Awoko newspaper

During summer 2016 I was an intern with Awoko, an independent newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone. This opportunity was made possible by the Univeristy of Washington’s Foreign Intrigue journalism program, which sends a handful of students to intern with a newspaper abroad each summer.

To read more about about my experiences reporting and living in Freetown, check out the blog I created, View from Salone. I was also interviewed by the UW Communication department about my experience here. You can read some of my pieces for Awoko newspaper below. I wrote both news stories and regular columns.

News and features:

Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria speaks at State House

“No support is too much”: Civil society employee donates to Ebola orphanage
To celebrate her birthday on 23rd July, 2016, ten-year-old Hanan dressed up as Elsa from Frozen. But instead of just having a party with wealthy and middle class peers as she’d done in the past, her father Ibrahim Tommy took her to an orphanage for children orphaned by Ebola.

Seaweed is overtaking Lumley beach, driving away tourism
Officials say the seaweed is an environmental problem, and threatens to drive away tourist from one of the country’s premier destinations for visitors.

Tacugama Sanctuary educates local people to help save chimpanzees
Twenty-one years later, Tacugama’s mission has expanded beyond just providing safe rehabilitation for the 75 rescued chimps who live there. The focus is now on protecting the almost 6,000 chimps who live in the Western Area Peninsula National Park from extinction.

With more floods expected in Freetown, slum dwellers fear relocation
This year, meteorologists have predicted the rains will be heavier than usual. But just as much to blame are poor drainage systems and the rampant deforestation to build more houses that increasingly erodes the hills above Freetown

Officials celebrate Ebola vaccine trials
The hope is that the study will yield useful information about the efficacy of a a viable vaccine for Ebola


Elections in Lunsar, Part 1
Betty and Ophaniel Gooding, my other colleague, found my worries amusing. “Nothing will happen to you  you’re with us!” they reassured me  although they couldn’t help poking fun at my anxiousness. “Our next stop is the Gaza strip,” Ophaniel joked

Elections in Lunsar, Part 2
I got to see the complexities and struggles of democracy in Sierra Leone up close on Saturday, on a trip with Awoko reporters Betty Milton and Ophaniel Gooding to Lunsar in the north of the country

Belief in black magic is the only thing that gives it power
On Tuesday, I sat in the Freetown High Court for less than an hour, then helped write a few paragraphs for the newspaper on what has to be the strangest and most disturbing story I’ve reported on so far in my still very short journalism career

Does Sierra Leone really need oil?
It was my first day in the Sierra Leone Parliament, and though I was just getting used to all the desk pounding, the enthusiasm for oil in the room was striking

Exploring Freetown
I never know what I’ll find when I turn a corner in Freetown. It’s unlike any city I’ve been to, and I’ve unexpectedly stumbled on so many things just walking around.

Repeal Salone’s criminal libel laws
Unlike my colleagues at Awoko, us American journalism students don’t have to work under the shadow of Sierra Leone’s cruel criminal libel laws, which should have no place in a modern democracy

Witnessing Salone’s medical crisis
Before I came to Sierra Leone, I knew medical facilities are und-erequipped and supplies inadequate. But it’s one thing to know this, and another to see what it actually looks like

America’s presidential election could be a catastrophe for Salone and the world
I’m across an ocean from the United States, and yet there’s no escape from America’s upcoming presidential elections. Not that I would want to escape. The stakes are too high

There’s more rotten than just chicken
A week and a half ago, authorities poured a 40-foot container of rotten imported Brazilian chicken into Bormeh dump. According to local news, so many people were drawn to the dump to dig up the chicken that police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them

A visit to Kroo Bay slum
Turn off the paved downhill road leading to Kroo Bay slum, and you enter a city within a city, only without streets. Instead there are narrow walkways between the tin-roofed houses, flooded by growing puddles of brown water