Human Encounters on the Road Side
While on assignment in Sierra Leone to cover the issue of Child malnutrition I made many encounters with individuals and their stories. While these where "outtakes" from their perspective of the organisation that send me to cover their life-saving aid work, the portraits and their life stories painted a much more vibrant story of the place I was visiting.
Floating on reclaimed land at the edge of a slum in Susans Bay, Freetown Sierra Leone, the fire of collect driftwood is ignited unsin discarded plastic bags. The three men, smock cow skin to make Chicharrón, a dish generally consisting of fried pork belly or fried pork rinds. Here made from cow bellies they get from the slaughterhouses for little cash. It may also be made from chicken or mutton if they can get hold off it.
Missed Story: She called herself Lily. Sadly there was no time I rushed, she needed to sell, and it was at a hectic street corner. I would have had many questions; how is life in Freetown as a transgender and street-seller. When did she decide to live in an opposite skin? However, I rushed on. Lost sight and missed the moment. Looking at the picture I kick myself I should have had a discussion and learn her story.
The girl is collecting pieces of strings. She will connect them to a log rope. "A long and strong line is fun to play with." We meet her in Moa Wharf, one of Sierra Leone’s poorer slums. On the edge of the Atlantic Ocean sits one of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s, toughest neighbourhoods. Despite the reputation, I met many kind individuals here today on my travel to understand how nutrition and health services better can reach these communities and children. How services can better cater to the needs of the population in this neighbourhood.
Charging the batteries. Manadu has 99 chargers to load mobile phones. Having his own head phones allowed him to listen to the music libraries of customers. Since he has the earpieces work is much more fun. And he can’t wait to get some customers returning to scrolle through their collections.
There is a family that take the initiative and does not need me to come up with an explanation. It was her son that did the writing and she thought it was kind of useful for the people passing by to know who is living in her house so she left the writing on the wall.
#humanencounter #photostory #sierraleone #humansofSierraLeone #photojournalism #socialinteraction
The long journey of Haja.
A travel that very nearly ended deathly for the little one and a halve year-old. Fatmata, her mother, was desperate to get her seen by a doctor in Liberia but could not find a treatment that helped Haja. The mother heard from a distant relative that in Lumpa Sierra Lone an old refugee camp mostly populated by Liberian how fled the war a decade ago she could find a healer that will be able to help her daughter.
So they set off across the border and travelled across Sierra Leone. A trip of 560 km (350 miles) on foot, by mother bike, on the back of trucks and in cramped minibuses. The health of the little girls got worth with exhaustion. It was in the old camp where Issa Kanu a @acf_uk community health volunteer heard of the mother and her sick daughter and decided to visit her.
He measured 10.2 cm around her upper arm, a clinical sign, she lost a dangerous amount of body weight. Instead of going to the traditional healer they decided to enrol Haja in the nutrition treatment programme, She should recover and grow strong for her subsequent journeys. #humansofSierraLeone #humanstories #hope #photojournalism #travels #travelphotography #sierraleone
Zinaby 12 years old, Analamis, her mother about 26 and Ansatu Mansarray, 6 preparing a Benny a dish. They are bright Moorish sesame seed are eaten by the people in the rural villages, it reminds the mother of the time with her parents. She lost them in the civil war, but she can remember this dish.
For her daughters, she hopes they will be by able to fly. Zina adds: I would go to the US and build a two story home for them to life inside and she would work in the bank. So she could look after her sister and the baby that will join the family any day now." Analamis is close to her due date.
Born 1961, Joe is a fisherman his ship is named Tiger Shark, although these days he is working as a watchman. Fishing out of stick-boats* has become challenging and physically very hard at his age. Trollers started to come to the Sierra Leonian waters pulling along the fishing nets Joe places. The Chinese crews of these boats commonly just cut the boy they place to make it impossible to find the finishing nets the next morning. In one year he lost six of them, he was bankrupt. Joe had to pass on Tiger Shark on to his relative. Her name is in memory of a Kong Fu movie he sill love to see.
Once the Tourist Beach Resort is completed, he hopes that the kitchen will serve the visitors the local fish and Tiger Sharp will return once again catching Snappers, Barracudas, Sole, Spanish Fish and Lobster for the chef. Joe hopes his two sons will take up fishing and maybe by then he can afford an outboard engine.
* stick-boats are a step up from the dugout. made from rafts and wooden blankets they are more seaworthy.
In the shadow of the children hospital, Sierra Leone
The parents of Aminata were not aware of the nutrition clinic at their National Children Hospital Ola During in Freetown, which is only a few minutes walk away. This story is not unusual; many children fell ill with malnutrition to not get the right treatment. The @acf_uk coverage survey made in this area found that just half of all malnourished children are seeking the free nutrition program
The reasons not to inquire for nutrition assistance are unique to every child and family. Maybe the Community Health Workers volunteers, who live in these areas were not sufficiently supported to go out and talk to the young parents to alert them to the issue. Maybe the clinic has insufficient therapeutic food supplements, or the staff are asking for fees and other contribution, which low-income families can hardly afford.
The caregivers have their reasons not to be able to bring their child. Some do not connect hunger and health. Consequently, do not ask the hospitals but go to the traditional healers for help. They can not afford the hidden cost at the clinics. The employer might not let them take time off and not earning even a day is not an option. Siblings cannot easily be left alone. They feel ashamed and judged by others.
Most of all the nurses and doctors must be respectful, so malnourished children return to their communities, and their caregivers spread the word and encourage other mothers and fathers to seek assistance. The hospital must fight corruption, it’s staff must be banned from asking for “fees”, and waiting times must be minimised.
Two weeks later we pass the house of Aminata again. Her mum and a friend are chatting; she is sitting on her lap. The girl has discharged from the inpatient service and is now playing happily. The mother is telling us that she will tell all her neighbours to visit the hospital if she sees “thin thin” children, the Creole for acute malnutrition.
#SierraLeone #humansofSierraLeone #WestAfrica #moving, #gender #knowlage #foodcrises #malnutrition #foodsecurity #acutemalnutrition @everydayafrica #documentaryphotography #photographer
Mohamed Kamara 54, works at an office cooking lunch for the staff. He likes to work in a place that doses not require an evening service. At the same time, he looks fondly back to the time, where his food was more delicate and sophisticated. He learned his excellent cooking from a late uncle, who was like a father to him. As a boy he joints the uncle, who cooked for dignitaries, wealthy tobacco growers all around Freetown, learning the art of food preparation. Later he worked many years at the British Embassy.
The one recipe he attributes to his late uncle is Chicken in a coconut sauce and served with a ginger sauce. It is spicy and at the same time gentle with its smooth coconut flavour.
“I have the most fabulous kitchen that exist,” said Moses Sees, 52 sitting in front of this counter, after a Sunday service. He worked for years in international hotel chains. But nothing’s is coming close to where he is based for the last six years as the head chef.
He cooks everything the fishermen bring in from the days catch. Today it is Barracuda. These are new and westernised dishes, not the one he remembered his mother cooking. HJe is very proud of the Traditional Sierra Leonean Kitchen. Its recipes are full of flavours, local products, determined by seasons and very spicy. Unlike the kitchen around and away from the coast.
The one dish transport him back in time is shrimp rice with grilled sweet peppers and a hot chilli pepper seasoning. It would be the dish his mother cooked on special occasions. By saying “I have the most fabulous kitchen that exists”. Moses means more than being situated next to a pristine white sand beach it means to him to represent a food culture that can only be found along this coastline and he is one of the guardians of this tradition
“Our Life is all about taking it to the next level!” Simeon S. Kiaritay is about 40 years old he doses not like to say the exact age. He has driven 40-tonne trucks through the most difficult forest roads of Sierra Leone’s border with Liberia. “Any challenge we face we have to approach with the aim to evaluate oneself to the next level.” Simeon had done many professions. He once owned a successful printing workshop. However; “How no now needs printers and more, they use Xerox and their computers, people do not get newspapers and much happens online. My printing skill is not any longer needed. The knowledge will remain in my head, and I hope I will use it to get to the next level whatever comes next.”
Bro German and his friend Kamara, if you have it, you have it! Not much to say or add. He dreams to study government he retcons that will set him up to a great and bright future. The current leaders domestic and further a field are testimony to his logic. Beach Boys. #humansof Sierraleaone #photojournalism, thanks to #humansofnewyork you are inspiring to contribute to the story.
Kamara is keen on bikes, lions and glasses. he moved over from Conakry only few months back his brother told him to do so. We talk but neither is master of the others language so we speak bits of French, English and he Creole. we do just understand there this is a amazing place and he hopes to make it happen here on this street corner. #photostories #humanofSL #photojournalism #sierraleone