Juxtapositions & Transpositions

Freetown - Bay 2Brussels Bridge Sculpture 1Freetown - Bay 3

So like I said in the last entry, I’m in a place now where I will be a bit too busy and too sensitive about anything I see or do to want to post much in this…but I did pull some shots off my camera this morning and realized what an interesting juxtaposition there is between the photos I took while in Brussels for the introductory training about Ebola response, and the photos I took while here in Sierra Leone: and most of these shots were taken within the space of one week. So I’ve alternated shots in this entry – mostly because my friends and family have been curious what it looks like here, and all you find on the general media are shots of boots drying or people dressed in their PPEs. But meantime, of course, in a country of 5 or 6 million where (according to the latest UN figures) there have been 1500 confirmed deaths out of the 5235 total cases they report now), life does continue in the streets and homes of Sierra Leone, with all the warmth and smiles, play and hustle you’d expect, in amongst the reasonable concerns about family health and all the other daily cares and struggles, and of course sadness at the loss of so many in the communities and families already. (Side note: I think everyone acknowledges those numbers are probably lower than reality because of unreported cases etc.)Old Building & Field Brussels Port

Kailahun Sunset

I also, while in Brussels, fell in love with a little run-down brick building just next to the training site for MSF, and how the rising sun warmed its bricks each morning as I walked into the site for training. (Look closely & you’ll see the MSF flag in the background on the wide-angle shot; you’ll also see my self-shadow-portrait in each.) I’m sorry that I’ve not gotten out more with my camera – I hope before I leave to do so, and perhaps engage in my usual fun pastime of sharing some of the faces of colleagues and people-on-the-street the way I usually do on assignments in (for me, and maybe you) new places. For now, I can only offer a small window to both Brussels and two towns in Sierra Leone: Kailahun, way out east; and Freetown, way out west — Kailhun nestled in its lovely lush green hills, and Freetown graced by dramatic bays and hills on all sides, and especially lovely at night when the town’s lights glitter like jewels strung up the hillsides. OK, yes, Freetown is also a bit too crowded and hustly-bustly, honk-happy and loud for me…and many of the streets are mighty muddy, rocky, bumpy. And maybe we should all pause to consider a world in which two national capitals can look so different, when the countries in question probably have access to a similar set of foundational natural and human resources…just sayin’, don’t ya know… All ye students of the human condition, go consider that juxtaposition and how it squares with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights‘ statement that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Peace, out, and remember this blog be very personal and in no way representative of anyone’s ideas or views but my very own.

Brussels Bridge Sculpture 2Freetown - Bay 1Abandoned Building Brussels PortPaul in Kailahun

Paul in Kailahun 2

2 responses

  1. Stephen Brockmann

    Hi Paul, well actually the little churchey brick building actually seems to me like it could be in a lot of other places besides Brussels–perhaps even in Sierra Leone. What do I know? At any rate, the lake there in Freetown looks rather nice! The Kailahun pictures do like rather jungley, though! Keep up the good work, and stay safe!

    November 2, 2014 at 07:07

  2. Rosa Auat

    I just comeback from Brussels…maybe we cross each other?

    November 2, 2014 at 10:35

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