Muctaru's Blog

I am Muctaru Wurie from Freetown, Sierra Leone. I blog on a variety of subject from my homeland and most of my post feature well researched stories I do.

Posts Tagged ‘Sierra Leone Is Generous

Despite The ‘Poverty’, My Sierra Leone Is Still Generous

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For those of you who do not know much about my small beloved country, we are officially known as the Republic of Sierra Leone, located in West Africa. Bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. We have an estimated population of 6.5 million and we are according to the UNDP annual Human Development Index ( http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_SLE.html ) one of the poorest countries in the world. Truth is there is scarcity of material wealth here, but this country has never been short of basic human wealth. We have never been struck with drought; you can cultivate crops anywhere in Sierra Leone. We have abundance in marine resources, our mineral resources I need not mention because they have already made headlines several times in the international press. But above all else, the most important wealth my country has is it friendly and generous people who are always willing to help even if it cost them their last savings or food. Which they will most times give away even without thinking whether they will be able to have another in the next hour.

For a long time now visitors that have been coming to Sierra Leone from afar had been consistently saying how generous we are as a people; I remembered sometime ago a French researcher, Natacha Lemasle once told me on a visit to Sierra Leone about her admiration of people here to give out and help even though they have little or nothing at times.

Not even the decade long brutal civil war could take away that long held tradition from my country which like the United States was a melting pot for people from different nationalities. Now that long held belief is now official, according to a new ranking from Gallup’s World Giving Index; http://www.cafonline.org/pdf/0882A_WorldGivingReport_Interactive_070910.pdf

The index is based on surveys and other research on 153 different countries, which together constitute about 95 percent of the world’s population. The survey asks in part about charitable behaviours, including donations, volunteering habits and taking time to help strangers.

Based on this index, Sierra Leone is on top on the African continent and worldwide we are ranked eleven. Interesting, how comes a country termed by economists as one of the poorest of the poor come out so generous? The answer is; Gallup’s analysis of the data found that giving money is more strongly correlated with happiness than with a nation’s gross domestic product or opulence.

It is easy to see the reasons for this here in Sierra Leone, the country still has a largely extended family system in which in most cases a single person (bread bearer) takes pride in providing for many family members who are either unemployed or unable to provide for themselves. The country have a very large unemployment rate but yet still many people still manage to eke a living from others who are sometimes not even family members. They can be neighbours, friends and members of the same tribal or religious creed. This is not all, the most inspiring characteristics of Sierra Leoneans is that they just cannot stand by and see a stranger strand – whether that guest needs direction to find a location or protection, Sierra Leoneans are more willing to help. More so, a thirsty stranger can be willingly offered cold water here and an hungry one might be offered the last meal in the house even if that means the children going hungry. It is a distinguishing attribute that is conspicuous in the majority of Sierra Leoneans, Muslims or Christians, Mendes or Temnes.

The top 20 most generous are:

1. Australia

1. New Zealand

3. Ireland

3. Canada

5. Switzerland

5. United States

7. Netherlands

8. Britain

8. Sri Lanka

10 Austria

11. Lao People’s Democratic Republic

11. Sierra Leone

13. Malta

14. Iceland

14. Turkmenistan

16. Guyana

16. Qatar

18. Hong Kong

19. Germany

20. Denmark

Written by Muctaru Wurie

September 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm