Our third trip to Sierra Leone in a year has come round so fast, as these things do. Jon is trying to get someone out of window seat number 31 F but she keeps making excuses and shoves her bag right under the seat.
Then suddenly we’re 35,000 feet high, chatting and laughing sharing stories with other passengers. We’d forgotten how convivial Africans could be and their warmth is bolstered by Johnny Walker (Red Label).
Our neighbour Cecilia lives in Northampton and she is on her way to Liberia to see relatives, James on the seat opposite is going back to Freetown after 17 years in Maryland, USA. The flight flies by (excuse pun) and we are painlessly landed in Africa.
Franklyn, our good friend, is at the airport to our surprise. He has an “Access All Areas” laminate and has managed to get into the inner most area to help us collect luggage from the belt.
Our Salone/Hull friend Tony has sent his brother Daniel to meet us also. He is with his wife, their youngest child and a family friend. They have spent most the day travelling to greet us and they will spend most of the night trying to get us from Lungi Airport into Freetown.
We have missed the ferry and our only real option is to wait for it to cross the water and come back in 2 hours. 4 hours passes and the ferry arrives. The air is full of leaded petrol fumes and we are herded onto the beast…slowly…packed…poisoined.
Horrible. Moving to the upper deck would help but we are so tired and resolve ourselvews to death in the vehicle, closing our eyes.
We are moving through the outskirts, following a long line of cars to the centre of Freetown. There are no streetlights so the line of cars helps us see where we are heading.
We catch the odd person in the headlights but Freetown is strangely quiet, I thought Freetown never slept, apparently it does, at around 2am on a Tuesday. As we climb the hill, dogs chase the car and one almost snaps me, I pull my hand in from the cool air. By the time we get the luggage upstairs it’s something o’clock, Franklyn stays the night.