Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Costs of living in Sierra Leone

I'm heading back to Mapaki this afternoon. Before I go, here's a quick post on some of the costs of living in Sierra Leone. I am finding that in Makeni and Mapaki it’s generally not too expensive - prices would be higher in Freetown. Below are prices for some basic things. All prices are in Leones (LE). The Canadian dollar is worth about 3,200 LE and the American dollar is about 3,900 LE per dollar.

Night in a guesthouse in Freetown with power, running water, clean beds and mosquito nets: 40,000 LE

Meal of rice and plasa (sauce – can be groundnut soup, cassava, beans, stew, etc.) plus a drink: 5,000 – 8,000 LE depending on the plasa and the drink

Bag of water (this is clean filtered water, about 10 L in a bag I think): 4,000 LE

500 units of time on your mobile phone (to send a local text is 7 units and to make a call during the day is 5-7 units per minute): 17,000 LE

Oranges: 500 LE for 3 oranges

5” foam mattress for a bed: 170,000 LE

Goat (mmmmm): 100,000 LE

Large bag of rice (not sure of the size, but they are big bags): 120,000 LE

Motorbike taxi ride anywhere within Makeni: 1,000 LE

Taxi ride from Makeni to Mayagba (12 miles on the highway): 4,000 LE (keep in mind that this fee is for the taxi shared with the driver and 4 other passengers – you could pay more to have the whole car to yourself – probably 25,000 LE or so, but that’s just a guess)

One hour at the internet café in Makeni: 5,000 LE

Printing at the internet café in Makeni: 1,000 LE per page

Coke in a can: 2,500 LE

Gallon of gas (3.8 litres): 14,800 LE

Star beer (the local beer): 3,500 LE

Lighter: 400 LE

Bread: 1,000 LE

Killdriver (short bread cookie - see my previous post on these. Yummy!): 500 LE

Swimming at Wussum hotel: 10,000 LE

Rent for KK and Heidi's house (a compound with 8 bedrooms plus a back house and a second building for a generator - fit with electricity and running water if you have a generator to power it.): 5 million LE per year

Many of the prices I’ve listed above are fixed prices, but some can vary because you have to bargain for them.

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