I first went back home to Sierra Leone in 2010, for Christmas and New Year. This was after 11/12 years of living in London. I travelled with my mom, dad, and three younger sisters who are British born Sierra Leoneans. I was 21 at the time and my sisters were 6 to 10 years younger.
Honestly, I cannot recall much from my first trip back… mainly because I did not enjoy it. Judge by the life I was now accustomed to in the UK, I didn’t appreciate my country. I remember thinking three whole weeks of this, no way!
We were staying at my dad’s house and the place was so full and busy. The first time I tried to go for a stroll was stressful. I remember going to buy kan-kan-kan at 8pm and having to walk on the road because I just couldn’t tell the pavement from the road.
Fast-forwarding to Christmas 2017, I decided to take a leap of faith and book a flight, alone back to Sierra Leone. A lot of my friends were going for holiday and for work so I was confident that I’d be in safe hands.
I had even made a geographical snapchat filter because I was ready to live my best life. I got to Freetown the day after Boxing Day and stayed till the end of January. Wow, it was different from what I remembered in 2010. I had so much fun. The town was full of young people. I met fellow Sierra Leoneans from America, Canada, Holland and UK who where on holiday and some who have moved back home. We were all excited to meet each other. There was so much to do.
We partied from Wednesday to Sunday. The enjoyment begins on Wednesdays at the clubs for ladies night, we had bars and shisha restaurants on the strip of Lumley beach and on Sundays after church, you will find everyone down at no2 Beach, before we all head back to Lumley to finish off the night at a bar or club.
The experience was so different second time around, I returned just a few months later in May
Since falling in love with my country once more, I don’t think there’s any other destination I’d rather spend my money than my beautiful Salone.
As a young Sierra Leonean, I encourage all my fellow young people in the diaspora to invite their friends to come experience our country. There is an abundance of luxurious resorts, top class hotels, and with the right tour operator or local guide, I guarantee you will not run out of things to do.
If your initial experience of Sierra Leone has been like mine was back in 2010, please I urge you to take another trip. Our country is such a beautiful and undiscovered destination, and we have to nurture it by visiting and making use of our own economy.