© by Chad Finer
My travels in Sierra Leone were extensive. I spent two weeks hiking in the Loma Mountains, staying in tiny villages. This photo taken in March 1970 was in the small Kuranko village called Sokurella. The village was the most remote of the villages in this portion of the Northern Province, and was situated just under the highest peak in the Lomas known as Mt. Bintimani. It was in this village that my fellow hiker, Lloyd Ziegler, was briefly ill and as a result we spent some extra time here. I remember there being 3 or 4 Bondo initiates that came out from this village while we were there. One afternoon they all walked about the village dressed in these fancy beads and somewhat fancy clothes. I believe it was that evening that there was a big village celebration with singing and dancing. People came from other villages in the area to celebrate. I was fascinated by the music and dance and remember being surprised that we were allowed to be a part of this celebration. Folks from this area were friendly. This young woman allowed me to take pictures of her and her fellow initiates. In 1970 she was probably about 12 or 13 years old.