Freetown - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Expatriate housing is very large, but the quality of the housing can vary. Weather takes a toll on all construction in Sierra Leone, with leaks a common problem during rainy season. Water and electricity are also problems, and many expats rely on generators and water being delivered to houses. Commute times are not bad, as most diplomats live near their missions, but traffic in general can be bad if you need to get through the city during rush hour. - Jan 2022

Housing is very spacious but with strange floor plans. Some of the residences are not as well-maintained as they could be but the GSO works hard to make sure any problems are taken care of. Depending on your housing assignment it can be a 10 minute walk to the embassy. Farther out can take a bit longer via car depending on traffic. - Sep 2021

There are concrete yards and 20 minute commutes in traffic where no one can drive, as a prior poster already mentioned. Others live super close to the embassy without any commute. People tend to socialize with whom they live closest, too. The houses are big, but seem to have strange layouts, and seem poorly maintained. There have been gaps in staffing, however new arrivals in Management seem to be working hard to make a difference. - May 2018

Larger than you could ever need, strange layouts and light switches that make no sense. You have 24 hour guards. Some residences are 20 minutes drive from embassy, while some are walking distance. Concrete yards for the most part. building quality is bad, expect some leaky roofs, mold is a big issue for some but not all.

The housing pool is a beast to manage I expect, but leadership is pretty unresponsive in helping you with housing issues, so DIY to your heart's content or pay a guy who knows a guy to help you out. The locally hired labor force do not have the skills to maintain to these homes (or base level work ethic to show up on time, if at all). They will come unprepared e.g. to paint without drop cloths, or to fix a sink without a wrench. Five guys will just stand around and look at the problem. The worst is when you take a day off for maintenance and no one shows up at all. Morale would increase infinitely if general repairs were more actively managed. - Sep 2017

Embassy houses are huge and close to work. Most expats live on the mountains overlooking downtown so the ocean breezes are lovely and the sunsets breathtaking. - Sep 2014

Housing is big, 3-5 bedroom homes. The layouts are sometimes hard to figure out and the workmanship overall is sub-par. A lot of work is done to make them ready for employees. All but two are on 24-hour generator power. The others get solar power that doesn't really work so they are on generator most of the time too. All that being said, most people are happy with their homes. All are in easy distance to work, except the Ambassador's house--he is the farthest away. The next group is about 15 minutes/5 miles from the Embassy. Only a few homes have yards, the rest have cement; some have garages, but most cars don't fit inside. Currently the houses are clustered in four groups, some sharing a compound, others with individual compounds but next to each other. A few are also within walking distance. - Jun 2014

Well, for Western standards, you'll pay dearly. Running water and electricity are not standard amentities. Traffic to the "suburbs" is bad during rush hour. Probably because the roads are horrible and the pot holes are massive. - Aug 2013

Housing is OK but should be improving in the next few months as newer housing is coming on line. Most are apartments 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. Newer housing should be single family stand-alones in a compound. - Sep 2010

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