No wonder Sierra Leone has been bottom of the United Nations Development index since 1985 and to date.
Poverty has been troubling the country’s growth and its people. One continues to ask the question: why is it that a country endowed with wealth and has no business to be poor but there are people who are living in most deplorable conditions. One shocking area is the Bomeh community.
Bomeh is Freetown’s largest dumping site, and it is unbelievable that there is a settlement of over 500 houses with close to 2,000 people naming the area the Culvert Community.
It was a shock when Awoko visited the community over the weekend. Despite the incessant smoke from the burning of garbage, flies, stench and the looming environmental disaster threat coupled with the poor health environment, the people living at Bomeh seem to cope.
There are two running taps, one is free and the other is pre-paid but the people utilize the unpaid tap. Also, the sanitary condition is beyond description.
With no school and health centre, many of the children do not know the door of a school only to be seen scampering around. When they are sick only God helps them.
The youths and some elderly find employment at Bomeh for Le 150,000 which they complained was not enough to take care of their families.
Bomeh or Culvert Community does not have a rest of heart season. During the rains residents say the place resembles a red sea forcing them to evacuate and during the dries, the discomfort from the burning of garbage, the mosquitoes and the dirt itself is indescribable.
Collins Thomas has worked at Bomeh for ten years and is also resident at Bomeh. He told Awoko that they lived in that area out of their own volition as they did not have a decent place to live.
He expressed fear of the looming danger of the hanging stones surrounding the settlement and also of the health hazards.
The community chief Pa Alimamy Ototorkor Dumbuya also explained that they were living in constant fear as the cutting hills posed serious threats.
He said the Disaster Management Team and Red Cross had advised them on protection.
The chief recommended that Bomeh be relocated to an isolated area, citing the discomfort it created for the Kissy Community.
Asked why they should not leave the area because of the inhabitable environment, he answered: “to us we are satisfied living here. Look now, there are over 500 houses but where are we going to be re-located with the problems of acquiring lands.”
What the chief preferred to his community is “instead of being relocated, let government come with development for us and NGOs to help us with schools and health centre.