Exploring Kenema. CAFOD Gap Year Student for Cardinal Newman, Hove, reports from Sierra Leone

So here we are finishing the third week of our trip to Sierra Leone; incredibly only one more week to go! It’s been another jam-packed week here at Kenema full of all sorts of wonderful experiences so it’ll be really hard to pick and choose which ones to write about!

We began our stay here on Sunday when we went to mass at St Paul’s Cathedral looking amazing wearing our freshly made African outfits. The whole Catholic community make a real effort to dress up in traditional costume for mass so we thought that we would join in the culture and wear ours! They’re amazingly comfortable, and I’m going to be really tempted to live in it when I’m back in the UK! (photo below from left: Emily, me , Neal, Jacob (our driver), Julia and Ben).

Traditional Dress in Kenema

Traditional Dress in Kenema

Later we headed back to Kenema city to chill out for our Friday’s excursions.

We had the amazing opportunity on Friday to head over to Tiwai Island, in the Gola Rainforest of South-east Sierra Leone. This has been a real highlight for me because we got to see so much wildlife that I never dreamed of seeing! Wandering around the island, it was clear that this place is truly a gem of Sierra Leone that needs looking after. It’s completely unspoiled, inhabited only by a small team of researchers who are working hard to preserve the many primates, butterflies and birds that inhabit the 12skm space. Although we weren’t lucky enough to see the elusive pygmy hippo, we got to see many monkeys (and I’m sure I spotted a chimpanzee!).


Primates in Kenema

Primates in Kenema

So this is just a snapshot of what we’ve been up to this week, and although we’re just beginning the final week of our stay, I’m still looking forward to what’s to come!

Applications are now open for next year’s Step into the Gap programme. 

It’s a unique and special way to learn more about yourself and the wider world we live in.                

For more information click here.

Sierra Leone is CAFOD’s focus for Lent this year. 

Find out more by viewing our parish resourceschildren’s resources, resources for secondary schools, and young people.

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