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Adonkia, Sierra Leone

Who we are

Adonkia (pronounced kind of like ‘I don’t care’) consists of three villages that have merged over time: Bango Farm, Baima Dodo and Angola.  While Adonkia is now large, this wasn’t always the case! It used to have the nickname “one street” when there was a single road and ten houses.

Here in Adonkia, the majority of us eke out our living mining stones, fishing, burning coal, through petty trading, small-scale agriculture, gara tie dying, hair dressing, stone masonry, welding, tailoring and selling fish.  Many of us in Adonkia are discouraged by lack of work!

However, while we are discouraged by the lack of work, we are proud of our positive attitude.

Many of us feel the pang of our poverty keenly because our community is also comprised of the elite of Sierra Leone. Some people in our community are moneyed, enjoy good infrastructure, water, electricity and lovely homes.  Many of Freetown’s politicians, lawyers and doctors live in our (large) community. We are happy for their success, but wish it for all -- and wish that some people's comfort didn't come at such great cost to us. People want to live here – and that means the forest is turning into houses. Land-grabbing is a serious issue and we are very concerned about it.

We are Temne, Mende, Sherbro, Mandingo and Fullah.

History

Adonkia was founded first by a man named Pa Donkeh, a Sherbro fisher.  Adonkia means “where is this?”  in Sherbro. After being settled by Sherbro fishers, a wave of Susu arrived and then a wave of Ghanians in the 18th century (from the Popo tribe).  At that time the Ghanaians set up Bango Farm, in remembrance of their own town “Bango” in Ghana.

Our heroes: Mama Sally Thorpe and Pa Lavay Bai Bangura contributed to building our church and the school. We’re also grateful to Abu Bakarr Kargbo and Joseph Klavay who have committed themselves to bringing development to Adonkia. Pa Momody Sesay provided land for the mosque and Pa Aruna Kamara provided land for our Mosque. Pa Momodu Sesay encouraged fishing activities in order to encourage and help the Ghanaians in our community settle.

While, like most Sierra Leoneans, we are eager for development, development has brought some ruin to our community. Many of us are dismayed by the destruction of our beach – which was once long and lovely and has since been destroyed by sand-mining activities.  Our swamp land (for agriculture) has become salty and much of our forest vegetation has been lost due to land grabbing. It’s a shame that the very things that made people want to live in Adonkia have been destroyed in order to make homes.

Current Attractions

We have plenty of places for guests to stay in Adonkia.

While we cannot offer you pristine beaches as many places along the coast can, we invite you to come to Adonkia to see the kind of damage caused by over-extraction of resources and unplanned settlement. Come see the threat of deoforestion on the Western Area Peninsula Forest.

We are still fishing, and would be glad to show you how! We also have a lot to sell in Adonkia – come here to get a dress made, to buy a carving or to relax in a guest house.

If you’re looking for a storyteller, ask for Liza King.

And we can dance!  Ask us about the “44 Mende,” a group that dances us into the new year and through Christmas and during the other festive seasons.  We sing and dance and beat drums and dress in different costumes with different masks. We cook and drink local gin and wine. We’d love you to come dance and celebrate with us. And tip a glass with us. Our dance group can also be hired for special occasions.

If you came today, we’d show you Bango Farm, St. John Church, the cemetery and we’d take you up the mountain for a hike. Come and explore.

Potential Attractions

We are interested in developing a home-stay program.

Having a cultural centre could mean something positive for our community and it could also mean we would have a place for our performers to dance.

We’re interested in developing a fish farm and a forest walk.

Community Needs

We would like to have more job facilities.
We want more educational centres.
We want to be able to help the women in our community (find work, stay healthy etc).
We deeply would like to see the standard of our housing improve.
We would like to be able to put a stop to sand mining and land grabbing!
Many of us define ourselves by our lack of rights right now – few job opportunities and no market with a large population! We want rights!

With a population such as ours, many of us feel that setting up a large company in our community could be very good for us, for our local economy.

How to Contact us

As of 2011, Headman Albert G Levay (088 807 066); Chairlady Fatmata Kargbo (088 963 127); Youth Leader Henry Levay (088 921 832); Village Secretary Abubakar Tejan Jalloh (088 703 786).

We have a community tourism development team, so please make sure to speak with us if you have any questions or concerns or ideas or are interested in supporting our community.

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