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The Bridge House of Sierra Leone
Bridge House of Sierra Leone

In an undated BBC News photo essay, Katrina Manson writes:

During Sierra Leone's brutal 1991 - 2002 civil war, dozens of people were executed on the Aberdeen Road bridge in the seaside capital, Freetown.

Their bodies were thrown into the fishing waters below.

While most of those who could afford to get out of the country did, others hid anywhere they could manage.

And one of the places where people took refuge away from the violence happened to be the bridge itself. Over a hundred people, we read, sought shelter there as executions took place above.

Today, the bridge is home to a family of six.

Bridge House of Sierra Leone

For such a nontraditional house, dwelling and domesticity still take on some characteristics that are all too conventional.

The entrance, for instance, is “via a rickety wooden ladder and small rectangular hole in the concrete base.” It's a porous boundary, in other words, clearly demarcated. A spatialized event.

There is a cooking area, which is presumably separate from where the family sleeps. Concerns for ornaments and a sense of ownership are evident in the wall mural containing “images of helicopters, drums, animals and black people and white people living in harmony.”

The wife cooks.

Bridge House of Sierra Leone

Perhaps in another nontraditional house in a more politically and economically stable location, one hopes to hear of their inhabitants and their mode of living changed fundamentally.

Because surely it would be interesting to find out, among other things, that after living in a private space station orbiting the moon and the earth in a figure-8 trajectory, a young married couple have decided to forgo messy genetic exchanges altogether and instead rear clones of themselves exclusively. There's something in the habitation modules vibrating in concert with the solar flares that cancels out prejudices and moral inhibitions.

And that a suburban family transplanted into cave no longer waste their time worrying about jobs or the children's education or where they sleep. Their deep, dewy and spatially indeterminate abode has inspired them to follow a metaphysical lifestyle unknown to everyone in the history of monasticism. They don't eat breakfast. They can now move as if gravity is optional.

You used to vote Democratic, but after squatting in a mall undetected for years, you now vote Republican.

Bridge House of Sierra Leone

Living in a dam would be ridiculously fun. But to hear that the only things that have changed are your mailing address and monthly mortgage payments, and that you've made yourself a generic kitchen, bedroom and salon fitted with ornaments ordered from William & Sonoma, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Ikea, respectively, could get disgustingly boring fast.

The view may be spectacular but what if the view can cause the emergence of photogenic extrahuman abilities?

  • Anonymous
  • November 8, 2007 at 4:11:00 PM CST
  • You are just misguided.Nobody was killed during 1992, but thousand were killed and thrown in the river in January 1999 by Nigerian soldiers.

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