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Sierra Leone Trip January 2011 - Greg Valerio
Sierra Leone is apparently one of the poorest countries in the world. Definitions of poverty of course vary dramatically from the rather spurious measure of GDP per capita (gross domestic product per head) of which Sierra Leone is ranked 175 out of 182 at $804 USD income per head per annum, to the rather romantic notion of the simple peasant egalitarianism sharing all things in common and with a deep connection to the land. Poverty in my understanding is all of these things and much more. It has a deeply sinister face that wields the cruelest stick with which it beats its subjects, the stick of ‘hopelessness’. In its purest form, its spiritual essence, poverty is the destruction of hope. It is the robbing of humanity of a tomorrow. With no tomorrow, their is no future, with no future there can be purpose and people perish for a lack of hope. As I witnessed on this Fairmining trip to Sierra Leone. The toil, the stress, the pounding of flesh and muscle under the scorching heat of a Lake Sonfon sun, as the gold diggers move tonnes of earth to extract carat weights (0.2g) of gold for Le20,000 ($4.50 USD) per …