Accommodation at Tiwai (basic): we use the research centre accommodation (basic) which has three double rooms and 4 single rooms. There are three shared bathrooms and a communal, outdoor dining area. Recently, new rounded hut-like structures were built, equipped with modern beds (some have bunk-beds).
There is a communal kitchen with gas hub, cooking utensils, water supply, loo and bathroom. Please note that electricity supply is intermittent.
Local dishes are prepared by community members for guests who wish to order meals. European dishes can be catered for if requested in advance.
Be sure to take a good torch (with spare batteries) and a hand towel. Also, pack insect repellent.
Sierra Leonean meals:
Lunches and dinners: Le 35 (Approximately £4)
European dishes such as fries/chips or rice with fish or chicken:
Lunches and dinners: Le 45 (Approximately £5)
Responsible Travel Guidelines as set out by the resident community:
As traditional Mende communities, we value our cultural, historical and natural heritage, and its continuation from generation to generation.
We therefore ask that you respect this when you come and visit our communities.
The following tips will help you understand how you can help us to strengthen our values:
* Bring a small offering for our town chiefs and village elders (Kola Nuts are a traditional gift that we have accepted from visitors from times past)
* Make sure that you ask our community members whether they are happy for their photo to be taken; and if you can, give us the photo so that we can print and
laminate it as a gift for the people you 'snapped'.
* Learn a few words of the Mende Language before you come on the journey. Your guide will be very happy to teach you a few greetings before you start your trip
* Respect the environment. Try and keep your non-biodegradable waste to a minimum when visiting us, and keep it with you until you are able to
dispose of it responsibly.
* Please interact with us, but be aware that your behavior can influence the behavior of our younger generations.
So when you are about to smoke for example, do so away from the most vulnerable members of our community.
* Bargain on prices, by all means, but be aware of the time and effort that arts & crafts makers, fruit & snack vendors, etc... put into
making their products. Fair trading = more opportunities.
* If you disagree with our behavior, or the way that we treat you, we apologise. We are relatively new at this tourism concept so we are still learning, but please tell your guide about your thoughts, and he will make sure that this is fed back
to the community in question.
* If you have any questions about our heritage, we will be very happy to share our knowledge with you, but please bear in mind that there are certain sensitivities around specific subjects (i.e. secret society practices).
If you have any questions about those, your guide will be able to direct you in the best way to gain the knowledge.
* Please respect the cultural don'ts of our region of the world such as formal greetings, not using your left hand when eating or greeting, and the respect for our elders. We are polite and will not say anything, but we could take offense.
If you have any questions, your guide will help you.