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Sierra Leone
Preface Last Updated: 6/29/2005 5:31 AM

"Sierra Leone" means "Lion Mountains" in Portuguese. Portuguese navigator Pedro da Cintra used these words to describe the spectacular mountain crests rising 3,000 feet from the sea on the peninsula where Freetown was later established. This is the only point on the West African coast where mountains meet the sea.

About 400 settlers from Britain, about 300 freed African slaves and 100 English poor, established the "Province of Freedom" settlement in 1787, financed by a British charity. These settlers were joined by American liberated slaves who gained their freedom by fighting with British forces during the American War of Independence. Other settlers were Africans freed by the British Navy from slave ships captured on the high seas following the British abolition of the slave trade in 1808. Over time, Freetown developed a distinctive culture, known as "Krio," blending European, North American, West Indian and coastal West African influences. The settlement assumed control of the interior as a British Protectorate in 1896.

After World War II, self-government was gradually established in Sierra Leone, leading to independence on April 27, 1961. After an initial period of multiparty politics, the All People's Congress and its leader, Siaka Stevens, imposed a one-party constitution in 1978. Gross corruption and steadily declining government services and infrastructure marked the period of one-party rule. In 1991, under President Momoh, a new multi-party constitution was adopted. That same year saw the initial attacks by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), led by Foday Sankoh. Momoh was overthrown in 1992 by junior army officers calling themselves "the National Provisional Ruling Council." The NPRC ruled Sierra Leone until April 1996 when elections were held. The Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), led by Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, won the presidency.

The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), led by Lt. Col. Johnny Paul Koroma, overthrew the SLPP government in May 1997. Koroma invited the RUF to enter Freetown and join his government. President Kabbah went into exile in Conakry, Guinea. The AFRC-RUF remained in power for 10 months until ousted by the Nigerian-led Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG). President Kabbah was reinstated in March 1998. On January 6, 1999 the RUF launched an offensive against Freetown, capturing the eastern half of the city from ECOMOG. The RUF looted and destroyed much of eastern Freetown before withdrawing after three weeks.

President Kabbah and Foday Sankoh, signed the Lome Peace Accords in July 1999. Under the accords, the government and the RUF were to end armed conflict, allow the RUF to transform into a political party and to submit to a Joint Monitoring Commission. The UN Security Council established a peacekeeping force, UNAMSIL, to help implement the agreement. The RUF repeatedly violated the Lome Accord, culminating in the taking hostage of 500 UNAMSIL peacekeeping troops in May 2000. A few days later, RUF gunmen shot 20 demonstrators outside the home of Foday Sankoh. Shortly thereafter RUF representatives were ousted from government positions and Foday Sankoh was arrested.

In June 2000, the government asked the U.N. to set up a Special Court for Sierra Leone. This court was given a mandate to prosecute persons who "bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996." In January 2002, after completion of a disarmament and demobilization program, the conflict was officially proclaimed over. The most peaceful elections in the country's history were held in May 2002. President Kabbah prevailed with 70% of the vote and the SLPP won a large majority in Parliament. The next presidential elections are scheduled to be held in May 2007.

Sierra Leone is recovering from decades of political instability, gross corruption, and a ten-year civil war. Sierra Leoneans are hopeful that peace will prevail and provide the foundation for economic recovery.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Roughly circular in shape, Sierra Leone has an area of 29,925 square miles; about the size of South Carolina. It is located on the West African coast between 7 and 10 degrees north of the Equator. Guinea borders Sierra Leone to the north and east. Liberia lies to the south. The Atlantic Ocean borders on the west.

Three main topographical regions run northwest to southwest, roughly parallel to the coast: a belt of mangrove swamps and white sand beaches, an area of low plains covered with secondary forest and cultivated land, and an easternmost region of high plateaus and mountains, some rising as high as 6,000 feet. The mountainous peninsula on which Freetown is located comprises a fourth distinct geographical region.

The tropical climate has rainy and dry seasons, high temperatures, and almost constant humidity. The rainy season extends from May to November but is heaviest between July and September, when over half of the annual rainfall occurs. In Freetown, annual rainfall is 150 inches or more; inland areas receive less. The beginning and end of the rainy season are marked by frequent strong electrical storms, similar to those occurring during the hot summer months in the eastern U.S. Coastal temperatures during the rainy season range from a daily high of about 80°F. to a nightly low of about 76°F.

Relative humidity in Freetown rarely falls below 80%, except when the harmattan reaches the coast. This current of dry, dusty air flows from the Sahara Desert toward the south and west, usually reaching Sierra Leone in December. During this season, which lasts through February, Freetown experiences its coolest weather.

Because of the climatic conditions, insects abound and mildew can be a problem. Flies, ants and cockroaches are nuisances, however lizards are also plentiful and help to keep them in check. Snakes abound, some of them poisonous. Take precautions to protect leather goods, clothing, linens, and books from mildew and metals from corrosion.

Population Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Sierra Leone's population is estimated at under five million, with an annual increase of about 4%. Population density is highest in the western capital area of Sierra Leone and lowest in the remote northern and eastern sections of the country. Freetown is the capital, and the commercial and education center.

Sierra Leone is one of the more densely populated countries in West Africa. The population consists of about 20 ethnic groups, each with its own language and customs. The two largest ethnic groups, the Mende and the Temne, are about equal in number and comprise about 60% of the country's population. About 1% of the population is Krio, descendants of freed slaves who came to Freetown from the West Indies, Great Britain, North America, and slave ships captured on the high seas. Their language is the lingua franca of Sierra Leone. Mende is the principal vernacular in the south and Temne in the north. Other components of Sierra Leone's citizenry originate from Lebanon, Pakistan, India and various West African states (Guinea, Nigeria, Liberia, etc.). English is the official language.

Islam is the predominant religion of the country, practiced by about 60% of the population. About 30% of Sierra Leoneans follow Christianity. The remaining 10% of the population observe traditional African religions. It is common for followers of both Islam and Christianity to retain many elements of indigenous religious beliefs. Islam is strongest in the Northern Province; Christianity, although numerically small, is influential in the Southern Province and in the Freetown area, where Christian missions have been active for well over 100 years.

Many Krio customs, which partially derive from Victorian England, are similar to those of Western cultures. Tribal customs, however, differ greatly from cultural patterns encountered in the U.S. Secret organizations, such as the women's Bundu and the men's Poro societies, play an important role in tribal life. Strong extended family structures are frequently comprised of multiple wives and their relations.

Attire may differ dramatically between the urban and rural areas of Sierra Leone. Many people in Freetown wear western clothing from Monday through Thursday of the workweek. However, it is common to see men and women wearing African styles on Fridays and the weekends. In rural communities, women often wear only a tie-dyed cloth, or lapa, tied around their waists; children are scantily clothed.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 6/29/2005 5:33 AM

Sierra Leone is a republic with an executive president and a multi-party system of government. The Freetown Peninsula, which together with Sherbro Island comprised the former colony, is now called the Western Province. The rest of the country, formerly known as the Protectorate, is divided into three provinces, the Northern, the Southern and the Eastern. These provinces are made up of 12 districts and 149 chiefdoms.

The basic unit of local government is the paramount chief and council elders. There are also elected council members and mayors in Freetown, Bo, Kenema and Makeni. Resident Ministers serve in the capitals of the Eastern, Northern and Southern provinces.

The judiciary consists of a Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, High Court, Magistrate's Courts, and local courts having jurisdiction in certain customary (tribal) law cases.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

When Sierra Leone achieved its independence from Britain in 1961, it had the finest education system in English-speaking West Africa. However, the subsequent years of government corruption and civil unrest caused serious deterioration in the educational system. The current literacy rate is estimated at only 30%. The country is in the process of rebuilding its education infrastructure. Many rural areas have been without institutions for formal education since the early 1990s. The country's university and its colleges are struggling to rebuild.

The country's intellectual life still centers on the University of Sierra Leone. The university's Fourah Bay College, founded in 1827 by Anglican missionaries and situated on Mount Aureol high above Freetown, is the oldest English-language tertiary institution in West Africa. The university includes four faculties and five institutes.

Njala University College, with faculties of agriculture and education, is a part of the University of Sierra Leone. The college was formed on the U.S. land grant college principle, and originally located in Njala about 130 miles from Freetown. The campus was destroyed during the civil war. The faculty and students have relocated to Freetown until the Njala facilities are restored.

Sierra Leone has six teacher-training colleges. Some of the provincial teacher-training colleges have relocated to Freetown until its home locations are restored and available for classes.

Sierra Leone is known for its weaving, tie-dying (gara) and carving. The National Museum is open to the public and displays local artifacts. Many shops and markets in Freetown sell local handicrafts.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 6/29/2005 5:35 AM

Seventy percent of Sierra Leone's people derive their livelihood from agriculture. Important crops include rice, cassava, bananas, plantains, palm kernels, coffee, and cocoa.

As of 2002, foreign aid contributes seventy percent of the Sierra Leone government's budget. Since 2002 the U.N.has listed Sierra Leone as the lowest ranked country on its Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI measures the well-being of a country's citizenry in terms of life expectancy, educational attainment and adjusted real income.

Sierra Leone is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In March of 2002, the Bank of Sierra Leone announced the official participation of the Leone in the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ). This mechanism pegs the currencies of The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone to the U.S. dollar, allowing a fluctuation of 15%. This is intended to lead to a common currency for ECOWAS.

The mining sector plays a significant role in the economy of the country. Mineral resources include diamonds, gold, rutile, bauxite and iron ore. Sierra Leone has a large deposit of alluvial diamonds that the government has historically struggled to control. Smuggling has long been a common practice. Estimates put official revenue from diamonds at only ten percent of actual output. Sierra Leone has the world's largest known reserve and highest grade of natural rutile.


Automobiles Last Updated: 6/29/2005 5:37 AM

American employees assigned to Freetown are authorized to ship privately owned vehicles to post. A vehicle is a necessity in Freetown. Freetown streets are narrow and pot holed. Many streets are in serious need of repair. Heavy rainfall from May through November may cause roads to become temporarily flooded and hazardous. There are few sidewalks and many pedestrians. There are many one way streets. As in the U.S., driving is on the right-hand side of the road.

American-style service stations sell gasoline and diesel. Mission personnel can also buy fuel duty free through the embassy. Since high-octane gas and unleaded gasoline is not available, do not bring cars with high compression engines or catalytic converters. A high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended due to the poor condition of the roads. Procurement of local liability insurance is required for all American employees of the U.S. Mission.

Servicing and spare parts are quite difficult to obtain for American vehicles. Servicing is available for most European and Japanese vehicles, however spare parts are expensive and can be difficult to acquire. Manual transmission vehicles with limited electrical components are easiest to maintain. Bring a basic supply of spare parts, including extra fuel, air and oil filters, belts, spark plugs, and tires.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Public transportation is available in the form of taxis and mini-buses. However, it is recommended that Embassy personnel not utilize these services due to safety and security concerns. Instead, the mission maintains a list of car-hire firms which, while more expensive, offer safer and more reliable transport.

Taxis operate in the city and surrounding area but cannot be summoned by telephone. They operate on a point to point routing system and pick up passengers along the way. There is a standard fare for each point within the city and a fare for longer rides outside city limits. Fares are determined by the Ministry of Transportation and announced on the radio periodically. Passengers should be wary, as taxi drivers are known to charge higher fees. Some taxi drivers will provide dropoff service for double the standard fare. For multiple destinations or longer journeys, a taxi may be leased at a negotiated hourly rate.

Mini-buses are also available. They have standard routes within the city and outside city limits. The Ministry of Transportation sets the standard fares. Mini-buses also depart from Freetown for the provinces but service is not reliable.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 6/29/2005 5:41 AM

Helicopter, hovercraft and ferry services are available in connection with most major regional flights to transport passengers from Lungi International Airport to Freetown. The ferries can be overcrowded and unsafe. Travelers should check with the embassy travel office before using the above means of transport.

There is no direct commercial air service between the U.S. and Sierra Leone. SN Brussels Airlines provides direct flights to Sierra Leone from Brussels twice per week. Other airlines provide service to the U.S. and Europe via destinations in Africa.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 6/29/2005 5:43 AM

The embassy is equipped with the International Voice Gateway (IVG) system. This system provides access to the Department of State's PBX that connects Washington, D.C. metropolitan offices with embassies overseas. Calls can be made on the IVG toll-free from the Chancery to the Washington, D.C. area and to any U.S. domestic toll-free number. For official business, it is possible to call locations in the U.S. outside of the Washington, D.C. area by using the IVG to access a commercial long distance carrier. The long distance carrier will bill these calls as U.S. domestic long distance calls originating from Washington, D.C.

Local telephone service is installed at all embassy residences. At some residences the service has not been available for months at a time. Telephone service is poor and can be unreliable during heavy rains. International calls can be made directly but service is limited by the service provider's system constraints.

Wireless Service Last Updated: 6/29/2005 5:44 AM The embassy provides each American employee with a portable radio and a mobile telephone for communication within Freetown. Mobile telephone service is available in some localities throughout Sierra Leone. Embassy vehicles are equipped with HF radios that provide communications for upcountry travel.

Internet Last Updated: 6/29/2005 5:46 AM

The embassy has installed the Open Net Plus connectivity system. This system provides access both to the Department of State's intranet and to the Internet. Internet connectivity through Open Net Plus is much faster and far more reliable that that offered by local Internet service providers.

It is possible to obtain internet service at embassy residences. However, the local internet service providers are limited and, compared with U.S. standards, the service is costly, extremely slow and unreliable. There are plans to provide wireless internet service to all residences on a cost recovery basis.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 6/29/2005 5:48 AM

The American Embassy Freetown does not have access to military APO/FPO facilities. U.S. Government personnel assigned to Freetown may use the diplomatic pouch to receive personal letter mail, magazines, catalogs, and packages. Shipment of liquids and glass, except prescription medicines, is prohibited. Incoming packages must weigh no more than 40 pounds. Dimensions of packages may not exceed 24 inches in length nor 62 inches in length and girth combined. Non-liquid prescription medicines, prescription eyeglasses, hearing aid and batteries, prosthetic devices, orthopedic shoes, or other items needed on an emergency basis for health and welfare should be carefully labeled.

Outgoing mail privileges are limited to ordinary letter mail, which may not exceed 2 pounds, including letters, cassettes, videotapes, CD/DVDs photographic prints and processed slides. Personal merchandise being returned to the manufacturer of a mail or internet-order item may be mailed if clearly marked "Returned Merchandise." Applicable U.S. postage (first class) must be applied to letters and packages. Purchase of U.S. postage is not available in country and must be purchased prior to arrival or via the internet. The State Department's address for personal (NOT official) diplomatic pouch mail is:

Name of individual 2160 Freetown Place Dulles, VA 20189-2160

The State Department's diplomatic pouch generally takes 7-14 days (often longer) to reach Freetown once the pouch is closed in the U.S. The pouch to the U.S. from Freetown goes out once a week via commercial cargo and arrives in Washington, DC usually within 10 business days.

Eligible family members may also receive mail via diplomatic pouch; however, the employee's name must appear as the second line of the address on all correspondence.

Name of family member Name of individual 2160 Freetown Place Dulles, VA 20189-2160

U.S. Postal Service regulations prohibit the use of registry and insurance services for mail and parcels sent via the diplomatic pouch. Advise your correspondents, mail, and internet-order houses accordingly.

It is expensive to send packages to the U.S. from post. Surface mail from the U.S. to Sierra Leone is unreliable and potentially subject to tariffs. DHL service is available but expensive. Mail service in country does not function regularly.

Radio and TV Last Updated: 6/29/2005 5:51 AM

Sierra Leone has the oldest radio broadcasting service in English-speaking West Africa. Currently there are nine stations operating in Freetown that provide a variety of music and talk shows in English and Krio. Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) currently has one local television channel that broadcasts daily from 6 PM until 12 AM.

Mission personnel can install satellite TV at government-leased housing. Satellite service cost is higher to that of the U.S. A variety of programming, including CNN and BBC news, movies and music channels are provided.

All mission residences receive AFN.

Multisystem television and video equipment is necessary in Sierra Leone. American televisions will not be able to receive local broadcasts.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

There are a plethora of local daily newspapers available in Freetown. Most are independently run, highly partisan and less than 20 pages in length. Local papers routinely contain many errors and false statements. All lack comprehensive international coverage.

A limited number of American and British publications, including international editions of newspapers, are available, but delivery is unreliable.

A limited supply of new and used books is available for purchase locally, but avid readers should bring their own supply. Employees may also borrow from the supply of paperback and hardcover books available at the Chancery and Guest Quarters. The British Council has a lending library. The National Library has books available for both adults and children in a variety of local and foreign languages. The American School has an extensive library for children through grade 6.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 6/29/2005 5:54 AM

Freetown has four large hospitals-Connaught General Hospital (undergoing remodeling), Christian Maternity Hospital, Children's Hospital, and Choithram Hospital. Choithram Hospital is currently run by UNAMSIL until December 2005 but not available to civilians. It is the preferred facility for Embassy personnel. Medical facilities in Sierra Leone fall critically short of US standards in equipment, hygienic standards and staff. Medicine is in short supply. Sterility of equipment is questionable. Treatment is limited and unreliable. Many primary health care workers, especially in rural areas, lack professional training. Many medical problems require evacuation to the U.S. or Europe for treatment. The regional medical officer has authorized evacuation of pregnant women for delivery.

Qualified physicians and dentists practice in Freetown, but without basic diagnostic and treatment facilities, they are considerably handicapped. Have all medical, dental, and ocular work done before you arrive. The regional medical officer visits Freetown quarterly. Mission personnel are served by a Foreign Service Health Practitioner and a locally-engaged registered nurse. Immunizations and basic medical supplies are available through the Embassy Health Unit. Personnel with special requirements should contact the post before departure to make sure that their needs can be met.

Community Health Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Water shortages occur in Freetown, especially in the dry season when the water level in local reservoirs drops below normal. All U.S. Government-based housing is equipped with water storage tanks that are filled by the Embassy's water truck. Water distillers are installed in all Mission residences. Distilled water is safe for drinking. Although Freetown water is treated, it is recommended that tap water be boiled for at least 3 minutes and filtered prior to usage. Fluoride is not added to the drinking water.

For most of Freetown, the sewage disposal system is below standard. Open drainage ditches running throughout the town are breeding places for insects and can flood when outlets are plugged or covered by debris. All U.S. Government-leased quarters have septic tanks.

Health hazards include inadequate practices governing the inspection, storage and sale of food and the lack of health and sanitation consciousness on the part of many cooks and stewards. Vigilance and constant attention to good practices is strongly advised.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Major communicable diseases are malaria, measles, typhoid, hepatitis, diarrhetic diseases, influenza, cholera, lassa fever, meningitis and HIV/AIDS. During the rainy season, fungus and other skin disorders are more prevalent. Intestinal upsets are common.

Employees assigned to Sierra Leone should consult with a medical professional regarding appropriate malaria prophylaxis and the necessary pre-departure, in-country and post-departure regimen. Chloroquine resistant malaria is prevalent in Sierra Leone. Inoculation against cholera, meningitis, polio, rabies, tetanus, typhoid fever, and yellow fever are recommended. For additional information, please consult with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( Rabies is prevalent in Sierra Leone, so vaccinate your pets.

All fruits and vegetables available locally can be eaten but should be either cooked or disinfected with a 5% bleach and 95% water solution if they cannot be peeled. Mosquito netting is recommended if windows are opened. Additionally, U.S. government personnel are advised to wear long sleeves, pants and socks, and apply insect repellant when entertaining outdoors in the evening. Not only is malaria a concern, but also bites that are scratched become infected easily in the tropical climate.

Machine dry and iron all clothes, bedding and towels to avoid Tumbu fly infestation. The Tumbu fly lays eggs on damp surfaces like sand and wet cloth, from where the young larvae enter the skin. Washers and dryers are provided to all American U.S. Government personnel. Shoes must be worn outdoors to protect the feet from worms and bacteria that can enter the body through small cuts or abrasions. Sunscreen and insect repellant are required throughout the year.

In order to remain healthy while traveling upcountry, embassy personnel need to be especially vigilant. Contaminated water supplies, poor sanitation and hygiene contribute to the spread of communicable diseases. Lassa fever is still a health concern in the northern and eastern provinces. Trip preparation should include consideration of potable water and food supplies as well as insect repellant and mosquito netting.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 6/29/2005 5:57 AM

The policy of the Mission is to make every effort to assist adult family members in finding employment opportunities. Those interested in employment are encouraged to contact the management officer prior to arrival, providing as much information as possible on skills and previous experience. Applicants for positions within the Mission are selected on the basis of education, experience, and suitability. Most positions require that a family member be an American citizen at the time of their employment.

Additional employment opportunities may be available in the private sector, such as teaching English, teaching at the American International School of Freetown, or with private companies and Non-Governmental Organizations.

American Embassy - Freetown

Post City Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Freetown is located at the northern tip of a large, mountainous peninsula in the Western Province. Surrounded by high, picturesque wooded hills, the city also has the world's third-largest natural harbor. White sand beaches, tropical vegetation and 19th century wood-gabled and -latticed houses lend Freetown its own unique setting. The great Cotton Tree at the hub of the city was already a landmark when the first settlers arrived in 1787.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 6/29/2005 6:04 AM

The U.S. Embassy is in Freetown. The Chancery, built in the mid-1960s, is an air-conditioned building located at the corner of Siaka Stevens and Walpole Streets, across from the historic Cotton Tree. A New Embassy Compound (NEC) is under construction with expected occupancy in July 2006. The Defense Attaché and USAID offices are located in the Chancery. Office hours for all agencies in the building are 7:45 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Thursday. Friday hours are from 7:45 am to 12:45 pm. The Consular office is open to Americans during regular office hours. No visa services are provided in Freetown at this time. The Chancery switchboard is open during regular office hours. After office hours, a taped message provides instruction in the case of an emergency.

Newly assigned personnel should alert the Embassy well in advance of their arrival date and confirm the number of persons traveling. New arrivals may need Leones, the local currency. There is a currency exchange facility at the airport. The Embassy contract expediter will assist new arrivals.

Lungi Airport, Sierra Leone's only international airport, is located across the bay from Freetown. It is possible to get to and from the airport via helicopter, hovercraft, or ferry. Travelers must check with their embassy contact before arrival.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 6/29/2005 6:06 AM

Newcomers to Freetown usually occupy their permanent quarters on or shortly after arrival. If permanent housing is not available, arrangements will be made for temporary quarters at selected hotels in Freetown. Approved hotels have air-conditioned rooms and restaurants. Accommodations are comfortable, but tend to be expensive. The Embassy will arrange transportation to and from the Embassy for temporary duty personnel.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 6/29/2005 6:07 AM

All personnel assigned to Freetown reside in U.S. Government furnished, leased housing. Mission personnel are provided with comfortable housing located in the better residential areas. All housing is air-conditioned. All residences are provided with 24-hour security guards.

Furnishings Last Updated: 6/29/2005 6:08 AM

All U.S. Government leased housing is furnished. Kitchens are equipped with an electric range, a microwave oven, a water distiller, a deep freeze, a refrigerator, a washing machine, a dryer, a vacuum cleaner, and three transformers. Living room furnishings usually consist of chairs and sofas, coffee side tables, bookcases and rugs. Dining room furniture includes a dining table and chairs, sideboard, and buffet. Curtains and lamps are also provided. Bedrooms are typically equipped with mirrors, beds, chest of drawers, and a desk. In some cases, porch furniture is provided. Bring folding chairs to use at the beach.

Local carpenters and cabinetmakers can build additional bookcases, shelves, and tables of functional yet unpretentious quality. Bring pictures, books, art objects, linens, blankets, and a few scatter rugs with you, but leave high value items at home. Expect some deterioration of items because of the humid climate, insects and mildew. Air-conditioners and dehumidifiers are provided and help minimize damage.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

All U.S. Government residences have hot and cold running water in bathrooms and kitchens, but pressure may be low. The Embassy has its own water truck in the event of shortages.

Electricity in Freetown is 220v, 50-cycle, AC. Since U.S. electrical appliances are usually 110v, 60 cycles, or 50-60 cycles, a step-down transformer must be used. Embassy-provided transformers are used mainly with the larger, government-provided appliances. Bring additional transformers to use with small appliances, video/stereo equipment, etc. The city electricity supply is erratic; all Embassy residences are equipped with adequate stand-by generators.

Most basic appliances can be bought locally, however prices are generally higher than in the U.S. All appliances are subject to rust and corrosion. Confirm stereo system compatibility prior to shipment. American-made clocks will not run correctly on 50-cycle current. Bring battery-operated or wind-up clocks with you.

Food Last Updated: 6/29/2005 6:33 AM

Personnel assigned to Sierra Leone are authorized a 2500-pound consumable shipment. There is no commissary. Internet shopping is an option.

Freetown's supermarkets stock a wide-variety of canned goods, cereals, nuts, and pastas, all imported. Items cost much more than in the U.S. Availability is uneven. Ship an adequate supply of artificial sweeteners, western seasonings and baking ingredients, as they are often difficult to obtain locally and expensive.

Tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, cucumbers, red and green sweet peppers, eggplant, potatoes, onions, and carrots are usually available. Cabbages, pumpkins, radishes, and parsley are seasonally available, and greens (a local substitute for spinach), okra and, sweet potatoes are available year round. Prices can vary seasonally and bargaining is a necessity at outdoor markets and street vendors. Frozen and canned vegetables are at least twice as expensive as in the U.S. Good local tropical fruits, such as bananas, oranges, pineapples, limes, grapefruit, avocados, and papaya are plentiful.

Rice is a staple of the local diet and priced comparably to the U.S. Fresh bread is of good quality, inexpensive and readily available.

Fresh dairy products are not available in Freetown and should be consumed with caution upcountry as refrigeration is unreliable and products are not pasteurized. Imported long-life skim and whole cream milk in cartons is available but expensive if consumed in large quantities. Most people with high milk consumption use an imported powdered skim or whole milk. Eggs and cheese are available; cheese is two to three times the U.S. price.

Chicken, beef, pork and lamb are available locally, fresh and frozen. Standards of the meat are reliant on the distributors. Chicken is priced comparably to the U.S.; beef, pork and lamb are at least twice as expensive.

Fish is the highlight of local cuisine. Fresh shrimp, lobster, squid, barracuda, grouper, sole and snapper are available and reasonably priced.

Clothing Last Updated: 6/29/2005 6:35 AM

A neat appearance and appropriate dress is important to Sierra Leoneans, and they expect it of others. Bring adequate supplies of clothing, shoes and accessories for the entire family for a complete tour, as acceptable ready-made clothing is unavailable. Mail-order catalog and Internet purchases via the pouch are an excellent alternative but potentially time-consuming. Many tailors are quite skilled and charge a moderate fee for their services, but the quality and availability of material varies. Bring your own material and pictures of garments that you may want to have made for you.

In selecting a wardrobe, remember that the temperature range is small and seasonal variation minimal. Offices are air-conditioned and can be cool once you become acclimated. Clothing appropriate for Washington, D.C. summers is appropriate for Freetown year-round. Lightweight, natural-fiber, washable clothes are best. Breathable synthetics are also recommended. Most laundry is done at home; dry-cleaners are limited and expensive and are not recommended for delicate or hard-to-replace clothing. Shipping a supply of home dry-cleaning kits is an option.

The hot weather requires frequent changes. Constant laundering wears clothes out faster. This, plus the lack of seasonal variation makes a variety of clothing important. Do not forget an adequate supply of bathing suits, undergarments, stockings and socks, as replacements are not easily found in the local market. Pack shoes for a variety of occasions including sports, and for the length of your tour. There are no department stores or western-style clothing stores in Sierra Leone. Bring some warm clothing if you will be traveling to the U.S. or Europe in winter. A lightweight sweater or jacket for an occasional cool evening and raincoats and an umbrella for the rainy season are useful.

Men Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Wash-and-wear clothing is appropriate for men throughout the year. Business casual dress is acceptable for the office. Jackets and ties should be available for calls on government officials.

Social life is generally informal but more formal affairs require a dark suit and long-sleeved shirt. Dinner jackets and dark suits are needed on occasion. Bring an adequate supply of undergarments, socks, and shoes, as they are not available locally.

A raincoat, lightweight and waterproof pullovers, and waterproof boots are useful in the rainy season. Pack all required sport and outdoor clothing, including footwear.

Women Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Washable natural fibers and breathable synthetics are the best kinds of clothing for women. Business casual dress is acceptable for the office. All sleeve lengths are acceptable. A sweater or light jacket is required in some air-conditioned offices. Suits, pantsuits and skirts are appropriate for calls on government officials.

For informal evening functions, skirts and pants are suitable. Women will need a few cocktail and formal dresses for official evening functions; evening gowns may be worn to a limited number of occasions. Hosiery is worn by few American women and is not required at most evening functions. Shorts and sundresses may be worn around town. Bikinis may be worn on the beach. Bring a variety of footwear and accessories to match outfits. Ship an adequate supply of lingerie, hosiery, socks and shoes, as they are not available locally.

A long raincoat, lightweight and waterproof pullovers, and waterproof boots are useful in the rainy season. Pack all required sport and outdoor clothing, including footwear.

Children Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Children dress much the same as they do in the United States. Informal, casual clothing is worn at the American International School of Freetown. Other schools may require a uniform.

Lightweight and waterproof pullovers, rain jackets, waterproof boots, and lightweight sweaters are useful in the rainy season. Pack a sufficient supply of undergarments, socks, and shoes to last the length of the tour. Pack all required sport and outdoor clothing, including footwear.

A sufficient supply of diapers is a must for babies.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Familiar name-brand American products can be found in limited supply in Freetown but are at least twice as expensive as in the U.S. and frequently past the expiration date. Mission personnel should bring a supply of their favorite cosmetics, toiletries, sunscreen, insect repellant, anti-bacterial hand cleanser, first aid supplies, hair care and styling products including hair-coloring products. Some products may be purchased on the Internet and shipped via pouch.

Local cooking and storage accessories like plastic wrap, wax paper, aluminum foil, and plastic bags are poor quality and expensive. Bring enough of these and assorted paper products, from toilet paper to gift-wrap, to last your entire tour. Children's birthday party gifts, party favors, holiday decorations, and greeting cards are not available, difficult to find, or very expensive.

Bring decorative items for your home including bathroom accessories, shower curtains, table linens, vases for flower arrangements, candles and other table decorations. You will also need to ship all recreational and home entertainment products such as board games, video games, videos, DVDs, music CDs, playing cards, sports equipment, and art supplies.

Ship all required home office supplies including printer paper, ribbon, ink, storage diskettes, and CDs. Also, pack sufficient camera film, digital camera and video camera supplies. Rechargeable batteries and a charger are recommended as batteries are expensive and some, like 3V camera batteries, are difficult to find.

Basic Services Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Laundry and dry-cleaning service is available in Freetown but generally of inferior quality. Local cleaning of delicate or hard-to-replace items is not recommended. Employees should consider purchase of washable silks and linens or home dry-cleaning kits.

Numerous tailors are available and some do exceptionally good work. Bring your own material, sewing supplies (zippers, buttons, thread, etc.) and pictures of items that you would like to have made. Local shoe repair is available but does not meet Western standards. Mission personnel should bring an adequate supply of footwear.

There are a few beauty salons and barbers that do acceptable haircuts. Bring your own hair care products (shampoo, conditioner, styling and coloring products), as the local supply is limited and very expensive. It is possible to get manicures and pedicures at a few local salons, however it is recommended that you bring your own grooming kit as hygienic standards are a concern.

Color, and black and white film developing is available in Freetown, however, it is expensive and the quality is unreliable. Film that requires special processing, like Kodak Advantix, should not be developed in Freetown, as stores do not have the equipment required for development.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Most Americans employ household staff. For persons unaccustomed to having household employees, this may take some adjustment. The number and working hours of domestic employees depends on family size, desires, size of living quarters and the extent and type of entertaining. As in most places in Africa, domestic help in Sierra Leone is usually male. Salary will depend upon employee's ability, responsibility, and understanding of English. Local inflation and cost of living will affect salaries.

Finding good domestic help is not difficult and most are hired on a referral basis by other household staff or employees at post. Some household staff do not understand English very well and will require detailed training and close supervision to meet expectations. Generally, domestic staff in Sierra Leone do not live in the home. It is recommended that all domestic staff have a preemployment physical examination and periodic check-ups.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

The following denominations have places of worship in Sierra Leone: Anglican, Church of Christ, Evangelical United Brethren, Pentecostal, Bahai Faith, Methodist, Moslem, Roman Catholic, African Methodist, and Seventh-day Adventist. Nondenominational services are also held weekly. Freetown has no synagogue. Services are conducted in English and Krio.


Dependent Education Last Updated: 6/29/2005 6:45 AM

The American International School of Freetown (AISF) was established in 1986 to serve the needs of Freetown's international community. AISF is a private, coeducational day school offering an American curriculum from pre-kindergarten through grade 8. AISF is accredited Prekinder to 8th grade by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges. AISF offers 9th grade through the U.S. accredited University of Nebraska-Lincoln Independent Study High School Program.

Other schools available include the International School and the Lebanese International School; both provide instruction based on the British educational system.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Lessons in local languages, such as Krio and Mende, are available. Instruction in the techniques of gara (tie dying) is available. Some local clubs offer reasonably priced tennis lessons. The golf club provides lessons for beginners.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 6/29/2005 6:49 AM

Freetown offers limited recreational facilities. Bring tennis, golf, and squash equipment. There are no public or community recreational facilities or programs. There are membership clubs with reasonable annual fees. These clubs are the Freetown Golf Club, the Hill Station Club, the Aqua Club and the YSC.

The Freetown Golf Club has an 18-hole golf course with sand greens, which are playable most of the year, a swimming pool, squash courts, and a modest clubhouse. The Hill Station Club offers tennis courts for day or evening play, billiards, darts and a bar/club at night. The Aqua Club has a small marina, a salt water pool, and squash courts. YSC offers an indoor basketball court and outdoor field for soccer. Most of these facilities offer dining for club and non-club members.

All embassy personnel can use the facilities at Signal Hill Apartments and at the Smart Farm Apartments.The Smart Farm Apartment complex has a swimming pool. The gym located at Signal Hill Apartments is equipped with universal and free weights, a stairmaster, a rowing machine, 2 stationary bicycles, and a television/stereo system. Also, the embassy has two emergency evacuation boats that can sometimes be used at cost for recreational purposes.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Sierra Leone's picturesque and uncrowded beaches offer the greatest recreational diversion. Sierra Leoneans and foreigners alike can be found sunbathing, swimming, jogging, walking, and playing soccer and volleyball on Lumley Beach in Freetown. Other beaches are within a short driving distance from Freetown, though the road to the beaches is not well maintained, and a four-wheel drive vehicle is necessary during the wet season. Sharks and barracudas are rarely seen, and the beaches are considered safe for swimming. Beaches are also good for boogie boarding. Caution is necessary as strong currents and undertow do occur. A few sites exist for deep-sea divers and snorkeling. The rivers contain parasitic organisms, so they are considered unsafe for swimming.

The beaches, tropical vegetation, and wildlife provide an array of colorful subjects for photography, videos and sketching. However, art supplies and most types of photographic and video film can not be acquired in Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone is considered one of the best countries in Africa for bird watching. There are hundreds of birds in Sierra Leone and the best time for viewing is the migratory season from November to April.

Fishing is available in and near Freetown. Coastal saltwater species include barracuda, cobia, red snapper, Atlantic jack, Spanish mackerel, and grouper. Just off the continental shelf, but still reachable by small craft, are marlin, sailfish and tuna. Whales and dolphins are often spotted off Freetown. The freshwater angler may find tiger fish, catfish, Nile perch, and several subspecies of tilapia. Most saltwater fish are taken through trolling lures; saltwater fishing is available only by private/personal boats or rented sea-going canoes.

Saltwater anglers should bring to post a stout rod, trolling reel, 20-30 pound test line, wire leaders, and a supply of lures should complete your outfit. Giant-size rapalas lures in assorted colors are popular. Only the most rudimentary fishing equipment is sold locally. The prospective angler should bring necessary equipment and a 2-year supply of hooks, sinkers, lures, and other accessories.

There is a variety of interesting day trips in the greater Freetown area. Boating excursions can be arranged to visit Bunce Island, an 18th century English slave fort, the Banana Islands, and the Turtle Islands. Automobile excursions include a variety of beaches like Lakka, River Number Two, Sussex and Toke, the towns of Makeni, known for handicrafts, and Bo, the waterfall at Charlotte and nearby Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. As the country's infrastructure is restored, day trips to more towns and villages outside of Freetown will be possible.

The years of civil conflict and the accompanying lack of government control and funding has allowed the roads to former tourist spots and the tourist facilities themselves to deteriorate. Even with heavy-duty/four-wheel-drive vehicles, former tourist hiking spots and nature reserves like the Western Area Forest Reserve, the Mamunta-Mayosa Wildlife Sanctuary, Outamba-Kilimi National Park, the Loma Mountain Reserve, the Gola Forest Reserve, and the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary, are extremely difficult or impossible to reach. Moreover, there are no longer any functioning visitor centers or guides.

Sierra Leone has a range of hiking environments. Many areas have been hard hit by the years of civil unrest. A walking path from Guma Valley Reservoir to River No. 2 Beach was completed the fall of 2002 as the first of many refurbishment projects. Current status of this project and the condition of other hiking paths, parks and reserves can be known by contacting the Sierra Leone Conservation Society, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, or the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Marine Resources.

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Restaurant and home dining are the most popular forms of enjoyment for Americans within the Mission. The greater Freetown area offers a variety of restaurants offering reasonably priced meals. Seafood, meat and vegetarian meals are all available at dining establishments and there is a range of international cuisine. For late night enjoyment, there are a few nightclubs and bars spread throughout town and casinos down by the waterfront.

There are plenty of video rental stores with American, European and African films. However, the videos are generally in the European PAL/SECAM format. Be sure to bring a good supply of videos, DVDs, CDs and books.

From October to June, sporting events are regularly held in the National Stadium. The local papers provide news on current and upcoming events.

Freetown also has an active chapter of the Hash House Harriers, the worldwide running and walking club.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Mission officers are invited to receptions, cocktails, luncheons, dinner, and other events by the host government and other diplomatic missions.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Social life in Freetown is generally relaxed and informal. All newly arrived officers and staff members are presented to the Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission shortly after arrival. Calls on counterparts in other embassies and with host government officials can be discussed after arrival to post. Calling cards are useful. Five hundred cards will suffice. Married personnel may wish to include a small supply of "Mr. and Mrs. Cards."

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 6/29/2005 6:53 AM

There are no direct flights from the U.S. to Sierra Leone. Embassy personnel generally fly to Europe, and then connect to Freetown via Belgium on SN Brussels Airlines. Contact the Travel Office for other possibilities.

Your post of departure advises you about shipping household and personal effects. If shipments are handled by a U.S. Despatch Agent, inform the agent of the location of your personal effects, the date of expected departure from the U.S., and your travel authorization number and date.

Have your effects properly insured and carefully packed by an experienced export packer. Inform packers that waterproof packing is a necessity. Crates should be properly marked and well secured to avoid pilferage or breakage during shipment. The contents of each carton should be itemized, with one copy retained by the packer and one by the employee. Address effects to:

Your Name American Embassy Freetown Sierra Leone

The embassy provides port-to-residence transportation of effects and unpacking assistance. Forward shipping documents as soon as possible to facilitate customs clearance.

Surface shipments from the U.S. take about 2 months; shipments from other countries may take somewhat longer if transshipment is necessary.

Include in your Unaccompanied Air Baggage (UAB) a radio, an iron, extra towels and sheets, some dishes and cooking utensils. Basic household goods and diversional items you will want immediately, especially toys and games if you have children. The embassy provides a basic Welcome Kit with a limited supply of dishes, cooking utensils, flatware, sheets, pillowcases and towels. If you are shipping a vehicle it's advisable to remove the catalytic convertor.

Take care before shipping your car to remove accessories and easy-to-pilfer items: theft of floor mats, windshield wipers, jacks, radios, CD/cassette players, cigarette lighters, hubcaps, and spare tires during shipment is a possibility. Send such items in your HHE shipment.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Duty-free entry privileges are extended to all U.S. government employees assigned to the embassy for the duration of their tour. These privileges cover all effects and property imported for official or personal use.

Personally owned automobiles may be imported duty-free. Driver licenses are provided without charge to eligible personnel; others pay a minimal fee. Foreign-made vehicles may be shipped to Freetown on your travel orders. The American Embassy in Sierra Leone also has a waiver permitting foreign-made, foreign purchased vehicles to be shipped back to the U.S. when your tour ends.

Passage Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

All personnel entering Sierra Leone on official business must have an appropriate visa from the nearest Sierra Leone Embassy or Consulate prior to arrival, and a current health certificate with records of vaccinations and inoculations. Confirm with the Department of State and Sierra Leone Embassy which vaccinations and inoculations are mandatory for entry into Sierra Leone.

Mission personnel must have a Sierra Leone automobile registration and international registration certificate before driving into neighboring countries. Check automobile insurance policies to assure that they provide coverage in neighboring countries before undertaking such trips.

Pets Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Pets may be brought into Sierra Leone with international certificate of good health, obtained from a veterinarian. Proof of rabies and distemper vaccination is necessary, but no quarantine period is required. Pet food, cat litter and pet toys are difficult to obtain on the local market; ship enough to last the entire tour or substitute with what is utilized on the local market.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Forward all requests for firearms to the administrative officer for approval by the Chief of Mission prior to shipment and arrival in country. This is an absolute requirement.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 6/29/2005 6:57 AM

The monetary unit in Sierra Leone is the Leone, which is divided into 100 cents. The symbol used for the Leone is Le. The Bank of Sierra Leone manages the currency.

Sierra Leone is a cash economy. Credit cards are generally not accepted. There are no internationally linked Automatic Teller Machines.

The embassy cashier will exchange personal checks and travelers checks drawn on accounts in U.S. banks and U.S. dollars into Leones for U.S. government employees and authorized contractors. The cashier will not accept second or third party checks. TDY personnel and official visitors may exchange traveler's checks and cash with presentation of their official travel authorization. All personnel are limited to exchanging $500 per day. Amounts over this will be approved at the discretion of the Management Officer. All personnel are required by the Government of Sierra Leone and the Chief of Mission to exchange dollars at the official government rate.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Diplomatic personnel are exempt from taxes. All personal goods and consumables may enter Sierra Leone exempt from duties and taxes.

You may sell personal property in accordance with Embassy and Government of Sierra Leone regulations. Duty-free personal items may be sold only after the import duty is paid. It is not permitted to retain profits (excess of sale price less cost of goods sold) from sale of goods transported to Sierra Leone at U.S. Government expense. Any such profit on sales must be turned over to a charity approved by the Chief of Mission.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Politics Abdullah, Ibrahim and Muana, Patrick. "The Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone: A Revolt of the Lumpen Proletariat" in Clapham, Christopher, editor African Guerrillas. James Currey: Oxford, 1998.

Bundu, Abass. Democracy by Force? A Study of International Military Intervention in the Conflict in Sierra Leone from 1991-2000. Universal Publishers, 2000.

Hirsch, John L. Sierra Leone: Diamonds and the Struggle for Democracy. (International Peace Academy Occasional Paper Series) Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc.: Boulder, 2001.

Koroma, Abdul K. Sierra Leone: The Agony of a Nation. Andromeda Publications, 1996.

Reno, William Sampson Klock. Corruption and State Politics in Sierra Leone. Cambridge University Press. 1995.

Richards, Paul. Fighting for the Rain Forest: War, Youth and Resources in Sierra Leone. Heinemann, Portsmouth, 1996.

Roberts, George O. The Anguish of Third World Independence: The Sierra Leone Experience. University Press of America: New York, 1982.

History Conteh-Morgan, Earl and Dixon-Fyle, Mac. Sierra Leone at the End of the Twentieth Century: History, Politics and Society, Peter Lang Publishing: New York, 1999.

Fyfe, Christopher. A History of Sierra Leone, Oxford University Press, 1979.

Kup, A. P. Sierra Leone: A Concise History. St. Martin's Press: New York, 1975.

Spitzer, Leo. The Creoles of Sierra Leone; Responses to Colonialism (1870-1945). University of Wisconsin Press: Madison, 1974.

Petersen, John Province of Freedom: A History of Sierra Leone 1787-1870, Northwestern University Press: Evanston 1969

Anthropology Ferme, Marianne C. The Underneath of Things: Violence, History and the Everyday in Sierra Leone. University of California Press: Berkeley, 2001.

Finnegan, Ruth. Survey of the Limba People of Northern Sierra Leone. H.H. Stationery Office: London, 1965.

Jackson, Michael. The Kuranko: Dimensions of Social Reality in a West African Tribe. St. Martin's Press: New York, 1977.

Biography Ashby, Phil. Unscathed: Escape from Sierra Leone. Macmillan Publishers, Ltd.: London, 2001.

Fiction Dooling, Richard. White Man's Grave. Farrar Straus and Giroux: New York, 1994.

Greene, Graham. The Heart of the Matter. Penguin, 1978.

Johnson, Lemuel. Carnival of the Old Coast. African World Press, 1995.

McCauley, William. The Turning Over. Permanent Press: Sag Harbour, 1998.

Children/Youth Books Carpenter, Allan and Susan L. Eckert. Sierra Leone. Children's Press, 1971.

Clifford, Mary L. The Land and People of Sierra Leone. Lippincott, 1974.

Conteh, Osman. Unanswered Cries. Macmillan Publishing Ltd.: London, 2002.

Kessler, Christina. No Condition is Permanent. Philomel Books, 2000.

Web Sites Government and Intergovernmental Organizations — Official site of the Sierra Leone Government — UNAMSIL

General Information and News — link to government, cultural, news and general information on Sierra Leone — link to Sierra Leone news — link to general information and news — link to general information and news — link to Center for Media and Technology with listing of local radio stations and newspapers — link to AISF information via the Commission on Elementary Schools

Local Holidays Last Updated: 6/29/2005 7:04 AM

New Year's Day January 1 A/SL Martin Luther King's Birthday January 17 A

President's Day February 21 A

Good Friday March/April SL Easter Monday March/April SL Independence Day April 27 SL Memorial Day May 30 A Independence Day July 4 A Labor Day September 5 A Columbus Day October 10 A Veteran's Day November 11 A Thanksgiving Day November 24 A Christmas Day December 25 A/SL Boxing Day December 26 SL

Muslim Holidays to be determined upon the sighting of the moon: Tabaski SL - In 2005 the holiday was observed on January 20 Maoulid-Un-Nabi SL - In 2005 it was observed April 21 Eid-Ul-Fitr (End of Ramadan SL) November TBD

A = American Holiday SL = Sierra Leone Holiday

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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