Former colony in (then) British West Africa. A British Protectorate from 1896 until 1961, the country gained independence and became a republic a decade later (1971). That's when it started to go all tits (In time honoured post-colonial fashion). The country gradually descended in to abject chaos and it took the old colonial masters to return in 2000, kick their miserable arrses and drag them back from the abyss.
Funnily enough, when the Royal Navy pitched up in Freetown (the capital), the country's elected head shed demanded to be recolonised by the British. Slight snag. He was rather deflated when informed that the British Empire had re-branded itself somewhat and consisted of little more than Rockall and a couple of penguin colonies in Antarctica.
Sierra Leone used to be popular with those with the differently coloured berets, but is now something of a low-profile tour. The option of a UN posting is now slim; it is Chief Ops/Int in a small international military staff at Lieutenant Colonel rank. However, the pay is good.
The UNAMSIL HQ previously employed five British officers in the rank of Colonel (COS), a slack handful of Lt Cols, a Major and eight UNMOs at either Major or Captain rank. The UNAMSIL mission ended in December 2005 and the staff was reduced to the UN Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL). Previously, UNMOs were the only ones to receive UN pay and the remainder were poor. However, now the one post left is isolated, he/she gets full UN pay. Hurrah!
That leaves the International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT). It's 70% Brit with twelve-month unaccompanied tours (normally) and you work with the Sierra Leone Army. The majority of posts are Lt Col to Capt, but there are a few WO and even Junior posts (Army Doctrine and Training News normally carries a list).
Opinions vary; there can be a lot of frustration and the country is still pretty backward and corrupt to a large degree, even by West African standards. However the accommodation is superb, and there are some magnificent beaches if that lights your candle. For those detached upcountry (mainly Infantry Brigade Advisers) it's even more primitive but most seem to enjoy the job. Up country posts do a two week rotation, with time in Freetown in between.
Oh and it comes with loan service pay (50% of your normal salary approx, but taxed) and LOA at about £20+ a day. You pay for your own food, but its cheap.
What you should consider is that: the rainy season lasts from July to December (and it's really wet and humid); the man on the street (for that's where many live) are extremely poor, making you very rich indeed; the civil war was of extreme brutality, so you don't want to get lost in a dodgy area. All in all, it's an experience like no other.
It should be noted that the reference to $10.5 million in the following letter represents the entire net worth of Sierra Leone.
Hello my dear,
Compliment of the day, I’m Mrs. Joan Buka from sierra-Leone. I picked interest on you after glancing through your short profile, I deemed it necessary to disclose this important issue. I lost my husband during the rebel attacked in 2003.
Before his death, he had an account with a bank here in Cote d’Ivoire, where he made a deposit of US$10.5 Millions Dollars. This money was for the purchase of cocoa procession machines and development of another factory, unfortunately he did not meet his target before his untimely death.
Why I contacted you, due to the agreement he had with the bank during deposit, I’ve been denied total access to the money, the bank Manager told me precisely that the money was deposited in a suspense fixed account with a clause attached to it for onward transfer into a foreign account. That the bank will follow the agreement written and signed by both (the bank and my husband). I was advised to look for a foreign account where the money can be transferred before I can have access to it.
Since security here cannot be guaranteed besides, I’ve lost my husband, I hereby ask you to do me a favour by standing as my late husband’s foreign business partner and the beneficiary of the money to enable the bank effect the transfer into your account.
I have plans to invest this money in continuation with the investment vision of my late husband, but not in this place again rather in your country. I have the vision of going into real estate and industrial production, please if you are willing to assist me and my only son Ken, indicate your interest in replying soonest.
The bank has given me requirements I should forward to them:
- 1. Your full name, contact postal address
- 2. Your phone and fax numbers
- 3. Occupation
If you agree on this, I’ll give you 15% of the total share when transferred, then 5% will be given to you if you made any expense on the cause of the transfer. Waiting to hearing from you, please once I hear from you I'll send you my pictures, also the deposit certificate the bank gave to my late husband.
Thanks for your anticipated co-operation, REPLY ME HERE:(firstname.lastname@example.org) Call me: 0022507057738