Drone Footage of Guinea
It’s maybe the very best moment in the whole of Africa, a great night and the same for the morning. Swamped by friendly Sierra Leoneans. But with the VW crew expecting to get permission to move sometime today I need to get a shift in as well. It’s about 80miles to Lungi which is not so far away from Freetown and the all important Cote D’Ivoire and Liberia Visas. Apparently very easy here. All we have forgotten is that it’s Good Friday.
Can there be a better view to start your day?
It’s been such a nice Sierra Leone Welcome, the police are really Friendly, as are the military and even the govt Dept that won’t allow right hand drive vehicles are apologetic. Not even the hint of a bribe needed to get things moving. “We are sorry, our jobs are at stake if we allow you through”. No arguing with that.
As agreed before, its a big headache (and ultimately 2 1/2 days waiting for the VW Boys) being stuck on the border.
The Sierra Leone roads, at least the main one, is silky smooth and that’s not been experienced in a few countries. A big hard shoulder, road markings and very little traffic. In fact, not so much life, but an early sign asking people too report ‘Water Corruption’ leaves me with an idea of what’s ahead. A whole lot of poverty. Look left in a tiny Village which turns out to be the biggest place in 40 miles and you’ll see grass huts on wooden supports and inside that is all sorts of life including a fair bit of welding, the bright white light and crackling sticks out. As well as the idea it’s gonna be horribly poor here.
But this is your reward. The local kids are very happy we are here.
Look right and amongst the huts are quite a few huts with some pretty big speaker set-ups pumping sound and with a few locals having a dance. But it’s not an instantaneous wave and smile country.
Everything we need is here, including the ‘Videofootball centre’ where Champions League, both the Spurs v City game and the other one I forget were watched by a very excited crowd.
It’s also a big grovel under the shadeless sky to make it just 40 miles by 4pm. That’s another 40miles to make into a headwind and on the back of a bonk before dark at about 8pm. It’s a normal sorta West African day, fight it and be pleased when it’s over. I’m pretty convinced that a Police Checkpoint or tiny Village would put me up for the night but, right now I’m feeling a little uncomfortable in Sierra Leone.
Bribery in the Water connection centre! WTF! Still an average 1usd a day lived on here.
It’s too hot, not enough food and the Sierra Leone recent History is pretty hard going. Yet again, another country with Gold and Diamonds for example which would surely improve life if it was shared equally. Fat chance of that. Just have a watch of the Film’s ‘Blood Diamond’ & ‘The Beasts of no nation’.
Silky Smooth roads and the reality that smooth equals less shade, or how about no shade. The vehicles may be stuck but the cyclist ain’t. From the high of the early morning to the reality of a big, hot day ahead.
Yep, I’ve got my knickers in a bit of a twist. Amazing how far you can cycle when you’ve got a panic on. Might have caused me a big problem right there. I think, in my rush to find the Lungi Airport Lodge that we all agreed to meet at, I’ve smashed my shin on a pedal. Hard.
Fluid and Food, 5 of these for 50pence. Could be the answer too the mostly big empty road.
Turns out the VW Crew are still stuck at the border and initially I’m pouring a fair bit of Iodin on the multiple wounds all over my body after arriving. I’m wondering if perhaps I have a Hernia. A lump in my groin could be the reason. It’s all a guess but by the time the VW crew arrive, my shins inflated like a balloon and the pain is constant and unbearable. The chemist is in a shipping container, it’s less than basic and with a little help, I’m necking some Antibiotics, self administered.
And some respite when a River arrives, temporary but welcome.
By the next Morning it seems the govt Hospital is my only choice. The pain is excruciating and the swelling is red and angry.
Full zoom on some pristine Jungle. It’s way way over there.
The quite large but mostly empty of people and anything modern hospital has decided a drip is needed and a daily clean and change of bandages. If my assumption is correct, the tiny wound from the pedal has spread Into 6″ of Festering wound. It makes sense to be looked after in my Hotel room. It’s clean and basic. Carlos who will clean my wounds and administer the medicine earns 145usd a month! That’s a nurses wage. The fee for visiting me daily is just 5usd.
4 impressive Rivers crossed today.
It’s incredible to think that the badly painted hospital sign shows some support from UK & US charities specifically from when Ebola was here. The lads at the hotel (with a smile) talk of the days of 24hr curfews just to try and help combat Ebola.
I can’t see much to smile about, but still they manage a big one.
The water corruption I saw in the sign Cycling the other day is too try and stop Water Company Employees from charging a connection fee too the water network.
Maybe this is partly why I didn’t feel so good recently. I think it’s was an invisible wound from todays cycling though. That’s how it started anyway.
Some of the hospital & Hotel staff explain to me that some of them have recently received electricity in there Villages. How do you get that done? Luckily for them they have an uncle who paid for the power lines and poles to carry the power. That’s how you get connected it seems!
Thank Goodness for Lungi Airport Lodge and big portions and great food as well and the plus the people people of Sierra Leone.
Add a Canula and the battle is on! Pump me with Antibiotics please.
Without these two I was in a pretty bad place. Co-codimal were being necked at a big pace.
I’m not gonna say I feel entirely comfortable on my way through Sierra Leone day 1 but the smiles that are not so common take a little work.
The Best thing I learned about this lot above is that they are a mixture of Christians and Muslims. It seems there is no religious tension here and “We are easy going people”. It seems marrying people from other religions is fine. No stress here.
I have no idea but it tastes pretty good.
Freetown is so named for a reason. Land bought from local Themne chiefs in the late 18th century became the new home for resettled freed slaves from Britain and North America, and of ‘recaptives’ taken off seized slave ships on the Atlantic after Britain passed the 1807 Abolition of the Slave Trade Act.
And if you think that’s for the dinner table, think again. That’s some sort of soap.
At last, 12 days after the swelling and pain started, it seems under control. Hopefully in a few days I can ride.
And how to make a Sierra Leonean smile? Put some music on, it seems they love to dance. Good on ya Sierra Leone
This is some footage of the Guinea Bissau – Guinea Border crossing.