The exodus (movement) of people from the hinterland (rural areas) to urban cities has left many people squeezing on every available space at the edge of the city to reside, so that they gain access to greener pastures and improve their conditions of living. But residents of Susan’s bay in Freetown are living a miserable life.
Freetown is a metropolitan city in Sierra Leone with a population of over 1 million people and the number is expected to increase to absorb more people who are now migrating from the rural areas for the city, due to abject hunger and poverty and lack of basic infrastructures like social centers and income generating activities.
Susan’s bay is situated on the edge of the hills of central Freetown constituency 107 overlooking the mighty ocean with over 50,000 inhabitants, sky-scrapers, warehouses merchandise stores and community markets surrounds a community that lacks safe drinking water, toilet facilities and a community center, despite living among the rich and the highest seat of government in Sierra Leone.
This press visited one of the many slums in Freetown to investigate how ordinary slum dwellers are making ends meet, amidst poverty, waste sewage, and pigs all living together and fighting for survival to maintain existence, as the global crisis continue to hit Sierra Leone and the world over.
Residents of Susan’s bay community are struggling day by day to improve their community and also build a generation of better future leaders of this country. The locality is stretched with complexities from one storey step to the other, petty traders seated with their wares close to the street, as sewage passes by with the stench of feaces and dirt that have been deposited from the central part of the city.
Market women aggressively advertise their goods while their children tote coldwater and plastic bags to sell, around the Fisher street market and Malama Thomas Street which is densely populated as buyers and sellers continually try to convince each other about the worth of goods.
Most of the housing structures at Susan’s bay are built with corrugated irons and sticks with an artificial banking of the sea with piles of dirt, to enable residents grab a space, so that they can construct a make shift structure to house six to ten people.
a resident confirmed to this press that, living in the slum is like living in the jungle, flies and mosquitoes are our permanent friends and neighbors day in day out.
Youths and children face the brunt of the miserable condition the people are living in
At Susan’s bay pigs and scavengers fight each other to collect waste deposits.
The Secretary General of the Stevedore Development Organization at Susan Bay Mohamed Lamin Turay disclosed that, the people living here are vulnerable to all types of hunger and disease.
Lamin lamented, “most of the people living at Susan’s bay are low income earners and their lives are miserable in the slums, no safe drinking water, electricity, hospital and sanitation is in a deplorable state.”
He disclosed that they have acquired land to construct social facilities adding that government and NGO support is what is lacking in their community to improve their living standards.
NRA, Police and the Navy wing of RSLAF are deployed at Susan’s bay to protect lives and properties, but they are also involved in the collection of taxes and other revenues for the docking of wooden boats traveling from Freetown to Conakry.
The government is however generating revenues from the community, but most of the people are living in abject hunger and poverty.
A cross section of youths besieged our reporter during an interview to only highlight their disappointment and frustration with authorities for not doing anything to improve their standard of living as they continue to suffer in their country of birth.
Meanwhile, though the people living at Susan’s bay are struggling with their lives a humanitarian organization with funds from the World Bank is currently constructing four showers and eight laundry sites at Susan’s bay to ease their constraints in collaboration with Susan’s bay Youth Development organization, the Zone 6 community chairman Alhassan Kamara told this press at the project site.
By Saidu Bah