After weeks of mental and physical preparation, I have finally arrived in Sierra Leone. My Kiva Fellowship brings me to Salone Microfinance Trust (heretofore referred to as “SMT”). Over the next few months, I will share on-the-ground insight of Sierra Leone, educate on SMT’s business model and convey stories about SMT’s wonderful employees. But first, I’d like to share a story about my arrival to Makeni.
I can immediately feel comfortable in any setting when music becomes the topic of conversation. Upon arrival to my apartment in Makeni , I was greeted by Tunkara, Ibrahim and Sheka – all SMT employees or helpers. As soon as they saw I had brought a guitar with me, I knew I had struck a chord (pun intended) with my new friends and colleagues.
Within minutes, I was teaching Ibrahim (SMT’s Kiva Coordinator) how to hold the guitar and play a C-to-G-to-C chord progression. By the end of the Fellowship, I promise him, I’ll teach him how to play one of his favorites – Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” Meanwhile, Tunkara (SMT’s Senior Finance Officer) was flipping through my copy of the recent Rolling Stone. After discussing Alicia Key’s beauty and Akon’s falsetto crooning abilities, we concluded (with a big laugh) that Tupac was dead.
The people of Sierra Leone have all made me feel very welcome this week. They’ve helped me overcome any anxieties associated with being in a very foreign place. It is clear now that, as Mr. Marley eloquently sang, “everything’s gonna be alright, everything’s gonna be alright…”
Adam is a member of Kiva Fellows Class 6. When he’s not sweating profusely and being eaten by mosquitoes while sleeping, he can be found writing journals on Sierra Leonean borrowers or promoting his Kiva Lending Team, “Sierra Leone Supporters.”/>