Can anybody enlighten me as to what goes on at BMATT Sierra Leone. I ask because my mate`s off there later this year, and he`s not a member of ARRSE. Should he pack suncream, CBA, ju-ju beads, or a machete?
he should get a bigger bank account, shed loads of books cos its dead boring, suntan lotion, Larium by the bucket load and some nose plugs for driving past the forever burning dump by the side of the road going into freetown.
oh and some steel soled flip flops to prevent getting jabbed by the millions of used needles lying around on the beach.
No then again the money is significant - double your normal take home at least, but that's what many require for 12 months unaccompanied.
On life in general, I was there 3 years ago at the outset of IMATT (its international, not British, though 80% are Brits.) Old cliche - its what you make it, being loan service the more you adapt to the locals the more fascinating you will find it, but adapting to being a West African takes some doing, those who moan simply didn't make the effort.
Its frustrating, get used to it. Things move very slowly, but the difference made, viewed over years not months, is staggering. Many of the more senior Sierra Leonians are less than honest, morals differ from those we are used to.
Socially it can be great, but again you need to go native. Some of the best beaches in the world (I never say a used needle, must be a new innovation) Travel the country in yout time off, Freetown is a cess-pit in part. Bars are superb, but very basic.
Accommodation was good when I was there, its even better now - purpose built houses in the Millionaire quarter of Freetown (above the mozzie line), rough bashas in the bush for those infanteers working up country, but then again you love it dont you?
Take larium and a good first aid kit, minor ailments are a way of life.
Don't smoke, at 30p a packet, hand carried to you door, you'll die if cancer before tour end.
All in all, the wad of cash in your pocket has a message with it and that is "its loan service pal, don't moan because there isn't a decent shopping centre or nightclub within reach".