Mambo Hills and Waterfalls


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.

PC: Ray Gibbs


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?

PC: Pro I.B
PC Ahmed Gbla


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.


© By Rahima Vandy Kargbo also known as Dasalonetiti Rahima

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

Surrogacy For Women in Sierra Leone

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

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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?

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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

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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.

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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 a business. 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.

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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.



Sources;www.webmd.com, http://www.circlessurrogacy.com, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, http://www.babygest.com.



©By Rahima Vandy Kargbo known as Dasalonetiti Rahima.



https://www.dasalone-titi.com

Liebster Award Nomination

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.

RULES

• 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.

Time for nominees

@liebsteraward, @AfroBloggers,@ everythinglyoaandmore,@alma’s special,@tiana’s lens,@vicky t-babe, @cbholganza, @africanglam, @zas,@hannah’s wardrobe

Thank you for reading!

Love ❤️ & light💡

@By Rahima Vandy Kargbo known as dasalonetiti Rahima

https://www.dasalone-titi.com