I left at 4am and took the three-hour car journey to the capital. As I approached Freetown, the mudslide was visible from miles away. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. The sheer size of it was frightening.
It was the day I learnt that the feeling of a farewell cloaked in the shadow of death was worst than the finality of a loved one's funeral. The pain in my body in that moment far surpassed what I'd felt just nine months prior at my father's funeral. So I did not, could not, say bye when we drove away.
Why Scottish Nurse Pauline Cafferkey's Trip To Sierra Leone Is So Vital For The Ebola Orphans Still Living With The Virus' Devastating Impact
Nurse Pauline Cafferkey hit the headlines in December 2014 when she became the first person in the UK to be diagnosed with
"It's now time for there to be an official place to say if you have this problem, you can come here," says Thorpe. "We will be able to challenge the powers that be, no matter who you are, be you a lecturer, be you a president, we'll be able to take you to task. Once we begin to name and shame people, that would be an achievement."
Freetown's dramatic topography is stunning, but it also adds to the problem. The city is set back into mountains leaving limited space for the cities bulging population. This has led to the growth of makeshift housing in slum areas by the water's edge.
In the week that Kenyans went to the polls I was reminded of a morning three months ago walking through the streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone. The pace of the country's capital was not at its usual frantic level. Queues were steadily forming around voting booths, observers busy checking materials, and polling station staff working from morning to late into the night. It was the 17 November 2012, election day in Sierra Leone.
When I looked around and observed peaceful processions, people quickly reminded me that one small spark could set everything off.
Sierra Leoneans have an unrivalled ability to forgive and forget. Their focus is on overcoming the challenges of everyday life and rebuilding the country to fulfil its clear potential. The trial could be viewed as an unwelcome reminder of the past. A lot can be learnt from the civil war and I think the streets of Freetown, not The Hague, is the best place to start.
If our President is to be believed, then Sierra Leone is booming. Supported by Tony Blair and international lobbyists, he has taken this message around the world. But good PR is no substitute for the truth. When Colonel Gaddafi gifted honorary membership of the Sierra Leonean parliament, there is so clearly much that is rotten.