ABOUT SIERRA LEONE
HISTORY OF SIERRA LEONE
The official name of Sierra Leone is the Republic of Sierra Leone. It is on the Atlantic Ocean in West Africa, half the size of Illinois. It is bordered by Guinea in the north, Liberia in the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest. It has a tropical climate. It comprises three provinces and the Western Area, which are further divided into twelve districts.
Freetown the capital is the largest city and economic center. English is the official language, spoken at school, government administration and by the media. The coastal strip, nearly 100 kilometers long, is a swampy plain that includes the Sherbro island. Several rivers drain the inner tropical forest. The east plateau contains the country’s diamond mines.
The two largest, most widely spoken and most influential ethnic groups are the Mende and Temne peoples, with each comprising 30% of the population. Lokko, Sherbro, Limba, Sussu, Fulah, Kono and Krio are other important groups. The Krio – (the word derived from the English ‘Creole’ and several African languages), are descendants of African slaves freed in the 19th century who settled in Freetown. There is also an Arab minority.
Sierra Leone is a predominantly Muslim nation. Followers of Islam are estimated to comprise 60% of Sierra Leone’s population. Muslims predominate in all of the country’s three provinces, plus the Western Area. Those of African indigenous religion 30%, and those of Christianity 10%.
The Sierra Leone constitution provides for freedom of religion and the government generally protects this right and does not tolerate its abuse. Unlike many other African countries, the religious diversity of Sierra Leone has seldom led to conflict.
Education in Sierra Leone is offered in private and government sponsored schools, it is not compulsory. There are many schools for children from 5 to 12 years old, secondary schools that offers a seven-year program, technical institute and several vocational schools, trade centers and teachers-training colleges. The University of Sierra Leone (founded in 1827), Njala University College (1964), and the college of Medicine and Allied Health Science (1987). Sierra Leone’s literacy rate is lower than the average in West Africa and is among the lowest in the world.
Full name: Republic of Sierra Leone
Population: 7,207,000 million (UN, 2013)
Area: 71,740 sq. km (27,699 sq. miles)
Major languages: English, Krio (Creole language derived from English) and a range of African languages
Major religions: Traditional African religion, Islam, Christianity
Life expectancy: 55.2 years (men), 60.4 years (women) (UN),
Monetary unit: Leone
Main exports: Diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish
GNI per capita: US $630 (World Bank) 2015
Baiima, Mandu Chiefdom, Kailahun District, Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Baiima is about 240 miles from Freetown, the capital city. About 80% of the approximately 6,000 residents did not attend school. Ten years of civil war destroyed all the infrastructure of the town. The common language is “Mende” and this language is spoken by 31% of the entire population of Sierra Leone. Muslims account for 75 – 80% of the residents of Baiima.
There are 3 (small) elementary schools and one middle school. The average elementary school class size is between 60 and 70 students per class. About 80% of the residents did not attend school. There is one clinic mainly for maternity care. The major occupation is farming (non-mechanized) but the food from the farms can barely feed the farmers themselves. Rice, the staple food is imported. The average income is $250.00 per annum. About 60% of the residents are under 30 years of age.
There are no paved roads, no indoor plumbing, no electricity, and no shops to buy basic items. However, these people are very open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Sierra Leone Christian Mission established the Baiima Community Bible Church in October 2008.