It’s been a while. The rainy season and travel to Koidu Town (Kono District) conspired to keep me from posting at something like a weekly pace.
My trip to Koidu Town was a tremendously productive two weeks of fieldwork, amounting to almost 60 interviews, and an amazing collection of wartime documents kept meticulously by a wonderful man named Philip Fambois.
Koidu is one of the main diamond ferrous areas of Sierra Leone, and has been the source of billions of dollars of diamonds (including lots of so-called “blood diamonds” during the war) over the last several decades. For all of the value that has been extracted from the soil of Koidu, the people of Koidu Town have almost nothing to show for it. The town doesn’t have a single internet cafe or a properly paved road. Unemployment is rampant, as it is in most of Salone, and the local economy continues to revolve around small scale prospecting for diamonds. I walked past an NGO office aptly named “Life After Diamonds.” I passed by during the middle of a weekday, but the office looked empty…I hope that isn’t a commentary on the prospects for the future of Koidu.
After Koidu, I bounced back to Freetown for a couple of days, and now I’m back in Bo for a short stint. I’ll be hopping around the country a good deal during my last month here, but I’m going to try to do a better job of keeping up with the now backlogged blog posts.