Been doing all the last minute swatting, fact checking and administrative doing before going. Spoken to Jon and Murray – I think we’ve all got that pre-trip anxious-anticipation thing going on.
This morning I went out and took lots of pictures of my street and the local shops on Newland Avenue to make a short Microsoft Photostory introduction to who I am, where I live for the kids we’ll be working with out there. Chris in the fruit shop, the ladies in the fishmongers and Peter the butcher all posed nicely. I’ll put it together properly when we get there.
I remembered a couple of days ago that Graham Greene’s novel The Heart of the Matter is set in and around Freetown so I’ve been checking out where he stayed, what life was like etc. Greene was out there spying, though it seems there was very little worth spying on. He talks a lot about the seediness and squalor of the place (though it wouldn’t have mattered where he was, his radar was set to seedy), he hated the pettiness of the class ridden colonial Brits and generally seems to have been a grumpy, solitary figure.
So I’ve got this picture in my head of colonial Freetown, flaky plaster walls in shabby hotels inhabited by stiff-upper-lip characters who spend their lives visiting brothels and sipping gin under slowly rotating fans whilst cursing the locals.
I’m looking forward to seeing the real place.