We hurriedly reorganised the vehicle loads – from the relative comfort of 4 in each vehicle we were now 5 or 6, plus all the extra kit. I hoped the other two rental cars could survive the extra weight as so far we had lost one vehicle on the best bit of road! I had to go in with new car buddies and apologised for making their life uncomfortable. I brought them Pringles as a peace offering.
An hour or so later we entered the town of Makeni and headed into the back streets for a meeting with a World Bank project – it was an odd venue. The project had just been in receipt of about a dozen new motorbikes and a dozen cycles for their extension officers to get around the communities in the bush. The only place secure they had to store them was the meeting room we now sat in, so we held earnest conversations about biodiversity and sustainability in what looked like a bike showroom.
Lunch was the next priority. Stephanie’s supremely good knowledge of Sierra Leone had encouraged her to ring ahead with our orders so we only had ten minutes to wait for a big pile of rice with chicken, beef or fish on it instead of what could have taken over an hour for such a large order. We had a few moments for last minute shopping in the last thing which looked like a supermarket for the next four days. I didn’t need much – I always find it amazing that people will buy things as soon as they see a shop; I’m a bit like my dad in the way I tend to just get by on what I have. I always laugh when I see people coming back from the field still with half the snacks they bought unconsumed.