Thursday, August 03, 2006
My memories about home
Like many refugees or exiles, I find it very difficult to dismiss memories of my home. When one flees a war zone, all that one often takes are memories of painful occurrences and otherwise. Many store these memories as images of the world left behind. Some keep them as stories worth telling later on. Images or memories followed us wherever we go and can define and shape our dreams and choices. Sometimes too, the paths we choose in life are strewn with discarded images of our past and our conversations with others are colored by our past experiences.
I grew up experiencing poverty. Many days, I went to bed hungry or felt asleep shivering from the cold. Some blessed individuals felt sorry for me and had to go against their way to stretch helping hands to me. Poverty, however, remains a harsh reality for people who are plagued by civil war and other humiliating problems. I was forced to flee home in search of security in another country. My thoughts were enticed by promises of a better life in refuge or another country. I was among hundreds of Liberians that sailed to Ghana aboard the famous leaking Nigerian vessel “M/V Bulk challenge” as a result of the outbreak of violence amongst factional leaders in Monrovia on April 6, 1996. The overcrowded refugee camp of Buduburam and Sanzulee became a breeding ground for poverty. My life in refuge became filled with disappointments.
A case in point, I want to remember my home “Liberia”, one of the most visible symbols of my lifestyle in a way that may seem intangible. Prior to the rebel incursions, I visited lower Lofa County almost every vacation. When I did, I passed through several villages and thousands of inhabitants, men and women, young and old, farmers and wine tippers, hunters and fisher men walked along unpaved roads with bear feet carrying their life possessions in homemade bags. They disappeared in mud houses covered with tithes. It is not long before these wine tippers, farmers and hunters find themselves back on the unpaved roads with their spirit very different from the ones they had gone with. Often, I stopped, looked, greeted and introduced myself as the last son of the paramount chief of bopolu. Bopolu is the provincial capital of Gbapolu county “one of the most recent created counties in Liberia”
There are so many memories that capture my imaginations on the daily basis. When a lot has been said about my memories, my home still remains questions to which I must find answers. My imaginations brings to me not only painful memories to think about. There is also a problem of reconciliation. This beckons a number of questions:
1. Why are there so many people roaming the streets of Monrovia in search of food or survival while others ride or drive flashy cars?
2. How do young people, farmers, wine tippers and ordinary people view the aftermath of the war?
3. What social constrains did the war abandoned?
All that am presently left with is memories about my home. I pray that the lord “almighty” shower his blessings upon my home.
By: Sam K zinnah