not everyone will get it, some might tag you negatively, or called you names. Some might pretend to dislike all you stand for because they want a friendship like yours. Guard your female friendships and enjoy every bit of it. It doesn’t come easy.
Finally, It was a weekend getaway with Lyoa Honey. It helps sweeten the precious moments, try it and thank me later😊😍
“Honey consumption (as compared to refined sugar or HFCS) leads directly to the formation of liver glycogen, thus stabilizing blood sugar levels. Honey thereby reduces metabolic stress and improves fat metabolism and disposal, thus combating two of the key parameters of the metabolic syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes, and obesity.” -Dr. Ron Fessenden
This week we have the pleasure of talking to a young social entrepreneur, resilient and strong in her drive to bring pure undiluted honey to the people of Sierra Leone and beyond. She is into the agribusiness to make a difference. She packages and sells the best honey in Sierra Leone, source from the interiors of Kabala, Koinadugu District. So readers, please meet the owner and founder of Lyoasourced Company Limited. Ms. Juliana Thambie Sesay. You can reach her through her social media pages on Facebook and Instagram @ Lyoasourced. Co or you can send her an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Raised in the Central District of Freetown. She attended the all-mighty Annie Walsh Memorial School and then proceeded to the Institute of Public Administration and Management, the University of Sierra Leone, where she bagged a honors degree in Financial Services. We hope you enjoy this week’s read as much as we did.
DS: Why did you choose to go into the honey business?
LS: When I started this company twenty months ago, there was a need to add value to our local produce, to brand them and display them in shops and supermarkets in Sierra Leone. There was so much local produce I was looking at before I started, with the intent to add value to them. But I needed to start with something and honey it was.
DS: How local is the honey?
LS: Lyoa Sourced Company is a small value-adding Agribusiness Company that started in July 2018. We source Honey and Beeswax from multiple bee hunters in the wild forests around Koinadugu District, Northern Sierra Leone. This supports sustainable beekeeping livelihoods in those communities. We do not heat or blend our honey to keep it in its raw state. This allows the natural enzymes and pollen particles to remain in the honey. As a result, it is not uncommon to occasionally find a spec of wax orpollen in the honey. By not overheating the micro-crystals or pollen, the honey may crystalize rapidly. This is perfectly normal. Our honey is always unpasteurized and minimally filtered retaining its natural properties.
DS: Have you tried to collaborate with the hospitality industry?
LS: Yes,! I have contacted many hotels in the country to supply them honey but a lot of them really prefer to buy it in gallons rather than the jars we sell. So far we supply Radisson blu, family kingdom, Wusum hotel in Makeni and a few others on and off.
DS: What are some of your challenges?
LS: The challenges are numerous for small startups in Sierra Leone, the major one for me is the lack of packaging industry in Sierra Leone. We have to source everything from Overseas and most of the time that triples our cost of production.Considering the devaluation of our currency to other foreign currencies used to buy overseas, every day we need to get more leones to be able to make a purchase of the same quantity of material previously bought at a certain price. The time and cost factors of transporting those things from suppliers around the world to Sierra Leone is another challenge. The business environment getsdepressed over time due to the economic situation in the country. Quite recently, I became a first-time mom and combining doing business and motherhood has also been challenging, especially for a small start-up like mine, without fix staff.
DS:Do you produce other things aside honey? LS: Yes I do produce Beeswax scented candles. We also do favors for special occasions and tons of gift ideas.
DS: What are some of your highlights? LS: Well in July we will be celebrating our second anniversary, we have been able to survive for two years. We also have contact buyers who will use nothing else but Lyoa Honey, our souvenir line is also growing. For instance, recently I realized that we can also customize the big jars for people when one of our customers required it. And I have recently been nominated for an award as an entrepreneur of the year (even though I have my reservations about that considering the difficult year I have had in my personal life I feel I could have done better this year)
DS: What are your goals for the next five years?
LS: My five-year goals are huge: first of all exporting is major, the market in Sierra Leone is very small so to be financially stable to keep business running we are seriously looking at ways to get our product overseas. The first step is getting a website that I hope to get help with very soon. We are also looking at creating varieties, not just honey and candles or souvenirs. There are so many other things we intend to do but will not mention here so as not to give ideas to other people. And the ultimate goal is to have a supermarket of everything made in Sierra Leone.
DS: What’s your advice to young people that wants to venture into the honey industry LS: Business is not easy, you need passion, dedication, and wit to be able to withstand and deliver. In the end, you will have the personal satisfaction of building something from nothing; there are few times when you are pleased with yourself for meeting deadlines and customer’sspecifications but overall it is a very challenging venture and its not for the faint-hearted.