06 January 2012

[yele] En route to Africa's 'diamond in the rough'

"What, you're going to Sierra Leone?"
"What is Sierra Leone?"
"Isn't that in South America?  Wait, it isn't ... above Brazil or something?"
"Thank you for the information, miss, but what country is Sierra Leone in?  I will need the country name, not the city."

Above are some of the sample questions and reactions I've received recently.  For starters, Sierra Leone is a small country in West Africa:

(not the best map, but something)

Most people know only of its diamonds (where the term "blood diamond" comes from), but there's more to it than that.  I'm traveling there for 3 weeks with the e-Luma team - or some of these people:

to build a community development center bringing together merchants in a new marketplace, but also to distribute electricity and provide entrepreneurship training.  We're starting the first phase of the project, or the "proof of concept" to house 8-10 merchants in recycled shipping containers.

Gotta go catch my flight, but more soon!

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