What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


So usually, I just post links to these Peace Corp blogs on my walking lion facebook page, but this one deserved its own post on my own page!!   "Alli" is a volunteer in Sierra Leone (I hope she doesn't mind me marketing her site!!) who through strength of character ended up on a 15 mile walk through rural Sierra Leone.  She paints quite a picture, and one that I would hope my detractors would read and hear.  Hope, defiance, optimism...
    "They all jumped when we walked up telling us that it was going to cost 40,000 leones for a trip that is usually around 5,000 leones. They were trying to take advantage and make a few extra leones off the white girls. Fair enough and understandable but I wasn’t going to give in. Well, we were not particularly happy and tried our best to negiotate wit them, always smiling of course. They didn’t budge. So we said fine an din a stubborn, angered defiance and self preservation, we decided to walk. It was early in the day, we had water and bananas, so we headed down the road." 

    "Our walkabout turned out to be on big cultural exchange on many levels..."  Reggae Charles. He is a singer/songwriter who was inspired by our desire to walk and said he wanted to write a reggae song about the “walking white girls”.
    "As is the nature of news, its travels fast and in our case, it traveled faster then we could walk. The okada drivers (motorcycle taxis) thought there was no way we were going to make to Moyamba. I have a sneaky feeling the told everyone they came across. As we walked into village after village, all the children would be waiting alone the edge of the road for us. They were enthusiastic fans and often walked with us for a few miles out of each villages. We would greet and wave to all the elderly sitting on their verandas. Getting out of the village left us with the mahogany dirt road canopied by the brilliant green palms and jungle foliage. Sometimes, I can’t believe this is my life right now and the utter beauty of Sierra Leone is something that never ceases to amaze me."
    "Naturally, the only thing to do was dance back at them. The group of 15 and our group of two danced towards each other, merged to have a short dance off in the middle of the road, both groups smiled and departed their respected was, leaving with smiles and not many words exchanged."
    "At about mile 14 or 15, a taxi stopped along the road where we were walking. The nice driver had heard we were walking and saved us two seats in his car and only charged us 4000 leones to take us the last miles to Moyamba. The generosity and welcoming nature of Sierra Leoneans still sometimes catches me off guard. My feet were especially happy for the ride and we made it to Moyamba safe and sound."
    "When I think back on our walkabout, I feel it was an incredible way to see the region in which I will be living for two years, greet those in surrounding villages and of course a little physical activity doesn’t hurt either. So I think I owe a thank you to the drivers who made me mad because one amazing journey came out of it. When you don’t have wheels, go ahead and walka, walka."

So there you have it...  Endorsement from a 'professional in the field'...  lol!!  You can follow her endeavor at http://allisinning.blogspot.com.  There are links to several Peace Corps volunteers down the right hand column on this site as well.  I agree with her.  I truly believe that being on foot is going to be the absolute best way to meet and understand the people and culture, as well as both the wants and needs of them and the socio-economy  on the whole.

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