#Conundrum, #KamandaKoroma, #landmark, #love, #poem, #poetry, #sierra-leone, #sierra-leone literature, #SierraLeone, #the human-condition, #thoughts, Blogger, Blogging

Blogging from Sierra Leone: The ‘Why’.


There are millions of narratives online about people and their stories, mostly as strangers without meeting each other we connect with these experiences as we find ourselves relating to them. The intricate nature of human existence is the simple truth that in our differences we notice familiar things that brings us to the earthy truth that we are but just a singular race.

Every human has a story to tell and it’s no wonder in this day and age why blogging holds such a strong allure. Strangely the idea to create a blog to post my poems, articles and ramblings came not from me , but from my cousin, Ibrahim Jalloh (R I P).I had shared a piece via WhatsApp to him and after reading, he remarked that it would be a great idea to have a platform to air out my writings.

In his words he said, ”Kamanda, you have to save your writings and keep them so that they can be a moment in time when you had these thoughts. After all, even if no one reads them, they will always live”. These words rang true, Ibrahim always did have a penchant to say the rights things in a modest way.

Naturally I had some misgivings about the whole idea out of fear of internet trolls and another from the insecure idea that I thought my writings weren’t good enough. I slept on his advice. Several days later I set up a WordPress account and the rest as they say is history.

Blogging from Sierra Leone is not an easy feat. For starters, the internet penetration in the country is relatively low, and the data charges are somehow steep. Less than 10% of Sierra Leone’s approximately 7 million citizens utilize any social media tool and of that number the vast majority use Facebook and the cross platform app WhatsApp the most.

The reality is if you intend to tell the Sierra Leonean story via blogging, you come to terms with the stark truth that your countrymen will most likely not be a huge chunk of your audience. This realization alone is enough to deter many, I have known many fellow writers who started off writing on WordPress or Blogspot only to abandon it due to lack of instantaneous followers. Some chose to stick to Facebook blogging with the same recycled audience and recycled feedback.

I was tempted to take the easy route, but I did not. It dawned on me slowly that it would be better to grow an organic following from complete strangers and also from people I knew who would click my WordPress blog link to let my writing speak for itself. I held the firm belief that if I had to evolve from the cocoon of familiarity of the usual audience feedback that my Facebook posts garnered, I would be stuck in an endless loop, and what I craved was growth along with a bigger platform to tell my stories.

It has been almost two years now and I am approaching 500 followers. Through it all I have learnt some vital lessons. Blogging like any art form requires dedication. You have to put in the work to connect with your audience. The sooner you realise that the quality of your content will boost or reduce the feedback you get, the wiser you will become.

There is nothing I appreciate more than the feedback from readers and fellow bloggers, every comment or a like indicates that someone, somewhere took their time to read what I had to offer and leave a response. On some days as a dabbling writer that is the only thing we require, it’s less about a thirst for the spotlight and more about appreciation that comes with understanding. Blogging brings you closer with the art of others that gives you the necessary push that also stimulates the growth of your own art.

I can say without an iota of doubt that my writing has improved because I have encountered sound writers on this WordPress platform who have directly or indirectly influenced me with their brilliance and simplicity in tackling complex issues.

Blogging instills in you the confidence to air out what you have been stifling. The relief that such an outlet offers is priceless. To tackle the social ills of a nation on a broad expanse of issues and proffer solutions. Every complimentary feedback I receive motivates me to do more and tell our stories.

To every other Sierra Leonean blogger out there, keep doing you. Tell your story.

I will keep on blogging and sharing my experiences, as a voice from the western side of my continent, and let our stories be part of the album of the playlist of the myriad online stories written by people from around the globe.

In the words of Marco Koroma,

“Impact is greater than clout”.

#Conundrum

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Prometheus As A Role Model.


I have always had a fascination with Greek mythology.

Of course for most the pantheon of Olympian deities hold sway, yet for me the primordial Titan, Prometheus held an unwavering respect in my mind. Here was a being who sided against his kind, chose to fight on the side of Zeus and then went on to defy the orders of the mighty thunderbolt fiend by giving fire to mankind.

This is not a piece on Greek myths, I would love to go give my take on all the other many colourful beings that adorn the pages of Hellenistic literature, but that should be reserved for another time and in a different post.

Prometheus was the first progressive thinker who rooted for the underdog and gave them tools for self-improvement. The other unique trait he possessed was his altruism as opposed to other beings who held a manipulative marionette-esque relationship with their inferiors. He never asked for anything in return, all he wanted was the enlightenment of those he assisted.

It is easy for one to cast away or discard the character of Prometheus as an ancient story or a mere representation of mankind’s persistence on the quest for progress.

The truth is Prometheus was an unsung hero who did a lot behind the scenes but was hardly ever acknowledged during his existence by those he did it for. Whether it was due to the fact he was always in the background, non-assuming yet aiding, he was hardly ever hailed.

Growing up in Sierra Leone, I had a Prometheus in the form of my maternal Grandpa. I think I began the process of receiving my proverbial fire of enlightenment when I was between the ages of 5-6. I was playing in his library, flipping the pages of a rather thick book. Of course to a young lad, a book without pictures was not worth my time, so naturally I must have asked him for one with images. He peered at me through his thick lens, and remarked with a chuckle that the words were filled with images and adventures to last me multiple lifetimes, thus commenced my delving into the world of books.

Overtime my grandpa would gift me with books which I would read at home and then discuss with him later. He was never imposing as these sessions were quite interactive.

Grandpa always strived to create a platform for me to be confident to state my opinions. He would then state his position clearly whilst treading and touching on the areas I missed with a masterful stroke. My young mind imbibed it all.

He had a wry sense of humour and loud echoing laughter.

Grandpa Morlai Alhassan B Kamara.
Grandpa Morlai Alhassan B Kamara

Naturally, I had an advantage when I started grade school. I hail from a side of the world where rote learning is the norm and even though I attended a top class private school that had relatively much higher standards than most in the country, my intelligence bloomed through the nurturing of my Grandpa. It was obvious from the get go that non interactive teachers bore me. I adapted to the reality of the limiting nature of the school system.

I was gifted by my grandpa with a 16 volume Harver’s Junior World Encyclopedia in November, 2000 after my first report card came through with exceptionally good grades. This become a tradition between me and my grandpa throughout his life.

Volume 4 of the 16 set Encyclopedia I received in November, 2000.
Handwritten note and seal of Grandpa

As we get older, it is arguable to some that it is easy to somehow forget or ignore the contributions certain people make to our lives from behind the scenes.

We replace these people with the rich, popular and successful as role models.

There is a certain novelty to the allure of fame but we should never let go of the fire bringers, the Geppettos’ in our lives who spark the flames within us. In a world that sets more store on material gain over honest meaningful contribution, there is a duty on us all to acknowledge these heroes who contribute to us from behind the scenes.

‘Inspiring and never taking credit’ as Drake put it.

My grandfather passed away on the 12th of December, 2009.

To this day, I still get the ‘human Wikipedia’ jokes because of my penchant in knowing things. With age comes experience and maturity coupled with the realization that the legacy of my grandpa should be passed on.

It is necessity to be mentors to those that require it without imposing.

To aid without manipulating.

I end with a poem.

The calm.

The quiet.

The inspiring.

Behind the scenes, forging.

Individuals polished from bronze to gold.

Humble alchemists.

Molds shaped from clay to breathing figures.

In the dark, unseen like the abyss but higher and brighter than Helios’s chariot.

Sanseis.

Mentors.

The unsung heroes.

Who give all and ask for naught.

And remain silent in the hopes to see,

Phoenix reborn from ash

Caterpillars transforming to iridescent butterflies

Coals to polished diamonds

Seeding the star ways with future constellations to evade black holes

Titular guardians and not marionettes.

To the Geppettos’ over the Strombolis’.

Prometheus.

We don’t say thank you enough.

RIP Morlai B. Alhassan Kamara.

#Conundrum

#landmark, #sierra-leone, Uncategorized

Cape Sierra Leone Lighthouse


Built in 1812 by the British, during their colonial occupation days in Sierra Leone as a beacon for sea vessels to shore. The Cape Sierra Lighthouse is one of the historical landmarks found in Freetown and naturally doubles as a great tourist destination and a site for romantic couples.

Located at the tip of Aberdeen, its boasts a serene view of the coastal surrounding and picturesque evening sunsets.

Photography by Craig ‘Figo’ Sesay.

Cape Sierra Lighthouse…Photography by Craig ‘Figo’ Sesay