I must be on my way

In August, I’m leaving for YAFUAC, Yet Another Fucked Up African Country. This time, it’s Sierra Leone, which, according to the most recent human development index (HDI) listing, ranks 180th out of 182 countries measured, with only Niger and Afghanistan ranking lower. Of course, the country suffered from a civil war and, of course, is very rich in minerals and, particularly, diamonds, being amongst the top 10 diamond producing nations worldwide. In late 2009, an oilfield was discovered of the coast, meaning, most likely, many more years of tight government control and enrichment of the few at the cost of the many.
In 2009, Sierra Leone was ranked as having the 115th least-free press in the world. On the upside, the website for the Sierra Leone embassy in Belgium is simple but nice, though not conclusive as to visa requirements.

The civil war, which roughly ran through the 1990s, cost the lives of a relatively small amount of 50000 people, 5000 per year. Some calculations based on numbers from the CIA world factbook, reveal that the infant mortality rate stands at about 16000 babies per year. And also a relatively small 3300 peeps die each year from HIV/AIDS, with a fairly low prevalence rate of an estimated 1.7%, comparable to that of Thailand.

However, only a third of the adult population is literate, while the University of Sierra Leone, founded as Fourah Bay College in 1827 is said to be the oldest university in western Africa. Also, the first printing press in Africa printed its pages in Sierra Leone at the start of the 19th century.

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Niamh is going to work for GOAL, who, rather, ehm, interestingly, call their employees GOALies and an “agency dedicated to alleviating the suffering of the poorest of the poor”. So, indeed, what better a place to be in than Sierra Leone.
Niamh will be the GOAL’s Monitoring and Evaluation adviser for the country.


I figured that the number of photos stored on Flickr on a particular country is a measurement for how popular a tourist destination that particular country is. Then, you could compare this with the estimated number of tourists per country per year for the most recent year estimated and calculate their ratios.

Here are a few countries for which I did these calculations.

 Photos on Flickr (a)Number of tourists per year (b)b / a
Central African Republic4,0498,0001.98
Ivory Coast15,078180,00011.94
Sierra Leone27,50940,0001.45

The above implies that France and Ivory Coast are much less photogenic than Laos or Tanzania, as the number of photos on Flickr per tourist is higher for Laos and Tanzania than it is for France and Ivory Coast. Whether that’s really true is something else, as I suspect that there’s another factor which influences the number of uploads to Flickr for a particular country. Any ideas?

Sure, I could write a quick script that would get these stats for all countries of the world, but I’m lazy.