Nov 11 2012

Lake NeuronLake Neuron: Looking ahead a year

Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/LakeNeuron/~3/lNwD-myYRZg/

Some facts on Sierra Leone:

From the always-useful CIA World Factbook web site (yes, it really is put together by the real CIA):

Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war from 1991 to 2002 that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about a third of the population). The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, is increasingly developing as a guarantor of the country’s stability. The armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007 presidential election but still look to the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) – a civilian UN mission – to support efforts to consolidate peace. The new government’s priorities include furthering development, creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.

Muslim 60%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs 30%

This will be the first country I’ve visited where Christianity is in the minority. (For the record, my previous trips were to Nicaragua, Kenya, Bolivia and Costa Rica.) However, note this from Wikipedia:

Sierra Leone is a predominantly Muslim country,[8][9][10] though with an influential Christian minority. Sierra Leone is ranked as one of the most religiously tolerant nations in the world.

From the U.S. State Department travel web site:

Lungi Airport is located across a large body of water from Freetown. There are usually four travel options to and from Lungi airport: helicopter, ferry, water taxi, and by car. None of the options are without risk, and Embassy personnel do not travel from the airport to Freetown by car. The cost for the ferry service is minimal, but the service experiences frequent delays. The ferry terminal is located in East Freetown, which has a higher crime rate than other parts of the capital. When the helicopter is operating, the charge is $120 each way (payable in U.S. dollars). Passengers departing Freetown by air should expect to pay an airport tax of $65.00 (payable in U.S. dollars).

Lonely Planet, meanwhile, gives a good explanation for the timing of the trip, which will cause me to miss Thanksgiving next year:

The best time to visit is November, after the rains and before the dusty harmattan winds blow in and paint the skies grey. During the rainy season, washed out roads make travel to some destinations difficult or impossible, though there are some sunny days at the beginning and end. The further you go into the dry season the more heat you’ll have to endure and the less green you’ll see in the countryside.

Mission trip travel is always an adventure.

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