West African Nations - 2012

Freetown Over 800,000 of the Sierra Leonians live in the capital city of Freetown so there are many of these victims visible all around the environs. Perhaps they gravitated here for possible medical care, maybe for employment, perhaps to be near relatives who had already moved to the city for jobs, maybe searching for some kind of “safety net” to help them survive after the war was ended? Not many answers to this need was to be found here; the country was too ravaged, the natural resources had been too much exploited, too much deforestation, overfishing and overgrazing and the slash & burn agriculture practices had ruined much of the soil. This is a pitiful country indeed! When we contemplate this small country which had rich resources before the civil war of diamonds, titanium, iron ore, chromite, gold and bauxite, we can begin to understand why so many people in other African countries actually pray that no diamonds, gold or oil will ever be found within their borders. Sierra Leone’s possession of diamonds was one of the salient causes of the hideous war as various factions fought for control of the government and the diamond fields. English is the official language and most people do speak it or a dialect of it that is called Krio. However there is only 15% literacy among the people. The leaders live behind high concrete walls topped with barbed wire and guarded by men with big guns while all around them is a sea of abject poverty, squalor and despair. What a country.

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