Everyday life in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Overview

Rich in diamonds and yet one of the poorest countries

Sierra Leone has rich mineral resources, especially diamonds. Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world. How can that be?

The prosperity of all countries is measured every year. This then results in a list, the Human Development Index, which means in German: table for human development. In 2018, Sierra Leone ranks 181st out of 189 countries.

In fact, diamonds make few people rich. The population itself hardly benefits from it. Private companies and corrupt officials are the ones who make money out of it. The long civil war has destroyed a lot in Sierra Leone – that is another problem. The civil war itself came about because there was a dispute over the diamonds.

Gold and diamonds are also illegally mined (in unauthorized mines) and smuggled. With the end of the civil war, however, the proportion of diamonds smuggled fell sharply. Another problem, however, is that the development of agriculture and industry has been neglected by the state because it was believed that gold and diamonds would be enough.

Another problem for a weak economy is the lack of transport routes to transport goods at all. There are few paved roads and hardly any railway lines in Sierra Leone.

What are blood diamonds?

Blood diamonds are called diamonds that are sold to pay for wars. They are mined and sold without permission. The money is then used to buy weapons. Because they are so small and yet so valuable, they are easy to smuggle in.

Everyday life in Sierra Leone

Pretty much everything in Sierra Leone is different from ours. It starts with the weather and doesn’t stop with eating. It is very warm all year round and also quite humid. Above all, you need short-sleeved clothing and winter jackets are superfluous. Snow never falls here! To get more information on Sierra Leone and Africa, check getzipcodes.

Earning a living plays the most important role in people’s everyday lives. Whoever owns a piece of land grows something there, which he then sells on the market.

Everyday life in Sierra Leone

Brooms instead of vacuum cleaners

Of course, the housework also has to be done – mostly or completely without electrical devices. Instead of a vacuum cleaner, it does a broom, instead of a shower with running water it does a bucket, instead of a stove it does an open fire. Not only the dishes, but also the laundry is washed by hand.

There are more houses in the city than in the country. But the supply is uncertain. So the electricity often goes out and you never know when you will have electricity again. The houses also have no telephone connection.

Where does the water come from?

Most of the time, water does not come from a tap, but has to be fetched. You go to a well or, in the country, to a stream or a pond if there is no well. The water there is often not clean and you can get diarrhea. The houses in the capital Freetown that are connected to the water supply do not always get water. Then you open the tap, but nothing comes out.

On road

And how is it going? Imagine there are almost no traffic lights in all of Sierra Leone! Most of the roads are unpaved. In the rainy season they turn into mud slopes. Most routes are covered on foot. If it’s too far to walk, you can take a minibus. They’re crammed with people, so you sit pretty tight. The cars that drive on the streets are often old cars from Europe. Sometimes they still have stickers and labels, also in German. But you can also take a taxi or an Okada, a motorcycle taxi.


Do you want to buy something? There are traders everywhere on the roadside, selling fruit, vegetables and drinking water. There are also board stalls where you can get small snacks. And there are a lot of small shops. On the other hand, you rarely come across a supermarket. They are run exclusively by Lebanese. You can find everything that is imported here, even Nutella. But it also costs three times as much… By the way, payment is made here with leone, that’s the name of the currency.

Unfortunately, the civil war is still omnipresent, even though it ended in 2001. But you can still see houses with bullet holes or buildings that have been completely destroyed. And you see people who are missing an arm or a leg.

Eating in Sierra Leone

What do you eat in Sierra Leone?

The main food in Sierra Leone is rice. It is eaten twice a day. There is also meat or vegetables that are cooked in a sauce. You can find a recipe for rice with beef in the participation tip ! Such a dish is also called jollof rice.

One particularly likes to eat stews (stew). The basis for this is meat or fish and various vegetables. It is seasoned with cashew nuts or peanuts and also with chopped cassava leaves. These are often used in Sierra Leone cuisine. There are also vegetables. Onions, tomatoes, okra pods and aubergines are used in the kitchen. Rice, sweet potatoes or cassava are also often served as an accompaniment to the stew.

Fruit grows in abundance here and is sold on every street corner: bananas, guavas, mangoes, pineapples and much more.

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