Streams

1993 Letter from Umaru Mansaray

Excerpted from Black Man's Grave by Gary Stewart and John Amman, copyright 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

There are problems in [Sierra Leone]. Business has fallen to its minimum. Money circulation has reduced. Workers are being sacked everyday. Our leaders continue to smuggle our diamonds and gold abroad. Development programmes are geared towards the urban areas. The soldiers continue to harass and take our property by force. This Gov't. is now doing things they overthrew the past regime for. So where is the hope? No hope. They are all bunches of thieves. It is the worst Gov't. we have ever had. There is one thing common in S.L., the situation will never improve....

When I was working in Mongo with K.I.A.D.P. [Koinadugu Integrated Agricultural Development Project], I thought one could live a more meaningful life if one should set up a strong agricultural base. I decided to go to Njala for further studies....I came out with the hope of setting up [a farm]. But factors beyond my control could not give me the hope I was looking for. Land has been the most bottle neck that has prevented us from meeting that goal. Now the problem of a road [to available land] is also there. The agricultural project will take time to establish, especially when we need more time and resources to build that road....What is more discouraging is that Gov't. has totally neglected rural development. The rural areas will not develop without feeder roads. But again the main roads in the country are in a very bad shape. So for Gov't. to think about feeder roads will take a very long time. One thing I keep asking myself is why NGOs, Gov't. and other charitable organizations have failed to support feeder roads?...

My dream of 1989 to set up an agricultural base is still held up by the twin problems of land & road. It is because of this problem that I have decided to go [abroad] for further studies. Because waiting for these problems to be solved will need a long time. I am confident that one day in the distant future things will go through. But if I should go now and read [for a degree] quickly, I will come back to take a more responsible role in society. I have the hope that there is nothing [more] real than agriculture. It is genuine and reliable. But time is running out.

Umaru Mansaray
Fadugu, Oct. 25, 1993

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