Sierra Leone: People-to-People
Bicycle Africa / Ibike Tours

  Dispatch 10 - Bo

Tiwai Island-BO (90km, 56 miles)

Points of interest: Koribundu area was a rebel strong hold during the war

Cycling conditions: first 40k are rolling dirt and the last 50k are rolling paved


Potoru-Bandijuma Road Leaving the island paradise we retuned to the bicycles and resumed with the bicycling paradise.  The roads continue to be visually sublime, the morning air temperature was comfortable and we were passed by about one vehicle an hour, if that many.

At one stop along the way, a twenty-something man suggested that we were sufficiently immersed in Sierra Leone that we should all be given Mende names. Fine. One would assume that this would easy Sierra Leone, Masa, Potoru-Bandijuma Roadenough, but it became an animated community process.  It wasSierra Leone, Masa, Potoru-Bandijuma Road interesting how the younger man who were ostensibly spearheading the process repeatedly deferred to the old women as which name should finally be bestowed on each individual. The children were distracted by the fuss of the adults.  They tirelessly looked on and smiled.  Mine is Bockarie (pronounced closer to Bōkē) and Eric's is Saffa.

Sierra Leone, Bandajuma bridge over the Waanj RiverBandajuma-Bo RoadIf all things get down to time and place, finest point of the road is the Bandajuma bridge over the Waanj River (left).  A careful examination of the picture will show that the road is dirt on south side of the bridge and paved on the north side.  You never quite realize how much rough dirt affect rolling resistance until you return to good pavement after several days on dirt.  It was almost liberating feeling.

Later in the afternoon drums in the distance beckoned us to a village that was enjoying a traditional cultural program. The dancing figures are suggestive, but quite different from the sacred mask that would come to the village as part of the rituals and role of the traditional society/religion.  The sacred mask are much more powerful, can pass judgement on the community and even had the authority of life and death for members of he community.  This afternoon's music and dance was purely for entertainment.  (Note: the helmet mask in the left side bar is from the Bundu (a.k.a Sandi) Society (women's group) of the traditional religion.)


Our visit included front row seats and a photo session with the paramount chief (above).


To keep the perspective, the primary economic activity is agriculture.  In this area rice and sorghum are the dominate staple crops.

Bo, Sierra Leone Bo, Sierra Leone Bo, Sierra Leone

Our day ended in Bo, Sierra Leone second principle city.  I was last in Bo thirty years ago.  Except for the models of vehicles (SUVs for example), the spread of the town and the replacement of Coca-Cola signs for cell phone company advertisements, it is hard to see how the look of the town has changed in thirty years.  It is a very functional city.  To the best of my knowledge Bo has no public park, museum, preserved historic site or memorial.


 Next dispatch



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