We rejoined the Peninsula Highway and covered a few more kilometres. Jan had heard of a rather secretive little place hidden on the beach down here near John Obey. We saw the sign to John Obey Village on the main road but as we dropped down this gravel track anything but a secretive little hole came to mind. We were accompanied by a range of empty lorries, and ones full of sand were coming up from the beach. I’d seen evidence of sand mining in the Caribbean and in a few other island nations, a single pickup would turn up in the dead of night taking up a small hole’s worth of beach sand to go and construct the foundations from the house. It was usually on a harmless scale although it was deemed illegal and could cause undue erosion on the beach front if the site for borrowing was not carefully chosen. In fact it usually turned out worse for the quarrier – the sand would be saturated with salt which would cause undue corrosion on any structure it came in contact with.
Here at John Obey, sand mining was on an industrial scale and blatantly going on in the full sun. We saw about twenty trucks in less than half an hour coming in and out of this location. We continued on past the operations and turned right into a small car park. At first sight the resort looked like the previous one in Tokah; a few shacks under the palm trees but our initial impression was shattered when we went on a tour of the grounds. First, we saw these large dome like structures which were the guests’ bedrooms. Made of adobe they looked more Saharan than Sierra Leonean but they were beautifully crafted on the outside, with enough air holes to ensure ventilation of the deep cool interiors. Inside they were simply but carefully furnished.
We were shown all the different projects that go on at this place, which was called Tribewanted. They had plots to grow their own vegetables and fruits, there were beehives for honey, a line of fishing boats. As well as to give the guests the paradise treatment the intention here is to have them work closely with the local community from John Obey village coming in amongst the guests to teach help out with the daily tasks, tell stories about their village and share their skills in local crafts. Jan seemed impressed and was keen to book up for a few nights.
The beach here was not as white as up at Tokah, possibly the leaching going on from the quarrying at the back of the sands, but the sweep of the bay was just as impressive. A church group were having a large party a few hundred metres along and we went to watch the band play, the people dancing, the kids larking around in the water and a massive amount of food and drink being consumed.