MichaelgSeamans's Blog

Illiterate ramblings from a photographer.

Archive for October 2011

The Basic Needs: Fighting for Survival in Sierra Leone.

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Sierra Leone by all accounts should be the Saudi Arabia of Africa with its vast natural resource wealth. The West African nation is one of the most diamondiferous regions on the planet and yet they rank last in livability by UNICEF and the United Nations and boasts one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates on the planet.  According to the 2008 Sierra Leone Demographic and Health report, nearly 1 in 10 infants and 1 in 8 mothers die during childbirth in the impoverished West African nation. One in five children, or 20 percent, dies before the age of 5.  The life expectancy hovers around the age of 48 years with some of the leading causes of death attributed to preventable diseases such as malaria streptococcus and pneumonia. So why does a country with so much wealth leave it’s people in such desperate circumstances and what can we do to help?

Steps are being taken by the government to address these issues. Yet, ten years after the end of the bloody civil war that killed and maimed thousands of people there is no visible change. Hospitals are forced to perform delicate procedures in the equivalent of field hospitals with little funding and resources. One group has made a difference though.

The WellBody Alliance under the direction of Sierra Leonean native, Dr. Bailor Berry and American Dr. Dan Kelly are leading the way and introducing several outreach programs and services to rural areas.  The clinic has served more than 10,000 patients in the past year up by almost 5,000 from the year before. Unfortunately, there is long road ahead for the people of Sierra Leone. Unemployment has settled around 70 percent, considered an optimistic number by some with little hope in the process for the future.

This photo story explores some of the aspects of healthcare in Sierra Leone.


Written by michael G. Seamans

October 24, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

BorBor Pain – Suffering Child

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One of the most dramatic examples we witnessed was a new phenomenon in Sierra Leonean mining—colonies of long-displaced refugees, including very young children, who struggle to survive by mining gravel.”  – Greg Campbell, excerpt from Greg Campbell’s blog on child labor in Sierra Leone.

I encourage everyone to read the piece by Greg Campbell about the rise of child labor labor and the mining industry in Sierra Leone. Click on the link below to read Campbell’s piece.

Something you can do to help Sierra Leone

BorBor Pain translates to “suffering child” in krio. It is no coincidence that Foday Mansaray named his charity school Suffering Child.  Mansaray’s  goal is to free all children from hard labor and offer a new hope to the future of Sierra Leone through free education. This photo essay depicts a small part of Mansaray’s struggle and the conditions from which he is trying to free children. Mansaray himself was a child laborer working in rock mines similar to the ones in Lumlee, Sierra Leone. His childhood was full of relocating fleeing violence and civil war until 2002. He was able to pay for his own schooling and graduated from college  with a degree. Rather than leaving his country or looking for high paid job with some security he returned to the shanty villages that are home to some of the world’s poorest people. Mansaray’s drive is as he says, directed by god.  “It is important because the children are the future of Sierra Leone. What kind of future do we have if we  have no education?”

Those interested can send money via Western Union to: the Borbor Pain Charity School Of Hope or Foday Mansaray at 40 Main Peninsular Road, Adonkia/Angola, Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa. Mansaray’s cell phone number is :00 232 76 69 89 79. Email wire details and test question to Mansaray at borborpaincharity@yahoo.com.

(Borbor Pain Charity School of Hope can also be found on Facebook.)

Written by michael G. Seamans

October 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized