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Tissana, Sierra Leone

Who we are

Originally a sub-village of Russell, we are a small community with plenty of activity along the Yawri Bay. Many of us support ourselves by processing salt.  We also do farming and have swamp land (for agriculture). We have plenty of palm trees – so we process palm oil and tap palm wine (wine made from coconut juice). We sell vegetables and fruit, sea shells and oysters and we have weavers who sell what they make (mostly baskets). We also do sand mining.

We are predominantly Temne, Sherbro, Mende Susu and Creole.

Our cultural activities are also very important to us.  We have Poro, Bondo, Goboi and Jollay secret societies and perform many native cultural dances. We like doing things traditionally!

History

The first settlers here were Sherbro fishers and farmers who migrated from Shenge. They called our community Tissana which, in Sherbro, means “new town.” 

Our heroes: Mr Bureh and Mr Ali Dumbuya were instrumental in bringing a hospital to the village. The late Mr Blake and Mr. Alfred Thomas helped us to get a school in the village and Mr Adam Bangura provided the. The late Alfred Thomas also contributed a lot to our social development, by helping to build both a church and mosque.

Current Attractions

Our best storytellers are Abu Dumbuya and Joseph Palmer.

We are a very cultural village! We have a Goboi dance group. When we celebrate with the Goboi, the men beat drums and other native instruments and the women sing. The “Mask Devil” dances in the centre and we all dress in ashobi dress (which means we dress the same).  We can be hired to do cultural dances – not just by visitors but also by other communities.

We also process salt and palm oil and we’d be happy to show you or teach you how they are processed.

If learning to process salt and palm oil isn’t for you, we’d love to take you bird watching, take you fishing (for fish or shrimp) and show you our old board houses built by the Creoles)We also have a big foot mango, a special mango in the country.  Let us take you for a boat ride along the bay or, of course, you can just enjoy the beach.

Ask us where the river is, the ancient water well, where the best places for bird-watching are or where you can buy a basket.

Make sure that if you visit you are aware of the fact that we have secret society bushes (forest areas). These areas are only open to people who belong to the societies. If you’re wandering on your own, ask one of us to tell you where they are so you do not inadvertently stroll into these prohibited areas (They are usually indicated with a decorated stick with raffia or a white flag).

Come in the rainy season (June – September) and our women would be happy to teach you how to fish for shrimp.

Ask us to take you to Kai Konki (stone island). It is our libation area, where we go to honour our ancestors. For tourists interested in birds, migrating birds live on the island. According to our lore, there is fresh water in the island. A person can take one cup of water, but should not take more as two cups will turn the water salty.

Potential Attractions

There is no guest house in our community, though we are interested in having one.
We’d like to develop home stays.
We would like to construct beach huts.
We’d like to improve our ability to facilitate bird watching, which was a major activity here before tourism slowed due to the war.
We’d like to have beach restaurant.

Tourists used to camp on our beach – and they’re welcome to do so again! Come and camp and tell us how we can make your camping experience even better!

Community Needs

We are really concerned about joblessness.
We want to improve our farming activities.
We’d like to have more cultural festivals and revive our cultural dances.
We’d like a good road network.
We would really like assistance with our children and their education.
We want to improve our community centre.
We’d like electricity!
We want to make sure that fishing continues as a way of life for us.
We want to protect our mosque and church.
We would like better access to clean and adequate water and better protection from heavy winds.

We would like to see tourists coming to our village again! So come on over!

Contact us

(As of 2012) Headman: Sallieu SB Kamara (077 590 165); Chairlady: Emma Sesay (088 921 182); Chairman: Abu D Dumbuya; Secretary: Ishmael Bangura (088 152 119); Youth Leader: Ibrahim A Kamara (077 676 956).

You can also contact us through the River # 2 office or through the National Tourist Board.

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