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"a meandering, blatantly uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid, pathetic life."

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Sierra Leone, Part 2 – Streets & People

April 09, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Two months in and I feel honoured to be able to visit a country like Sierra Leone. Since I last wrote about the country I have been on the streets more often and met many more people, been given the thumbs up with a cheer and been shouted at for taking photographs as I pass by. Whether it’s a cheer or a disgruntled yell there is always an underlying joviality, which every citizen that I have met to date naturally possesses. You only have to look around the streets to see this shining through.

Out in the community you are met with inquisitive eyes, happy smiling faces and cheerful heckles. As a soldier it feels strange to be met with such kindness and respect as opposed to the usual hostility I have experienced over the past decade. As a photographer - it bloody brilliant!

Bustling market stalls; loud music, car horns and crazy taxi bikes are just some of the things you will experience while out and about. I have seen street sellers carrying stacks of denim jeans on their heads and have been swarmed by children, attracted to the camera like bees to honey.

Sierra Leone is a colourful, beautiful, positive country. Here are its streets and People.

 

BIKES USED AS TAXIS WAIT FOR A FARE IN FRONT OF MARKET STALLS

BIKES USED AS TAXIS WAIT FOR A FARE IN FRONT OF MARKET STALLS

 

BIKES USED AS TAXIS WAIT FOR A FARE IN FRONT OF MARKET STALLS

BIKES USED AS TAXIS WAIT FOR A FARE IN FRONT OF MARKET STALLS

 

A MAN POINTS AT ME AND LAUGHS AS I TAKE HIS PHOTO

A MAN POINTS AT ME AND LAUGHS AS I TAKE HIS PHOTO

 

TWO MEN REPAIR A MOTORCYCLE

TWO MEN REPAIR A MOTORCYCLE

 

A POLICEMAN DIRECTS TRAFFIC ON A BUSY STREET NEAR FREETOWN

A POLICEMAN DIRECTS TRAFFIC ON A BUSY STREET NEAR FREETOWN

 

A MAN POINTING AT A POLICEMAN IN A BUSY MARKET PLACE. MOMENTS LATER THEY WERR ALL LAUGHING.

A MAN POINTING AT A POLICEMAN IN A BUSY MARKET PLACE. MOMENTS LATER THEY WERR ALL LAUGHING.

 

A POLICEMAN STOOD ON PATROL AT A BUSY MARKET PLACE

A POLICEMAN STOOD ON PATROL AT A BUSY MARKET PLACE

 

CHILDREN SWARM AND POSE FOR THE CAMERA WITHIN SECONDS OF SEEING ME

CHILDREN SWARM AND POSE FOR THE CAMERA WITHIN SECONDS OF SEEING ME

 

CHILDREN POUNCE TOWARDS THE CAMERA ON THE STREETS OF FREETOWN

CHILDREN POUNCE TOWARDS THE CAMERA ON THE STREETS OF FREETOWN

 

CHILDREN POSE FOR THE CAMERA

CHILDREN POSE FOR THE CAMERA

 

CHILDREN PLAY FOOTBALL AT THE SIDE OF A DIRT TRACK ROAD. THEY SPOT ME AND WAVE AT THE CAMERA.

CHILDREN PLAY FOOTBALL AT THE SIDE OF A DIRT TRACK ROAD. THEY SPOT ME AND WAVE AT THE CAMERA.

 

A CHILD CARRIES A SMALL WHEEL AND TIRE ACROSS A BUSY ROAD WHICH IS IN THE PROCESS OF BEING LAID

A CHILD CARRIES A SMALL WHEEL AND TIRE ACROSS A BUSY ROAD WHICH IS IN THE PROCESS OF BEING LAID

 

A GIRL IN A SCHOOL UNIFORM CROSSES A BUSY ROAD WHICH LEADS INTO FREETOWN

A GIRL IN A SCHOOL UNIFORM CROSSES A BUSY ROAD WHICH LEADS INTO FREETOWN

 

A MAN AND WOMAN PASS A BUSY MARKET ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD

A MAN AND WOMAN PASS A BUSY MARKET ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD

 

TWO WOMEN AND A YOUNG GIRL WAIT TO CROSS A BUSY ROAD. IN THE BACKGROUND A BUSY MARKET PLACE.

TWO WOMEN AND A YOUNG GIRL WAIT TO CROSS A BUSY ROAD. IN THE BACKGROUND A BUSY MARKET PLACE.

 

A MAN AND TWO WOMEN WAIT TO CROSS A BUSY ROAD. IN THE BACKGROUND A BUSY MARKET PLACE.

A MAN AND TWO WOMEN WAIT TO CROSS A BUSY ROAD. IN THE BACKGROUND A BUSY MARKET PLACE.

 

A WOMAN LOOKS STRAIGHT AT MY CAMERA AS WE DRIVE PAST LOCAL TAXI BIKES

A WOMAN LOOKS STRAIGHT AT MY CAMERA AS WE DRIVE PAST LOCAL TAXI BIKES

 

SHOPS AT STALLS LINING THE STREETS

SHOPS AND STALLS LINING THE STREETS

 

A WOMAN WALKING DOWN A STREET IN A GENERIC STREET SCENE

A WOMAN WALKING DOWN A STREET IN A GENERIC STREET SCENE

 

BRIGHT COLOURS OF BUSY MARKET STALLS BUSTLING WITH PEOPLE

BRIGHT COLOURS OF BUSY MARKET STALLS BUSTLING WITH PEOPLE

 

A STREET SELLER CARRYING A PARCEL OF DENIM JEANS ON HIS HEAD. THE SELLERS WALK THE STREETS SELLING THEIR GOODS.

A STREET SELLER CARRYING A PARCEL OF DENIM JEANS ON HIS HEAD

 

A STREET SELLER SHOWS THE GOODS HE HAS FOW SALE TO A MAN IN A YELLOW T-SHIRT

A STREET SELLER SHOWS THE GOODS HE HAS FOR SALE TO A MAN IN A YELLOW T-SHIRT

 

CONSTRUCTION WORKERS STOOD ON MAKESHIFT SCAFFOLDING

CONSTRUCTION WORKERS STOOD ON MAKESHIFT SCAFFOLDING

 

A MAN WEARS A HAT FASHIONED FROM A CEMENT BAG

A MAN WEARS A HAT FASHIONED FROM A CEMENT BAG

 

STAFF FROM ONE OF SIERRA LEONES EBOLA RESPONSE CENTRES POSE FOR A PHOTO

 

FOUR MEN SIT AT THE SIDE OF ONE OF FREETOWN'S MAIN ROADS. ONE LOOKS BACK AT THE CAMERA.

FOUR MEN SIT AT THE SIDE OF ONE OF FREETOWN'S MAIN ROADS. ONE LOOKS BACK AT THE CAMERA.

 

TWO MEN GLARE BACK AT ME AS I TAKE THEIR PHOTO. SECONDS LATER THEY WERE SMILING AND LAUGHING.

TWO MEN GLARE BACK AT ME AS I TAKE THEIR PHOTO. SECONDS LATER THEY WERE SMILING AND LAUGHING.

 


Sierra Leone

March 14, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I have been in Sierra Leone for a month and a half and during my time here I have travelled across the north and west of the country and met many people from various backgrounds, both civil and military. The country itself is beautiful with mountains and palm trees in the west and flatter sparser bush land further inland.

Despite its natural beauty in 2014 the country became the centre of attention across the globe as it was hit by an Ebola outbreak, which has killed over 3600 people to date.

What astonishes me is the people’s spirit and resolve to not only embrace the aid, which the international community has given, but also how they help their selves through social mobilisation in order to stand united in the battle against the disease. The countries infrastructure is not as robust as that of more developed countries, nor is the education system, but that does not mean they do not know what needs to be done.

The British Department for International Development (DfID), UK Aid, the British Military and other None Governmental Organisations (NGOs) may have set up treatment facilities and control measures but it is the local people who are doing all the real work. We the taxpayer and fundraisers have merely provided the platform and the launch pad on which to run operations to tackle the disease.

It must also be noted that the country is not only religious, but that an age-old spiritual culture runs deep within the veins of its people. This has lead to illegal burials and washing of infected bodies as part of the victim’s rights of passage. These practices are becoming less and less through education from NGOs, the government and religious leaders supported by the organisation FOCUS 1000.

The West African country gets its name from the hills that surround what is now Freetown, which in 1462 were named “Serra Lyoa”, or “Lion Mountains” by the Portuguese explorer Pedro de Cintra. The country covers over 27,699 square miles and has a population of over six million people with over one million of those living in the capital. The main religion is Islam followed by Christianity and unlike other parts of the world the two religions live and thrive together in harmony.

Sierra Leone is home to the third largest natural harbour in the world and the country has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base. It is also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, a major producer of gold, and has one of the world's largest deposits of rutile. Despite this natural wealth, 70% of its people live in poverty.

In the seventeenth century the British founded the Royal African Company establishing trading posts on the islands of Bunce and York and a century later over 40,000 slaves were returned to Freetown after the abolition of slavery in England.

The 90's brought the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel war that led to the intervention of the International Community led by the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). The war has been officially over since 2002 and the process of rebuilding Sierra Leone and re-establishing its failed institutions is currently underway.

 

TWO SIERRA LEONEAN FEMALES WALK PAST A SIGN WITH THE "STOP EBOLA" WRITTEN ON IT

TWO SIERRA LEONEAN FEMALES WALK PAST A SIGN DISPLAYING THE WORDS "STOP EBOLA"

 

A MAN WALKS PAST A NATIONAL YOUTH COALITION BANNER

A MAN WALKS PAST A NATIONAL YOUTH COALITION BANNER

 

A COUPLE SELL FRUIT IN FRONT OF A PAINTED WALL THAT SPORT THE WORDS "EBOLA STOPS WITH ME"

A COUPLE SELL FRUIT IN FRONT OF A PAINTED WALL DISPLAYING THE WORDS "EBOLA STOPS WITH ME"

 

A MAN WASHES HIS HANDS AT ONE OF THE MANY HAND WASH STATIONS DOTTED AROUND SIERRA LEONE

A MAN WASHES HIS HANDS AT ONE OF THE MANY HAND WASH STATIONS DOTTED AROUND SIERRA LEONE

 

A COUPLE OF YOUNG MALES GIVE A 'THUMBS UP' AS WE DRIVE PAST

A COUPLE OF YOUNG MALES GIVE A 'THUMBS UP' AS WE DRIVE PAST

 

A SMALL SHOP PAINTED WITH THE UNION FLAG

A SMALL SHOP PAINTED WITH THE UNION FLAG

 

THE HILLS BEHIND THE KERRY TOWN TREATMENT UNIT (KTTU)

 

A MAN AT THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IN FRONT OF PALM TREES

A MAN AT THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IN FRONT OF PALM TREES

 

A HUT DWARFED BY THE HILLS BEHIND

A HUT DWARFED BY THE HILLS BEHIND

 

A MAN PUSHES A BICYCLE PAST A GROUP OF HOUSES AND SHACKS

A MAN PUSHES A BICYCLE PAST A GROUP OF HOUSES AND SHACKS

 

PEOPLE QUEUE ON THE CORNER OF A STREET, A SMALL SHOP CAN BE SEEN PAINTED WITH A UNION FLAG

PEOPLE QUEUE ON THE CORNER OF A STREET, A SMALL SHOP CAN BE SEEN PAINTED WITH A UNION FLAG

 

A COUPLE OF SMALL BOYS PLAY FOOTBALL TOGETHER OUTSIDE OF A CHURCH

A COUPLE OF SMALL BOYS PLAY FOOTBALL TOGETHER OUTSIDE OF A CHURCH

 

THE SUNSET BACK LIGHTS THE DUST DOWN A ROAD OUTSIDE OF THE NATIONAL EBOLA RESPONSE CENTRE (NERC) IN FREETOWN

THE SUNSET BACK LIGHTS THE DUST DOWN A ROAD OUTSIDE OF THE NATIONAL EBOLA RESPONSE CENTRE (NERC) IN FREETOWN

 

THE WORDS "DO NOT KEEP SICK PERSON AT HOME IT COULD BE EBOLA" ARE PAINTED ON A BLUE TARPAULIN COVERED HUT BEHIND A GROUP OF WOMEN

THE WORDS "DO NOT KEEP SICK PERSON AT HOME IT COULD BE EBOLA" ARE PAINTED ON A BLUE TARPAULIN COVERED HUT BEHIND A GROUP OF WOMEN

 

ONE OF SIERRA LEONE'S RIVERS TAKEN FROM A BRIDGE

ONE OF SIERRA LEONE'S RIVERS TAKEN FROM A BRIDGE

 

A COUPLE OF YOUNG GIRLS CARRY A 'COOL BOX' TOGETHER

A COUPLE OF YOUNG GIRLS CARRY A 'COOL BOX' TOGETHER

 

CHILDREN PLAY FOOTBALL ON A BEACH IN FREETOWN

CHILDREN PLAY FOOTBALL ON A BEACH IN FREETOWN

 

AN AERIAL PHOTO OF LEICESTER IN FREETOWN

AN AERIAL PHOTO OF LEICESTER IN FREETOWN

 

CHILDREN CARRYING TUBS OF WATER FOR THEIR FAMILIES

CHILDREN CARRYING TUBS OF WATER FOR THEIR FAMILIES

 


Trooping the Colour 2014

June 18, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
Each year servicemen and women from the Foot Guards and Household Cavalry take part in the ceremonial custom of trooping the Colour. 2014 marks the turn of Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards who's Colour is made from crimson silk and carries 45 of the Regiment’s 77 Battle Honours ranging from 1680 to 1991. The Battle Honour of greatest importance to the Grenadiers is the battle of Waterloo in 1815.
 
The military ceremony dates back to around the seventeenth century when the Colours of the battalion were carried down the ranks in battle so that they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers. 
 
Since 1748 the parade has marked the Sovereign's official birthday and from the reign of Edward VII onwards, the Sovereign has taken the salute in person at Trooping the Colour.
 
 
The ceremony begins with Her Majesty The Queen receiving a Royal salute before personally carrying out an inspection of the troops.

Her Majesty The Queen inspects her troops at the Trooping the Colour parade 2014

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN INSPECTS HER TROOPS

 

Her Majesty the Queen inspects her troops at the Trooping the Colour parade 2014

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN INSPECTS HER TROOPS

 

The massed bands performing a musical 'troop' playing military music before the Colour is trooped through the ranks.

Senior Drum Major Colour Sergeant Scott Fitzgerald conducts the Foot Guards Massed Band

THE FOOT GUARDS MASSED BAND CONDUCTED BY SENIOR DRUM MAJOR COLOUR SERGEANT SCOT FITZGERALD

 

The Foot Guards Massed Band

THE FOOT GUARDS MASSED BANDS PLAY

 

The Colours being trooped by the Grenadier Guards

THE COLOURS OF THE GRENADIER GUARDS ARE TROOPED THROUGH THE RANKS

 

The Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry then march past Her Majesty followed by The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery.

Foot Guards march past the crowds at the 2014 Trooping the Colour parade

FOOT GUARDS MARCH PAST ON HORSE GUARDS PARADE

 

The famous Bearskin Hat of the Foot Guards THE FAMOUS BEARSKIN HAT

 

The Grenadier Guards form three ranks after trooping the Colour past Her Majesty the Queen

FOOT GUARDS FORM THREE RANKS AFTER A MARCH PAST

 

The Colours of the Grenadier Guards

THE COLOURS OF THE GRENADIER GUARDS

 

An Officer of the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery AN OFFICER FROM THE ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY

 

A Blues and Royals Captain guards his flanks as he wheels to the left during a march past at the Trooping the Colour parade. A CAPTAIN FROM THE BLUES AND ROYALS MARCHES PAST ON HORSEBACK

 

A Life Guards Captain guards his flanks as he wheels to the left during a march past on the Trooping the Colour parade

A CAPTAIN FROM THE LIFE GUARDS MARCHES PAST ON HORSEBACK

 

At the end of the parade the Queen rides in a carriage back to Buckingham Palace at the head of her Guards.

Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh Leave Horseguards parade after the Trooping the Colour HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN AND THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH LEAVE THE PARADE AND RETURN TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE

 

Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh Leave Horseguards parade after the Trooping the Colour HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN AND THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH SMILE AS THEY LEAVE THE PARADE

 

Imagery by Paul Shaw LBIPP.

Copyright © MOD/Crown Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved


Kabul, Afghanistan

February 02, 2014  •  1 Comment

The last six months in Helmand, Afghanistan have born witness too many sights and events. One of which was the opportunity to visit the countries capital city-a mere plane journey away.

3,500 years old Kabul is situated in the North East of the country. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and is home to over 3 million people. It sits at around 1800m above sea level-roughly 400m higher than Ben Nevis-making it one of the world’s highest capital cities.

After the events of the past decade and beyond, it is quite easy for us to judge Afghanistan and its people. Isn’t it a war torn sand pit whose people care little for their neighbour or their country and simply allow themselves to be overrun by extremists? If you ever have the opportunity to pass through the streets of its capital you’d be surprised.

The city is like two worlds colliding. Corrugated metal buildings are dwarfed by high rise flats. Electricity pylons, transmitter masts, cars… as many cars as any busy city centre, even billboards advertising broadband internet. Ironic when our own country still sports areas out of reach of ultra-fast fibre optics.

I was surprised to see school children in their uniforms going to and from lessons, popcorn being sold from the side of the road and the full body burka being swapped out in favour of the head scarf. It’s a far cry from the visions of many.

It’s a site I may never have the opportunity to see again in my lifetime, so please, allow me to share some of my imagery with you.

Enjoy.

 

Kabul at Sunrise

KABUL AT SUNRISE

 

Children Chat

CHILDREN SIT AND CHAT

 

Local Workers

LOCAL WORKERS

 

Popcorn Stall

A MAN LIGHTS THE BURNER ON HIS POPCORN STALL

 

Children walk to school

CHILDREN WALK TO SCHOOL

 

Bottle Man

BOTTLE MAN

 

Kabul

BROADBAND INTERNET?

 

Kabul KABUL

 

Times of Change

TIMES OF CHANGE

 

Re-build RE-BUILDING

 

Bicycle

BICYCLE

 

Kabul TWO MEN WALK HOME FROM WORK

 

Debate

DEBATE

 

Burka BURKA

 

School Children SCHOOL CHILDREN IN UNIFORM

 

Imagery by Paul Shaw.

Copyright © MOD/Crown Copyright and Copyright © Paul Shaw LBIPP 2014, All Rights Reserved

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