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What's next?: Musings of a Tired Sierra Leonean

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

"Pray for the lives lost last week, may Allah (SWT) watch over them and their loved ones"

Those were the last words of the Khutbah (sermon) spoken from the Imam at the masjid I went to attend Jumu'aa prayers today.

In my latest think piece: Dignity > Performative Divinity posted on Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin on Monday, November 8 2021, I wrote an open letter to you saying that Sierra Leone does not need your prayers, we need reform.

And I still stand by that.

Exactly a week ago today, Freetown was on fire. Wellington was on fire when a fuel tanker explosion occurred claiming the lives of 131 people to date as reported by Al Jazeera on November 10 2021, with 63 in hospital and 19 in critical condition.

President Julius Maada Bio in his address to the nation Sunday evening, November 7 2021 declared three days of national mourning from Monday, November 8 - Wednesday, November 10 2021 with requests for prayers to be made on Friday, November 12 2021 at masjids and Sunday, November 14 2021 at churches. Though we are officially out of mourning, make no mistake Sierra Leone is still mourning.

Sierra Leone is a "resilient" country

If you want to annoy me, call us resilient people. I dare you.

Resilience has become a word to glamorize repetitive human pain, suffering and trauma especially in the development context and we need to adapt our approach to it and adopt a new meaning. We are not resilient. To achieve resilience a sense of processing, grieving, healing and catharsis must occur to arrive at the standard definition of "resilient". We have not processed, grieved or healed from our nation's tragedies mostly because we have not been given the time to be afforded to do so before another tragedy befalls us.

Having volunteered through the Ebola recovery process in 2015/2016, to the August 2017 Regent mudslide and working in the gender response to COVID-19 in 2020. In the span of 7 years since I relocated to Sierra Leone I have survived, worked and witnessed these three major events (two of the first two resulted in mass burials) and I'm tired.




And I know there are those out there that are equally tired, or frustrated and hurting and that's ok. Without invoking the blame game and pointing fingers -- where do we go from here? In this case, I say the best way we know how to which is to support.

Ways you can support

  1. Blood Donation

I'm not sure who I may have offended in a past life, but in my current life I came Anemic in abundance, so donating blood is not in the cards for me. But if it is for you, please take you and your iron filled blood down to PCMH to donate to the burn victims.

2. Mama Pikin Foundation

Endorsed by Content Producer Vickie Remoe, the Mama-Pikin Foundation is run by married couple Sierra Leonean doctors Dr. Fatu Forna Sesay and Dr. Shekou Sesay. The couple are United States based medical practitioners that serve on the frontlines in Sierra Leone and support our health system.

And I know there are other individuals and organizations doing great work to respond to the current crisis and I implore you to research others that align best with your values and match the kind of support you are willing and able to give at this time if you choose to do so -- at this moment these are the two that I wanted showcase.

Mama Salone

Mama Salone




Good night and take care. More later.

Ergo sum cogito

Mina Bilkis.

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