Nothing happens at full strength, all at once. Dams don’t suddenly burst; cracks appear and deepen over time, eventually reaching a critical point when BOOM, the pressure of the water causes the wall to cave in. Marriages don’t just end after the first spat. Nobody walks out of a relationship – romantic or work or friendship – at the first hint of trouble. There is a slow and steady build up of anger and mistrust and thin lines of dissent grow into deep ridges of despair and sadness before the eruption, and the walk away.

On August 14, 2017, a mountainside in Sierra Leone began an inexorable descent into the valley below, a mudslide that swallowed everything in its wake, that buried thousands and left an already fractured country – still reeling from the recently ended civil war – in a state of shock. A conservation officer at the neighbouring Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary told me, in March this year, that  there had been several early warning signs: smaller slides, sinkholes ...

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