Sunday, March 1, 2015

One week in Freetown

I had a wonderful few days in Oxford catching up with old friends and meeting new colleagues. It was relatively freezing compared to the summer I'd just left, but most of the days were blue skies which always makes the cold more manageable. Oxford is such a beautiful city, even though this time around the only times I got to see the centre were on my way in and out, it was still nice to see!
The journey from Heathrow to Freetown was pretty uneventful. I was travelling with two colleagues which was nice, as we were delayed by almost 2 hours in London. That meant when we got to Casablanca to transfer it was a mad dash through the airport and straight onto the next plane. (Casablanca airport didn't look too interesting, but flying over there were lots of interesting lighting arrangements in the city below.)

We landed at Lungi airport at 4ish in the morning. After getting through immigration, and having our temperatures checked for the first time, we collected our bags and were greeted by an agent my organisation uses to meet people and arrange their ownward journey. The thing about Lungi airport is that it's across an estuary from Freetown, so you have to get a speedboat which took half an hour. I was fine the whole way, except the last few minutes so I was quite glad it finished when it did. By this stage it was 6am and the sun still wasn't up. We were taken to a hotel and eventually the sun started to come up. This has been my view out over some mangrove trees.

There's also a weird duck enclosure in the hotel. Well, it's attached to a Chinese restaurant, perhaps not too weird, but I've been counting the ducks each day and none have ended up on the menu. What made this particularly weird was that there was a tiny deer type thing in there as well, but it disappeared a few days ago (hope it didn't end up on the menu!)
My days at the office (where we get out temperature taken and recorded, then wash our hands with soap and water before we can enter) have been filled with briefing meetings and reading through a lot of documents and budgets, and on the one occassion I managed to leave early enough for a little stroll on the beach, I came across this:
 Yep. It's a large dinosaur statue (missing an arm), on the beach front. Bizzare. The beach itself is pretty enough to look at
 And then there's this statue on the other side of the road. Weird weird weird.
Today I'm heading up to one of the northern districts for a few weeks to cover for the manager while he takes some much needed R&R. I'm really looking forward to getting out and seeing the water, sanitation and hygiene promotion work the teams have been doing. 

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