The Road to
Not only famous for its fantastic name for wordplay, Bo is now being celebrated as Street Child's newest volunteer hub in Sierra Leone! Having been void of volunteers for the past few years, Street Child's main station for the South is now open for business...
To gather intel we caught up with Tim, our new volunteer coordinator in Bo (aka the Bo-ordinator). Apart from growing a superb new beard, Tim has recently been busy launching the programme, exploring the city's watering holes, and giving the compound a much-needed spring clean.
Tell us, Tim: why is Bo the hottest place to be right now for a Street Child volunteer?
It’s the young, vibrant heart of Sierra Leone with an eclectic mix of bars, diamond dealers and bustling clothes markets which means there’s something for everyone!
If you ever need a pick me up or a reminder of home, Bo is home to easily the best supermarkets in Sierra Leone and you’ll be able to grab a Cornetto, jar of Nutella or anything else you fancy from the centre of town.
Who are the main SCOSL (Street Child of Sierra Leone) players in Bo?
Ishaka is the Head of Southern Operations, who is super organised and on top of everything in Bo and further afield. Expect to see him everywhere, and if you ever want to do some exercise he’ll love taking you to his gym and introducing you to his mates.
John Bull is the Head of Eastern Operations and also one of the friendliest people you’ll meet. He’s a really clever man who will still take time out of his day to help you out, whether its organising your transport for a weekend trip to a national park or helping you understand how the Family Business Scheme runs.
Sylvester is the main Street Child driver and will come and chat to you every morning with a huge smile on his face. A massive fan of hip-hop - if you even whisper ‘Jay Z, 50 cent or Eminiem’ in his presence he’ll start blaring out his favourites hits from his car and asking whether you like Kanye West.
What's your typical evening in Bo?
Either lots of card games on the veranda, drinks and goat's meat at Havanas or going down to Valentinos to listen to some live West African hi-life. Our sofas are also incredibly comfortable to read in, however it’s also very easy to fall asleep in them!
Where is the best place to eat out, and what you order there?
There’s loads of Lebanese food around, shawarmas at Huri’s are a great lunch whilst the falafel wrap at Doha’s is great if you’re vegetarian. If you want a quick snack there are loads of stalls selling BBQed goat meat (though make sure they don’t put too much ‘peppeh’ on!!) or for something more substantial like Crain Crain (a leafy, meaty mush-type dish), then head to Havanas.
What is the compound's best feature?
Its huge! Because the compound has so much space and pretty high walls it can seem really peaceful at times, especially when you’re relaxing outside in the evening.
And it's murkiest?
There's only electricity available in the day time when the generator is on, but I find this just adds to the adventure of the place! People might also dislike the general lack of home comforts such as running water... You're in a developing country, what were you expecting?!
What are your top tips for volunteers coming to Bo?
Be ready to just go with the flow! The pace of things may take you by surprise when you first arrive in Bo. One minute you’ll be in the middle of a crazy, loud market with people hurrying round you, shouting at their friends. Next, you’ll be find yourself chatting to a member of parliament for an hour whilst you wait for your taxi driver to ask his friend whether it's okay to borrow his phone charger.