EDITOR’S NOTE: In 2006 Tribewanted’s first cross-cultural tribe formed online and then on the remote Fijian Island of Vorovoro. Three years later, 1000 members have visited Vorovoro to take part in the project, stimulating an injection of almost $2m fj into the local economy. In October 2010 we launched our second tribe on John Obey Beach, Sierra Leone. A maximum of 30 tribe members spend a minimum of 1 week at a time living alongside a local team and community immersed in the day to day running and development of the village. Filippo Bozotti, a GlobalGrind blogger, is running the project in Sierra Leone and reports from this beautiful location.
Tribewanted John Obey. October 20th 2010. Two weeks and change have passed since we officially launched. It has been a remarkable success, filled with experiences to last a lifetime as well as major headaches that test your resolve.
After one final push to have the compost toilets, the bucket showers, and the kitchen ready, and after one last push to clear the container from customs, our first 11 tribemembers finally arrived on October 1st, in the middle of the night. The weather was forgiving and we were able to camp the first tents under the stars. The following day, we had our official launch, the whole village as well as neighboring chiefs and many journalists were present. We sacrificed a sheep for libation on the site of our first earth-bag bungalow and made lots of speeches.
Followed by pojo (local palm wine), local dishes and a lot of local music, dancing and even glass eaters. At dusk we played football on the beach, and then the tribemembers dined on our newly completed dinner table under acacia trees, lit only by candles, before a bonfire. It was a fully immersive local celebration for all, unlike anything I have ever seen.
Worked resumed on the following days and we couldn’t have hoped for a better group of first footers, ranging from a 16 year old American girl to a 62 year old retired Brit. Together with the tireless local staff of John Obey, we worked to build the first earth bag bungalow, to install the solar panels and to begin work on our permaculture garden.
We visited the John Obey school, went shopping in the local markets, went to a local baptism celebration at the village, pulled enormous fishing nets full of fish with 50 fishermen, took krio classes, celebrated Ben’s 31st birthday the local way, played more football, and cooked together many, many meals together.
We have commenced work on 5 toilets for the community and put together a procurement list for the school (walls, benches and blackboards to start). Every day I learn something new: how to skin a small bush deer, how to lay an earthbag, or manage a solar system; one has the feeling that what we are doing is truly unique and never been done before here.
All issues, even touchy ones, are discussed openly in our morning meetings with the entire staff, and we all learn from one another a great deal. After two weeks, some of the tribemebers departed, among an impromptu musical farewell by the community, all quite emotional. Some said it was the best experience of their life; others extended their stay, including the 62 year old retired Brit.
Outside John Obey, the problems begin. In no partic