Sunday, January 28, 2013 (Day 18)
Tribe Wanted, John Obey
The Saharan winds have been blowing like crazy today. This morning one of the big palm trees at Tribe Wanted was ripped out of the ground and blown down, and now all of us staying here tonight are being lashed with sand from the nearby beach. This is the velocity of wind you might expect in the Scottish Hebrides; not in coastal Sierra Leone.
It turns out that there is no space for me to stay at the academy and so, for the second time today, I find myself back at Tribe Wanted at John Obey - my home from home in Sierra Leone after Makeni.
"Do you realise that you have got an absolutely enormous spider on your shoulder?" two people ask me in unison, shortly after arriving. Without looking I flick off the unwanted Tarantula-sized spider to the ground, where it becomes the unwitting murder victim of two chickens.
It has not rained for even a second since I first arrived in Sierra Leone and so when I suggest that there is moisture in the air and it might rain, a couple of people chuckle to themselves. Moments later, the skies open and we are lashed with torrential rain as well as sand for a couple of minutes. It feels incredibly refreshing and wild. There is no electricity and every candle is blown out no matter how protected it is from the wind. This storm is tempestuous and menacing. Some of the locals tell me they haven't seen Harmattan winds as severe as this, at this time of the year, since they can remember; some of the crops have even been blighted by locusts blown in from God knows where. You could convince yourself that a nasty hurricane is coming in off the sea. Time for bed, me thinks.
More Than a Game joined The Collective and the Craig Bellamy Foundation in Sierra Leone for a seven-week voluntary placement in January 2013.