Monday, August 13, 2007

...the other continent...

Alright, people, I've decided to continue blogging for your reading pleasure (don't get too excited now) and my new address will be as follows:

I figure "in Canada" really covers my bases, because who knows what city or province (or territory) I'll be in next month!

Keep on reading and thanks for all of your comments and feedback.


...the other continent...

Alright, people, I've decided to continue blogging for your reading pleasure (don't get too excited now) and my new address will be as follows:

I figure "in Canada" really covers my bases, because who knows what city or province (or territory) I'll be in next month!

Keep on reading and thanks for all of your comments and feedback.


Sunday, August 12, 2007


Ah, the bane of my existence...

Well, actually not all is bad today. We were on schedule arriving at Glasgow Airport (holding up our end of the bargin) but the airplane couldn't seem to deliver, so I'm stuck here in the airport for another 5.5 hours. Don't worry, I have trail mix. (Call the Airline, but I'm guessing that we'll get in closer to 7pm now than 5pm).

In good news, guess who didn't have to pay ANY excess baggage fees? (I know, it's a tricky one...). That's right, kids....ME! It was a small miracle. I did pray over my luggage as I locked the suitcases this morning. Seems as though God heard me. But honestly, I'm allowed to take 20kg on this small Zoom Airlines flight, and I have a total of 50.7kg combined in my two suitcases. I was looking at a £6.50 per kilo excess baggage charge which would have resulted in something like a million dollars CAD with the astronomical exchange rate. So yes, definitely a miracle.

Don't have much time left here at this I'll save all the riveting UK tour stories for another day.

There's no place like home.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007 this is it...

Alrighty...I think this is going to be my last post in Sierra Leone in 2007! The year has absolutely flown by and I'm sad to go. I'm going to miss my friends here. I am, however, looking forward to spending some good time with my friends and family from home who I have missed and appreciated while I've been away. Only 12 more days and I'm back in Canada!

I leave Freetown at 6pm on Friday - I take a Hoovercraft to Lungi Airport which takes about an hour and a half, and then need to go through baggage check etc. once at the airport. My flight out of Sierra Leone doesn't actually leave until 10:30pm, so depending on how quickly things go I may have some time to kill (aka. bawl my eyes out) in Lungi Airport. It's what I've always dreamed about.
I don't actually know what time my flight gets into doesn't say on my ticket...maybe the flight is like 6 or 7 hours? At any rate, I get to London on the 4th and then will be traveling around for a week and finally flying out of Scotland.

For the curious, I'm flying in from Glasgow, Scotland on Zoom Airlines flight #723 and arrive at Pearson's Terminal 3 at 5pm on August 12th. And then I begin the grand adventure of living in Canada! I hear it snows there!
I'm looking forward to living in an igloo again.
And eating moose-meat.

High we exalt thee, realm of the free;
Great is the love we have for thee;
Firmly united ever we stand,
Singing thy praise, O native land.
We raise up our hearts and our voices on high,
The hills and the valleys re-echo our cry;
Blessing and peace be ever thine own,
Land that we love, our Sierra Leone.

One with a faith that wisdom inspires,
One with a zeal that never tires;
Ever we seek to honour thy name
Ours is the labour, thine the fame.
We pray that no harm on thy children may fall,
That blessing and peace may descend on us all;
So may we serve thee ever alone,
Land that we love our Sierra Leone.

Knowledge and truth our forefathers spread,
Mighty the nations whom they led;
Mighty they made thee, so too may we
Show forth the good that is ever in thee.
We pledge our devotion, our strength and our might,
Thy cause to defend and to stand for thy right;
All that we have be ever thine own,
Land that we love our Sierra Leone.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

...and the countdown continues...

!!!!ONLY 6 DAYS LEFT!!!!

Well, it's been more of the same here for the last couple of weeks. My deadline for leaving Sierra Leone looms ever more clear on the horizon, despite the torrential downpours that have been fogging things up here. Surprisingly, my departure date still remains crystal clear.

I'm certainly a bundle of emotions at the moment, and can honestly cry on demand - I'm thinking of auditioning for some soap operas when I get home, just to capitalize on this remarkable gift. To distract myself from the inevitable, I've been keeping busy. Here's an update:

  • I now have 14 interviews under my belt, including the ones I did while up country in Kailahun (pronounced Ky-lown) and Kenema. I have at least one more that will happen for certain, but I'm aiming for three more. I would have liked to done 20, but the rain has been making it difficult to meet people. Perhaps I should try speed-interviewing?
  • I finished all of my riviting visits to Fourah Bay College and went through a ton of newspapers from 1991-1996. I enlisted my friend Aroun to help me as a research assistant and he was invaluable. In my down time, and when I have electricty, I organize the hundreds of 'images' that I have - instead of photocopying (nightmare!) I'm taking document photos on my camera. It works really well and doesn't cost a cent!
  • I also managed to enlist a friendly library assistant at the public library to help me leaf through papers from 1997-1998. (I offered to pay him, but no, he only wants my email I kept my money and he got nothing. I advised him for the next time to just take the money). Now, when I go back to the library, all I have to do is look at the pages he's marked and decide on which articles are worth 'snapping' (the Krio word for 'taking a picture').
  • I've found someone who has an original document of "Footpaths to Democracy" which is the 'manifesto' for the RUF that Sankoh wrote after the war began. I am supposed to pick it up on Tuesday.
  • Finally managed to get my hands on the footage that the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Station said they had for me. Now I need to find a VHS machine...
  • Have spent some good time with friends here in the last week - I'm going to miss them!
  • Said goodbye to Janet at the Hoovercraft on Monday as she travels to the USA for a month on leave. She won't be back before I leave, so it was a final farewell of sorts....or at least until I come back.
  • Same situation for Gwen, our new(er) housemate, who left on Tuesday for a few weeks in Liberia. Gwen's planning on being in Salone for the next 5 years or so, meaning she should be here whenever I manage to get back.
  • Welcomed a woman named Verity into our house - she's moving in and I'm moving out. It's a shame because I think she and I would have had a lot of fun!
  • Have managed to get myself some kind of parasite...not sure if it's an amoeba or just worms at the moment...I've treated for amoebas, but I'm not sure that's worked. It's not a good time. I'm trying worm treatment next! Yipee!
  • Today I'm praying that the rain stops for a few hours a) because I would like to get an interview done this afternoon, and b) because I'm spending my last weekend here at the beach and would really like to, oh, I don't on my tan? (Love those "Emily, you're in Africa and I look more tanned than you!"....thanks Amy. :) Hello people, it's RAINY SEASON!! *sigh*).

I leave Sierra Leone on Friday August 3rd. I believe my flight leaves around 9:30 or 10pm, and I jet off to London Gatwick airport. I arrive there sometime in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and then the whirlwind tour of England/Scotland begins....and then, THEN, my friends, I fly out of Glasgow Airport sometime on August 12th, to arrive in beloved Lester B. sometime around 5pm, I think (have to double check that). I'll update my final arrival times etc. just before I case anyone has a burning desire to rendezvous with me at the airport. Flowers are not necessary, but if you must, they should probably be tropical. I feel that's most appropriate.


Can anyone say "hibiscus?", wait "bird of paradise"....or "orchid?" Hahahaha. Kidding, guys. Kidding.

Friday, July 13, 2007

...of dust and mold and book worms...

So, it's been a couple of weeks since I've started my 'research' over here. It's been an adventure, that's for sure. I was definitely nervous about beginning but like any project, getting started really is the hardest part. Thus far here's what I've done:

  • Interviewed 7 people, and only had my mic malfunction once. Good odds.
  • Have spent too much time trying to transcribe these same interviews. I will die transcribing. Seriously.
  • Found footage from the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Station archives - they're making me a video to take back with me.
  • Have spent hours sorting through 15-year-old newspapers at the Fourah Bay College Library that haven't been touched in years...possibly 15 years. This is where I met mold, dust, and small crawling insects - my new friends.
  • Went to something called Media House...useless. Went to the Sierra Leone Public Library - potentially helpful to fill in gaps where the FBC archives fail me. Also checked out a couple of books. Bonus! :)
  • Leave for up country - going to Kenema and Kailahun in the eastern part of Sierra Leone- for 4 days (can I say four/for again?) on Sunday and get back on Wednesday night if everything goes well. Hoping to get an additional 4-5 interviews there.
  • Lined up more interviews for when I get back to Freetown (with people named things like "Scorpion" and "Top Marine"...sounds exciting, doesn't it??!)

That's pretty much it for now. As of today, I officially have 3 weeks left here...21 days. I can't believe that it's almost time to leave...

Transitions. My absolute FAVOURITE thing.


Monday, July 02, 2007

...parting is such sweet sorrow...

I feel as though I've written that subject heading before...Hanneke leaves today (again). Today is the last day of Hanneke's visit here - it has been really great having her back and made me realise just how much I really missed her! Maybe I can travel to the day?


And it's raining...what do they call that? Sympathetic fallacy? Or is it Pathetic fallacy? I can never remember. At any rate, today was a bit of a write-off. I had planned to interview someone this morning but since it was pouring, he 'wasn't feeling well.' I have to reschedule a day where there is less rain. I was also planning on going to see someone at The Campaign for Good Governance in the afternoon and also drop into The Centre For the Promotion of Peace and Justice (an NGO started by former RUF/CDF soldier), but both of those plans have fallen by the wayside. When it pours. Ha.

So, since I was more house-bound today, I did manage to completely reorangize my room. It was very cathartic. I sorted out things I wanted to give away, threw out a whole mass of papers and junk and packed three small boxes for Gwen's father to take back to the US and mail to me. I think that will be cheaper than paying excess baggage fees. All in all, I think it was productive. I'll feel even better if tomorrow I can do all the things I didn't get to today!

Here's hoping for some blue(er) skies.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

...The Pirate Party...

"O better to far to live and die,
under the brave black flag I fly
Then play a sanctimonious part,
with a pirate head, and a pirate heart!"
~ Gilbert and Sullivan, The Pirates of Penzance~

Before the party I applied my artistic skills to helping people get ready - sewed a few eye-patches, applied a few tattoos, tied a few scarves. It was memorable.

Meghan-the-Pirate-Wench and Emily-the-Pirate-Queen (Jack Sparrow is my boyfriend).

Ahoy, me mates! Some fellow pirates, looking well....not so piratey.
Ah well. It's the thought that counts.

My friend Naomi - she works for the SL government and I see her mostly at Bible Study.

Captain Waiser and Pepe the Parrot. At least he's wearing a kerchief. Sheesh people. The Captain works for the Special Court, and is a fellow Canuck. Arrrrrgggg!

What pirate party would be complete without a parrot, I ask you?? Certainly photo-worthy.

And finally, to add a little excitement to the night, so very daring, very pirate-esque fire-jumping. People are insane. It's all fun and games until someone needs a peg leg.