Filipppo Bozotti is my project partner for Tribewanted Sierra Leone. Last week he was back at John Obey:
As we are gearing up for the launch of Tribewanted on October 1st, I found myself once again at John Obey beach, this time in the rainy season.
Its only June 24th but the rain is already coming down hard, every day, most of the day. It is difficult to work or travel, as most roads leading out of Freetown are blocked by gushing waters.
It was impossible to sleep in a tent at John Obey, but thankfully I was hosted at the nearby community of River Number 2 by our local Tribe managers, Daniel Macauley and James Kanu.
We had a final official meeting with the chief of John Obey, Hasan Marah and the entire community to hire the local staff. They have asked for the equivalent of $1,500 in monthly salaries for a team of 20-25 staff members and an additional $500 in goodwill to the community, to which we have agreed. A salary of $65/month is twice the national average. Our initial projects in the community will be a fresh water well for the school and toilets for the fisherman community neighboring Tribewanted on the beach. We will also purchase fresh fish, food and vegetables from the community on a daily basis.
We have planted 40 new palm trees, 40 coconut trees and 40 pineapples, which will hopefully flourish during the rainy seasons
The local beach boys have recently digged a canal in the sand from the overflowing lagoon into the ocean, so the water level of the lagoon is very low currently, and I was able to see how much plastic debris the flowing waters bring and how much cleanup we have ahead of us.
I met with various fresh water well engineers and our best option is to use an electric submersive pump (which we have to ship from the US) to fill a 10.000-liter tank. Rather than hiring an expensive NGO to build the well, we will hire one expert and various local staff.
Our second water tank will be used to catch rainwater and filter it for drinking water. I wish we had it installed already considering how much rain there is… There is no recycling of any sort in Sierra Leone so hundreds of water bottles cannot be an option at Tribewanted John Obey.
Under intensive rain we managed to begin our environmental impact assessment and feasibility study. Soon we will know the quality of the soil, the quality of the fresh water and the quality of the ocean water, which will help us decide where to build our well, our composting toilets and where to grow our crops.
I also visited the new private clinic of Lion for Lion health center, funded by a German doctor, which recently opened at Kissy village, neighboring John Obey. Everything is brand new and they offer all that we need for emergency aid; they even give out free mosquito nets and malaria pills. I’m very much relieved that we have such a good clinic only 5 minutes away.
The government is being very supportive of our project and we will soon begin a local marketing and PR campaign in Sierra Leone, hoping to target local tourists as well.
Needless to say, I’ve been soaked for a week and we had to cancel our weekend trip to Turtle Islands, 3 hours away by boat, which I yet have to visit.
Due to the rains, it will be difficult to do any work in July and August, but I look forward to returning in early September to begin our new life on John Obey beach when it will be a lot drier!