Though local residents, volunteers, faith groups and the community at large are proactive self-organisers and have always been the ‘first and critical emergency response’ — their contribution is often unacknowledged, thereby reinforcing the narrative that it’s only institution-led efforts that have an impact in minimising or reducing the scale of disasters.
I first heard Bruno’s name in a bar in Freetown in 2007, a year or so after his escape. A man was telling his friend of a mysterious encounter his sister had had upcountry, while washing clothes in a river. His sister, he said, had seen a mysterious hairy creature watching her from the bushes, until it fled into the forest. His companion joked that this “creature” must have been Bruno, the escaped chimpanzee.