MJR Showcase: Mikko Takkunen
Our first showcase is by Mikko Takkunen, a 28-year-old Finnish photographer. I Skyped it up with Mikko while he was in London. Here is the interview and here is Mikko’s essay on adult literacy and daily life after the civil war in Sierra Leone.
LARGO, Sierra Leone – There is a huge demand for the adult literacy classes and not everybody can be guaranteed a place. Mr. Shaku Bockari, adult literacy class participant in Largo, south eastern Sierra Leone, is one of the lucky ones.
MANDU, Sierra Leone – Young boys going home after helping their fathers with burning the bush. There are no tractors, and burning the bush is the common way to clear fields for farming.
MAMBOMA, Sierra Leone – Despite working long hours, the miners can only afford a very simple lunch, in this case raw cassava root with red palm oil.
MAMBOMA, Sierra Leone – One of the reasons behind the civil war was the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels’ desire to control the diamonds mining areas. Diamonds continue to be a huge business in Sierra Leone, but very few Sierra Leonese ever get to experience any of the luxury associated with the precious stones in the West. Diamond pit owner Mr. Umaru Jalloh shows off the green diamonds which he will eventually sell to the diamond dealers in Bo.
Sierra Leone – Boy watches the dying bush fire along the highway between Bo and Freetown.
LARGO, Sierra Leone – Adult literacy class in Largo.
BO, Sierra Leone – Fatmata Sheriff and her daughter Precious. Fatmata lost both of her parents during the civil war and afterwards ended up living on the streets of the country’s second biggest city, B,o and prostituring herself to make ends meet. She became pregnant by one of her customers three years ago. Precious is now 2 years old and brings her everyday to the hairdressing workshop she is attending to learn a profession Fatmata, as there is nobody else to look after Precious.
LARGO, Sierra Leone – Poor adult literacy is a huge problem in Sierra Leone. Fortunately, some international NGOs have started to run adult literacy classes. Many of classes across the country are held in the evenings as the time is more appropriate for the participants with family responsibilities. There is no electricity and at night the students must use candles, lanterns, and torches.
BO, Sierra Leone – Fatmata Kamara, 20, lost both of her parents during the war. She never went to school as a child, but is now attending a tailoring workshop and learning to read and write in a center meant for youth affected by the war.
GBINDI – Sierra Leone – The daughter of Mr. Alpha JJ Jagetay seen under a torch light just before having supper. The village of Gbindi where the Jagetay family lives, has no electricity as do not most places outside the capital Freetown.
Copyright © 2008, Mikko Takkunen.