Sierra Leone, where and when poverty is criminal and fatal

By Umaru Fofana

It is 05:45 am. Very early in the morning by any standards. In some countries this is when the food chain starts to move for the day. Bakeries that supply kids with bread throw their chains far and wide. The hot meal should be in schools before the kids arrive there. Tea and coffee being prepared too for the future generation. Handing-over notes are being prepared in offices as the day’s final shift rounds up.

Going mental in Sierra Leone

By Umaru Fofana

Sorie, not his real name, lies on a hospital bed. A bed and bedding not great, but one whose comfort or greatness no one lying on it cares a hoot about. Their wellness - or the lack of it - is their primary concern.

Budget cuts, the Liberia model for Sierra Leone

By Umaru Fofana

Forget about all the plans to build health care facilities, expand on the Medical Corps and set up a US-style centre for disease control as a way of responding to the awakening brought about by Ebola. These are all the brainchildren of people in Washington, Brussels, London, Geneva and elsewhere designed for the three countries hardest hit by the recent outbreak. So our elected leaders should claim no credit whatsoever for those. It is NOT their idea - despite they having been elected to think through solutions to our problems!

Sierra Leone's missing Ebola awards!

By Umaru Fofana

Any keen observer might be tempted into thinking that by the headline I am bothered by a strange decision of President Ernest Bai Koroma and his government. For some reason the incredible role played by the local media in the fight against Ebola did not get a recognition by the president and his government as manifested in their decision to not even invite the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) to the Ebola Awards in December, let alone award the association.

Telecoms companies’ internet ripoff in Sierra Leone

By Umaru Fofana

Such is the way of the world these days that one wonders how we used to live our lives before the advent of the mobile phone - or for the sake of this piece, the internet.

My friend and colleague, Tanu Jalloh returned home over the weekend from an overseas trip and had no access to data. Even though he could put calls through he was restless and had to go scouting for data for his internet modem, especially so because the mobile phone operator had awful internet connectivity as is often the case in Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone: Decaying schools, declining growth!

By Umaru Fofana

Staff morale is at a very low ebb as teachers and pupils compete to see who plays truant more recklessly. There is hardly any effective monitoring of teachers. Classrooms are often ruggedly floored and covered with dusty dinginess. They are overcrowded too, with kids hardly able to write or even breathe properly. The school environment is awful: hardly any water for the kids, or toilets, or napkins.