Since the end of April when winter semester concluded, I have been researching the civil war in Sierra Leone. The purpose of my research is to establish some background knowledge for the new book I hope to write–a narrative about Josephine and her family’s flight from Liberia and Sierra Leone. Josephine was born in the middle of the war–in 1992–just as it spilled over from Liberia to Sierra Leone. She lost both of her parents (missing) and was taken in by her aunt, Matilda. It’s a fascinating story with a happy ending, and I hope it will make an interesting book.

So far, I’ve read a handful of books on the war in Sierra Leone, including Greg Campbell’s Blood Diamonds, In the Land of the Magic Soldiers by Daniel Bergner, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone by David Keen, A Mother’s Saga by kamorah Kabbah, A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, and a couple of others. All interesting, all informative, and all deeply disturbing.

I’ve also been using Twitter (through Tweetdeck) to learn a bit more about Sierra Leone. In addition to sources like the BBC and the Sierra Leone Web, Twitter has provided me with a surprising amount of information. I search Twitter for tweets that mention “Sierra Leone.” Someone tweeted an MSNBC article citing a World Health Organization report that found life expectancy for Sierra Leonean men to be the lowest in the world at only 39. Never thought of using Twitter for research purposes, but there you go.