Running along the beach, as if my feet seemed to suggest, that it would be able to run away from the waves every ten second eating away at the sand beneath them, is a good place to appreciate life. With the sun setting over the wet horizon, it becomes obvious why so many Africans used to worship the elements of nature. They are indeed mighty, beautiful, and full of life – giving life, taking lives without ever asking.
I was running away from Samsoes. Not really that there was much reason for running away, but this place offers views – such as sunsets over the sea and the backdrop mountains – so splendid, that it seems natural to run towards it. With the waves caressing your feet.
The previous night Joseph (aka. Samsoe) had light a bonfire after serving the most delicious barbecued barracuda (it was seriously good) in an impressive effort to top the king-size lobster from the previous evening (for the royal sum of 60.000 Le (90 DKK) (for an entire lobster) and the barracuda at 25.000 Le (40 DKK)). There Joseph could tell the story of, how Lars Larsen had set up a hotel close by before the war. Therefore he had met some Danish tourists, which had all recommended him to go to the Danish island of Samsø. Many years later he made the trip, and deciding to name his own place (consisting of three bungalows at the beach) after it.
He and I later got to talk a little about politics. I’ve been noticing the strong presence of Chinese interests in Sierra Leone, which is to be considered as the natural consequence of “the new scramble for Africa” (the popular name for the phenomenon of the West and China battling over influence in and access to African resources). The newspapers (I managed to get hold of quite a stock of old ones in Makeni on a visit) often mentions Chinese prestige projects such as new railway construction (of course with an endstop in Farangbaya – a huge iron ore deposit) and even talks of a new airport, which should be located in Freetown itself.
As I tried asking Joseph, who he thought would fill the position as Sierra Leones closest allies for the coming years, he answered: “The British and the Americans because we can relate to them. We don’t like the Chinese – we only want to take their money”. That really leads me to think, that the greatest cultural diplomatic weapon down here is the Premier League. How should Chinese money compare with the joy these matches bring to the population?
I ended my visit at Samsoes promising, that I would be back in Juli, when my work in Masanga comes to an end. And with an accommodation price of 50.000 Le (75 DKK) the promise shouldn’t be a problem to fulfil.