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Locating and Reconnecting with Sierra Leonean Descendants in the Diaspora | Jamaica

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Locating and Reconnecting with Sierra Leonean Descendants in the Diaspora | Jamaica

Locating and Reconnecting with Sierra Leonean Descendants in the Diaspora | Jamaica

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In July of 2015, I had the opportunity to visit Jamaica for the first time. What a feat!

Growing up in Sierra Leone, West Africa, what I knew about Jamaica was that guys like Bob Marley, Peter Macintosh, Winston Rodney (Burning Spear), Jimmy Cliff, Culture and a slew of others make some “dope” reggae music. I had always been fascinated with this island country!

Trelawny Town, Jamaica

Now here I was, decades later, visiting Montego Bay for Reggae Sunsplash 2015. A phenomenon I had always wanted to experience. While there however, mixing work with pleasure as I do oftentimes, I decided to visit some Maroons who had visited us in 2011 as we celebrated our 50th Independence Anniversary, and that I had personally met. I arranged for a private trip to Cockpit Country and specifically, Trelawny Town, where descendants of Maroons that went to Sierra Leone via Nova Scotia in 1800 and returned to Flagstaff in 1841, still live. From Montego Bay to Flagstaff took us about 2 to 3 hours. Met with Chief Michael Grizzle briefly and shared my intent as to why I was there. Six months later we coordinated the visit with members of the government of Sierra Leone and Maroon leaders.

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Amadu Massally was born in the West African nation of Sierra Leone, but he moved to the United States as a young man in order to obtain higher education. Upon his return to Sierra Leone in 2009, he became very active in governance and from the Office of the President where he worked, he was instrumental in setting up the Millennium Change Corporation office and initiated the Open Government Partnership in the country, among other things. Since 2006 he has delved in reconnecting with descendants of Sierra Leone, and the Gullahs especially. Currently he operates with a broader span that has led him to re-establish links with Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. He currently works as a Senior Consultant with the World Bank on a Sierra Leone diaspora initiative to galvanize their resources into investments back home.

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