Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a beautiful country on the west coast of Africa, lying just north of the equator.  Guinea wraps around Sierra Leone on the north and east.  Liberia is to the south.  

Sierra Leone has miles of white sand beaches and deep rainforest - which, sadly, are being cut and palms planted to meet the global north’s demand for coconut water and palm oil.  

Sierra Leone is similar in size and population to South Carolina, but has significant differences.  

Sierra Leone has ...

  • one airport with a paved runway (South Carolina:  158),
  • about 1000 miles of paved roads (South Caroline:  66,000).  
  • about 90 medical doctors licensed to practice (South Carolina:  15,000)

The following chart gives you an overview of world need in terms of maternal mortality.  Here is the source of this information. 

Country              Mortality*    # deaths/year        Lifetime odds*

UK                         .012                   90                      1:4700
US                         .024               1000                      1:2100 
Haiti                      .3                     820                      1:93 
Sierra Leone        1.35                 2900                      1:10

* The percentage of women dying in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

** The odds that a 15-year-old girl will die of a pregnancy-related condition.  

Sierra Leone has alluvial diamond fields — not in holes deep underground, but in the rivers, like gold in California’s history.  Sierra Leone also has other rare minerals.  So, Sierra Leone also has thieves and businessmen who are known to enslave miners and prostitutes.  

Claimed and given a European name by the Portuguese, Sierra Leone was held as a colony and a protectorate by the British between the early 1800s and 1961.  Under their guidance, the regions and tribes were divided and set against each other.  Following independence in 1960, a predictable series of coups and counter-coups followed.  

A "Rebel War" started in 1991 which devastated the people, the economy, the infrastructure, and the countryside.  The war ended in 2002, after the death and displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.  

The country was limping down a rocky road to stability.  Three relatively peaceful elections had been held.  With the help of Chinese and Korean businesses, roads and other infrastructure was being rebuilt.  The largest sector of the economy is Non-Governmental Organizations — charity.  

Then Ebola hit, and health, education, and business tanked.

For more information about Sierra Leone, refer to these links:

CIA Factbook                  Sierra Leone Web

Wikipedia                        Sierra Leone Encyclopedia

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