Fun and Games

Early in the evening when time allows, I enjoy walking around the Aberdeen neighborhood near my house.  By 5 or 6 pm most nights, adults are sitting outside their homes, listening to the radio, chatting, eating a meal or otherwise passing the time.   Women are often gathered together plaiting each other’s hair. Wherever I walk,   I always encounter  children playing in the dusty streets, and youth engaged in sports.

Brothers at the beach.

Imagine a world not dominated by TV, video games, electronic gadgets and  expensive toys and you can begin to imagine life in Sierra Leone.   Imagine such a world  and you might imagine a world shaped by an appreciation of both simple pleasures and simple treasures.

Draughts is a commonly played board game.

Throughout Sierra Leone, playing and discussing football (soccer) is probably the dominant leisure time activity.  In Freetown,  every neighborhood has a football pitch,  and there are games at the beach every day of the week.  Although daily life here is physically demanding, physical fitness is nonetheless a preoccupation for many young people.   On Sunday mornings in Freetown the streets are filled with people out for a run, and I am seeing serious cyclists more and more on the outlying roads.  Basketball and volleyball are also popular in some circles.

I don't often see girls or women playing football, perhaps because they are busy cooking and caring for the home! This game was part of a recent Lutheran Youth Organization retreat.

I have particularly enjoyed watching children at play in Sierra Leone, and seeing their creativity and skill.

These kids are playing a version of football using batteries, cigarrette boxes, and bottle caps.

Home made toy: sticks and metal.

This is a typical street scene: children carrying things. Here too is , another common homemade toy: a wheel and stick , a toy known as "gig" in krio and mende.. I am told that mothers will sometimes send their sons to the market with this "toy because that way, the boy has to run straight down the road and can't dawdle or get distracted.

This particular boy was extremely quick and very proficient. Kids compete to see who is fastest and most skilled at moving the wheel.

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3 responses to “Fun and Games

  1. jumpingpolarbear

    That is how it used to be in the good old days :). Internet is a good thing, but only if you use it right.

  2. Kate, I am so much going to miss your slices of love and life in Sierra Leone. Thank you for sharing your mission with all of us. It will always be special.

  3. We have the same wheel toy in our Museum school which teaches as if it is 1853. We always seem to feel people in Africa should learn from us but we have so much to learn from them.

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