Libation was poured on the earth at John Obey beach this weekend to formally celebrate a safe and successful first year of the Tribewanted eco-tourism project and to ask the village ancestors to look after the community for the next 12 months.
Speeches from councilors, headmen and tribe members talked of the pride both the John Obey community and Sierra Leone now have in the project.
Paul Sia, John Obey village secretary said: ‘We are very happy to have Tribewanted as part of our community. Their goodwill supports our school development and salaries every month and their employment helps us.’
Ben Keene, founder of Tribewanted said: ‘The libation from last year clearly worked – we have felt safe and happy at John Obey – for that we are grateful to the ancestors. The project was 80% of the way their to breaking even in year one. In year two we hope to welcome over 200 international tribe members for a week or more as well as local guests to make the project profitable.’ He continued: ‘The two biggest threats to this project locally are the destruction of the peninsula forest and the Salone tendancy for excessive ‘palava’! The biggest attraction of staying at John Obey is the chance to experience Sierra Leone in a safe, friendly, healthy and beautiful environment. This is one of the best beaches in Africa.’
The ceremony was followed by drumming, dancing and a beach BBQ enjoyed by 100 plus villages and friends; including visitors from the Mercy Ships, Visit Sierra Leone and the Craig Bellamy Foundation. A thunderstorm soon arrived which sent everyone into the kitchen to carry on enjoying the palm wine and seafood chop. Local accommodation now includes 2 (soon to be three) earth domes, 2 beach bungalows and tents. Compost toilets, bucket showers, gardens and solar power make the project a good example of what sustainable tourism in SL can look like. The project will remain open until June 2012 when it will close for the rainy season.
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Images available on request