What follows is a series of letters to friends and family sent while my wife and I were working with the Sierra Leone government in Freetown between April and December 2009.
27 April 2009
We’ve just finished our first full week in Freetown, and thought it was time we let you know that we’re still alive and well.
We’re in Sierra Leone for about a year working inside their Government to contribute to their policy making and delivery processes. We’re part of a small team employed by Tony Blair’s office. We’re living in relative luxury (running cold water and intermittent generator powered electricity) with three others in a team house that resembles a ramshackle Spanish villa, nestling in the hills above Freetown. All around us is a hive of activity with houses being built wherever space allows. The planning laws exist more in theory than practice, and the builders merchants across the street from us seem to be doing a roaring trade. Our house overlooks the American embassy, which is rather an isolated fortress on a hill, and in stark contrast to the UK embassy which we visited last week, which as you might expect, contains genial diplomats with a pink gin in one hand and regrets for the passing of the Empire in the other.