How villages get their names

As is often the case with aid workers, the etymology of the local village is a question often directed at locals. Gorama Mende proved no exception to this rule.  Our local mapper, Alieu (who was in Magburaka during the Ebola outbreak), was a resident of Gorama Mende, a region nearby to Kortuhun, Fulawahun and Kpetema. Fortunately for us our Mende-speaking friend was extremely keen to give his take on how villages, including his own, acquired their name.

In his small hut, late one night, beneath the most beautiful stars in the whole of Sierra Leone, Alieu gave this splendid explanation on etymology:

“when a child is born, they take a name, but as they grow, they might become, for instance, a fighter.”

Unfortunately, in Alieu’s eagerness to make this point, to have his say, to pronounce his take on the situation, we never got to the actual ancestral origin of Gorama Mende. We can conclude it is a name which has likely resolved over time to fit the village and its people. That said, we’d still like to learn the etymology of the village (inquisitiveness is part of every mappers DNA).

If you are able to help us get to the bottom of this mystery we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch.