Waking up in Sierra Leone

"Oporto! Oporto!" Solo morning runs in Makeni, a small town in the geographical centre of the country, turn into community jogs as kids from all around the village explode out their homes to run with me.  With smiles wide and eyes full of excitement, the kids shout "Oporto" relentlessly, meaning quite literally "white foreigner".

With temperatures rapidly rising, I cut my run short, much to the disappointment of the kids. After a quick shower to provide pointless respite between bouts of sweating, I begin my daily commute strolling through the local village. My favourite time of day; cool, quiet, watching the world wake up and going about their daily routines.

Mothers washing clothes outside their single storey homes, kids waving, and hens providing the backdrop with a morning cock-a-doodle-do. It is a serene and atmospheric start to the day to wander across the red clay soil and the lush green trees. It will all be undone when I reach the main road and hit the cacophony of motorbikes.

It is the commute home where the bikes come into their own. Hopping on the back, we weave in and out of typically unpredictable traffic, passing vibrant markets in full flow, with the Call to Prayer echoing out the mosque's minarets. The much needed wind in my face provides a daily calming moment of reflection amongst relative chaos.