Archive for July, 2011

A Brief Political Dialysis of Sierra Leone: ‘The Journey So Far’!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2011 by Dante Bello

During the weeks gone by, I have observed trends in the government of Sierra Leone, so I decided to pen down some information that will give you an idea of how far this nation that was depleted by a decade plus of civil war has come since the war ended.

There is an emergence of new ideologies and a sense of patriotism that is brewing amongst Sierra Leoneans proactively going forward as the people of this tiny West African nation gathers the remnant of war converting it vices into building a united Sierra Leone that will detest the idea of war in its future lifetime and cling on to vices of peace nation that it was known for.

The re-emergence of the two historically dominant parties – SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party) and the APP (All People’s Party) has brought a new era in the political stratosphere of Sierra Leone. The SLPP had been prescribed by the one party constitution of 1978 and the APC was overthrown in 1991. With the reintroduction of multi-party governance, both parties have revamped, and power has since been alternated between them. The SLPP under the leadership of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah won the President and Parliamentary Elections of 1996 and 2002 and captured the majority of local councils in the 2004 local government elections. The APC won 6 seats in parliament in 1996, 28 in 2002 and won the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections of 2007, and the majority of local councils in the local government elections in 2008.

Another progressive development in Sierra Leone is there are also a plethora of media supporting organizations. Before the mid 1990s, there was only one media supporting organization – the Sierra Leone Association of Journalist. Presently there are over ten media supporting organizations ranging from associations of journalists, reporters, women in the media to organization supporting the production of radio programs, training journalist, and regulating the practice of journalism in the country.

Presently there are over 25 radio stations, with the government owning and controlling only one of these in Freetown. The majority of these are community radio stations increasing spaces for inclusion of local voices in issues affecting various communities and the country at large.

Another significant development for the advance of Democracy in Sierra Leone has been the establishment of novel institutions leveraging the accountability of public officials. The institutions include the office of Ombudsman, the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC), The Human Right Commission (HRC), and the Independent Media Commission (IMC). These institutions are post 1996 institutions. The office of the ombudsman provided for in the 1991 constitution but was not established until 2000 after the passage of enabling legislation by parliament. There was no Anti-Corruption Commission before its creation in 2000. The Human Right Commission is a result of the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2004 and was only established in 2007. Whilst these organizations suffer from many institutional deficits, their existence has widened opportunities for exacting accountability and transparency in the country. Accompanying the establishment of the institutions have been an impressive number of legislations and process for addressing transparency and accountability in the public financial management, money laundering, regulations and supervision of insurance, banking and other financial activities.

Two forms of local government structures exist in Sierra Leone, traditional local government structures comprising of 149 Chiefdoms in the country and modern local government structures consisting of elected city and district councils. Elected districts and town councils had been abolished since 1972, leading to over-concentration of authority to the central government in Freetown and constriction of spaces for participation in democratic structures at local levels.

With restoration of multi-party governance in 1996, the new government held wide ranging discussions of the restoration of elected local government structures. This culminated in the Local government Act of 2004 and local government elections the same year for 19 local government structures. This increases the number of elected officials in the country and created spaces for participation (through ward committee) of many ordinary citizens in the governance of their localities.

The 2007 elections were the third general elections conducted by (National Electoral Commission) NEC, NEC is generally considered credible and independent. The Commission has however relied heavily on international financial, logistical and technical assistance. This could adversely affect NEC’s institutional capacity to hold credible elections in the future.

Women constitute slightly more than half the population; but are grossly under-represented in composition of the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of government grossly under-represents this. Only 16 women are in parliament out of the total of 124. There are 3 women ministers of a cabinet of 20. None of the 14 local councils are headed by a woman.

Sierra Leone is a country moving forward. It might be fair to say that many institutions for delivering the state’s good governance and economic development obligations are new. The challenge ultimately however is to maximise and combine the work of these emergent institutions.

@DanteBello on Twitter

Some of the information and stats on this piece was courtesy of the Standard Times Sierra Leone.

Postcard from Freetown: “Random Hysteria towards Nation Building”

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2011 by Dante Bello

It has been raining heavily in Freetown lately as the monsoon rain finally takes its toll. There is not a single day that goes by without heavy rainfall. The beauty about the rainy season in Freetown is that you are never short of fresh vegetables and the city is green as you overlook the mountain right above you. We have special delicacies – like “Cucumber Ground Soup, Pepper Soup, Hot Groundnut Soup” – with some hot chilli spices mixed in with all sorts of ingredients, sure to keep your nose running and all the nerves in your system working over time!

I must say Sierra Leoneans love chilli. If I may go by my history books, we copied such tendencies from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, because we share some heritage and culture.

In the midst of some of my personal issues, I am “enjoying” being at home in Freetown. Those of you that know me know my love for technology and its convenience. Surprisingly, I have developed a coping and rationing mechanism to stay in touch with the virtual world that I am so accustomed to.

The Internet is still a luxury in Sierra Leone and people think I’m a strange creäture from Jupiter when I rant about the poor internet and communication facilities in Freetown. The bug has not caught up with Sierra Leoneans and I can’t wait for the planned fibre optic cable that will be laid across the Atlantic to aid for better internet connection and communication. This couldn’t happen soon enough!

The fact is Sierra Leone lags behind in almost all areas of its political, technological, economical, social and vocational life. This can be contested by some but judging by what I have seen in the past five months I have been here a lot still has to be done. There is a lot of work ahead for this once-glorious nation – that is recovering from war – to do to stay abreast with the world and the raves of the 21st century.

If you thought that the Nokia 3310 was dead, think again! You are mistaken because in Freetown it is a “hit”! Funny enough guys pose with it to show class or to impress the girls. If PEP Stores was in Sierra Leone they would be making loads of money with their cheap and entry level Samsung and Nokia phones – a rampant sight in Freetown. I don’t want to sound all doom and gloom, or make it seem as if Sierra Leoneans are backwards in any way. That is not the case. We do have smart phones but the number of users is quite small and the communication facilities not as advanced as they should be for some of these gadgets. They are high maintenance so only the haves can afford using them.

The Chinarization of Freetown has also cut across the telecommunications sector deeply. Chinese phones with two, three and even four SIM cards are readily available. Cell phones named “Nokai”, “SenQ”, “Samsang”, “BlueBerry” and “Soni Errikson” are everywhere. This always leaves me in stitches. The government policy of an open market with China is to blame as the Chinese are using Sierra Leone as the dumping ground for some of their substandard products. Considering their availability and low-cost people have no choice but to buy them.

Another interesting observation is that, Freetown girls are yet to discover the Wonder Bra. Some of the girls in the east end of Freetown, especially the Fula and upcountry girls don’t wear bras. As you walk along the streets of the eastern part of town, you’ll find dangling breasts and pointed nipples galore. The fashion colour commotion is another torture I face daily. If you think the Rainbow Nation has issues, you ain’t seen anything! The situation is a catastrophe as girls break and reinvent fashion rules that would have my fashionista friend Dumi Gwebu paralyzed in hysteria!

The social life in Sierra Leone also needs some serious upgrading. There are not many clubs around town so you have to travel to the outskirts of Freetown to the west end to places like Lumley Beach and Wilkinson Road. This is the only way to experience real night life. Pubs are everywhere but not up to the standard in Johannesburg.

What gives me hope about this city is that the people have embraced the present and are working tirelessly for a brighter future. So much has to be done but each day as Sierra Leone rises with the sound of the cock crowing the people face the day head on. The challenges are there but the people keep working to restore what is left of this city and that is my joy.

As I put my pen down it is fair to say that many of these things are new. Sierra Leone has been out of touch with the world for over ten years. Bu finally we are back in the grind. Peace reigns and yes it will take some time for this nation to catch up with the modern world. The challenge that remains is to maximize and combine the work that is being done as we march forward on this path of nation building.

@DanteBello on Twitter


Postcard from Freetown: “The Reunion With My Foster Mum”!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 20, 2011 by Dante Bello

Yesterday, I went to visit my foster mum in Wilberforce in the west end of Freetown. The western area of Freetown is less congested, clean and has a cosmopolitan vibe about it that detoxes you from the hush lifestyle in the east end side of town. Life is not fast paced as in the main city center but things get decently done without much fracas. In the western area you will find colonial (board/wood houses) with vintage windows and doors that dates back to the 1800’s and 1900’s, it is the trademark of the Krio people.

In the Western area of Freetown you have big corporations, the UN Special Court, The American Embassy, and British Embassy, Consulate offices of other countries and multi-nationals companies. It is also home to expatriate and the haves that can afford to live in houses with high wall fences with security guards and dogs barking as your approach the gates. Fortunately I was privileged to have grown up on this part of Freetown and the memories came alive as I visited my foster mum. It was an emotional reunion and we had to catch up on lots of issues; it has been fifteen years since we separated.

As the car approached the house which I grew up in, tears fall uncontrollable from my eyes, my head space flooded with childhood memories, I could not help myself because I never thought I would see this day after such a long time. I was nervous because I could not fathom in my head the state my foster mum would be in but I was upbeat that she would still be healthy and active as I have always known her. Finally we were there, the dogs started barking as I opened the gate and there she was, looking old in her trademark Krio mama costume. The wrinkles on her face are beautiful, it shows her journey, happy memories of all the things that made her smile. Mum’s white skin looked frail but I can tell it is due to her old age and all her “scars” made her look more beautiful as a testimony of all the struggles she had overcome and the beautiful soul she is.

She gave me the warmest hug of my life, for over two minutes she held me in her arms, she looked into my eyes and her beautiful wrinkled face sent chills to my spine, the message was; “I am here, I know your pain, I know your struggle, I know what you’ve been through, I am here for you and everything will be alright.” As we sat down in the house which is still the same as it had always been, few changes here and there but it felt good to be home where I grew up when I was a kid. She took me to my room and to my amazement, most of my kid stuff is still in that room, my books, soccer balls, school uniforms, toys, graffiti, cartoon movies and memorabilia that I never thought would still be available.

Memories fall, love restored, pain smelters in peace. I felt satisfied and my life had a whole new meaning again. We walked around the houses as we chatted on and related on all levels. I told her about her grandson Malakai and the complications of me not being there for him as he grew up. She looked at me in the eyes and said: “I brought you up well and I am proud of you and you will be part of Malakai’s life in due season.” She said; live life now.

We had lunch and spent the better part of sundown walking around the house talking and as I familiarized with the surroundings all over again before it was time for me to go home. Her motherly advice was relished as I poured my heart to her and all the mistakes I have made and learnt from. My pain, my desires and dreams for life and in these moments, she held me close to her chest with no iota of judgement whatsoever. Like they say in Salone“bad wata nor dey for trow way bad pikin”, her assuring words were a sources of comfort.

I look back at my life and all I have been through these past five months and things are beginning to make more sense now. My coming home makes more sense to me now than I ever thought it would. The bitterness and anger have subsided and all my worries of the things I left back in South Africa have faded off as I lay all at the masters’ hand to deal with. I have forgiven myself, karma indeed has rewarded some of the bad decisions I made in life but when I take stock of these rewards so far, it has been worth the while and I will never exchange it for anything whatsoever.

To everyone reading this postcard if there is anything I want you to get from this is to be open to life and let it happen to you. We tend to obstruct life sometimes thereby missing the purpose of why we are here. We only live once, live in the now and forgive yourself, love yourself, cherish family and love humanity.

Sierra Leone is my home and I am so glad to be home to this wonderful Peninsula like of a country. The mountains give me hope that there are more hills to climb and with life, I can make it to greater heights. The crimson river dripped and has been checked; the tears dried up and hope resounds. Let me announce to you – I am ready to take on the world!

@DanteBello on Twitter

Postcard from Freetown: “It is Time for Men to Make the Sacrifices”

Posted in Uncategorized on July 19, 2011 by Dante Bello

Yesterday I posted on Twitter – “it is time the men start sacrificing for women” and to my surprise I had a couple of mentions and retweets that appeared interesting and funny. What surprised me the most was the way some of my followers interpreted that tweet to the “love factor.” I must confess as I wrote down that tweet, love was the motive, as in men making sacrifices to love and respect their women more. As I review it further I decided to look at it from another vantage point.

I decided to look at the present day Sierra Leone and the women struggle that is presently going on. Let me categorically state that women in Sierra Leone are voiceless; they have neither public life nor a political one. This I see as a tragedy considering I am a self proclaim advocate for the emancipation and rights of women in all spheres of societal life. I believe women should compete for resources and jobs with men and the merit factor looked at instead of gender based on misconstrued cultural norms and rhetorics that we all are familiar of. It is time that we men stand with our women in fighting this battle of equal opportunities in all aspect of our socio-economic life. Sierra Leonean men need to understand that this is crucial for our country’s future as it is to our women.

In my five months of being in Freetown, I have read and seen women groups robustly pushing Government to establish and pass laws to increase the representation of women in public life. Sierra Leone is a developing country but poverty is rife. For a country where male dominance is widespread and entrenched, unsurprisingly, the inequalities women face is severe. Life expectancy for women in Sierra Leone is 40 years. Women face poor access to education, health facilities and discrimination of all kind and even in the job market. Men still beat women in this country, sexual harassment as well as rape accounts for some of the problems women face. It is a shameful omen to see men raising their hands on women in the 21st century and when it is reported to the police the normal stupid norm is: “it is a family matter, go home and settle it”

In 2007, the Government passed a law to protect the rights of women. The law covered areas of domestic violence, registration of customary marriage and divorce and devolution of estates. Also according to what I have heard from some quarters, the Parliament will pass a law to force politicians to increase the opportunities for women politically. I must say that these are steps in the right direction but I am more skeptical as we Africans have issues with implementations of the law and policies. So I am patiently waiting to see the reality of these policies affecting the women cause progressively.

The population of women surge towards the 51% and if a minimum of 30% quota the women rights groups are pushing for is given, there will be more opportunities for women in the country in all sectors of the economy. But then again which women will benefit more? With the high level of illiteracy among women one wonder if this quota is in line with priorities for the rural women.

The fact is we still have anti-female men among us and the irony is we have anti-men campaigners among women also. Some goes as feminist and rally under the banner of feminism portraying men as the problem or even the “enemy”, and this present another problem of resistance for the women’s cause. I believe if we can get every “Salone Pikin” to rally around each other and make the country a priority and shred away from all these elements that will create tension, progress is not very far.

This mentality that says a woman’s job is to raise kids and that is what they do best is so backwards, “it cracks my spine in disgust.” For those who are clamouring for things to work that way please wake up and smell the coffee. History has clearly shown us that women have contributed more to our society than just bringing up children. Mama Yoko during the colonial rule in the late 19th century had power and influence to challenge military regimes and fought for peace. At the height of the civil war, women organized, what was believed to be the largest march across Sierra Leone, calling for peace. They succeeded. They rebels and Government listened. These women brave action also resulted in the historic signing of the 1999 Lomé Peace Accord. Till this present day, peace and stability has visited the country.

I believe the role of women in all aspect of the Sierra Leonean life is important if development is to take place. Socio-economic development is needed in this country and we need the women to pioneer this agenda. Better than not, the role of advocacy women play in society cannot be overlooked. Sierra Leone women and girls have the right to fight for equal rights and opportunities and it is now for us men to make that sacrifice and make sure that it becomes a living reality for our women and stop this melodramatic and rhetoric mis-education that religion and tradition has feed us with and see the bigger picture. Behind every successful nation there is unity and equality between men and women – take Rwanda for example. So I urge all Sierra Leoneans and the rest of Africa to join in this battle for gender equality across Africa with the bigger picture in mind.

@DanteBello on Twitter

Postcard from Freetown – Where are the fathers?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 17, 2011 by Dante Bello

I woke up this morning to a wet Freetown, the monsoon rain is finally here. We will be experiencing three months of it and my favourite part is the emergence of fresh fruits in the city. Fresh fruits from “up-line”, a Sierra Leonean lingo for rural area or village will be readily available everywhere.

Over the weekend amazing things happened. I got a surprise call from my “aunt” in the UK informing me that my foster-mother is in town and it was like a dream come true because I have dreamed for this day to come for over fifteen years and finally it is here. Nevertheless as I sat reminiscing on the memory of my childhood and the love I receive from my adopted mother Miss Doherty it brought to light the thought of my son Malakai growing up without me presently and my want to be part of his life. Heartbreaking I must say but then we have today in Freetown so many kids out there without fathers, no hero or someone to teach them the tenets boyhood and manhood. My heart sunk and I decided to bleed on the canvas again. Writing this postcard was hard because this is something I am very passionate about.

I have realized that one of the greatest deceptions in our society presently today is the notion that men are hurting over women. There are exceptions,
but you find that we are not grieving over our mothers or our wives. Majority of us men miss our fathers. It is from them that we most often draw our strength, our weakness, our pleasure and our unbearable pain. Somebody has stolen our heroes and they are nowhere to be found. Some left the day we were born and they never looked back ever since. Some are there but are practically vegetables like my dad, he is as good as dead but then I still love him because he is my father.

Absentee fathers and deadbeat dads have littered this nation with confused
sons and angry husbands. Millions of bitter and abandoned young men are growing into men without mentors. How can we expect them to touch hurts and needs in others like “real men” when their own deep hurts have never been healed?

There is a void of longing and brokenness in the men of my generation; it has spawned a raging flood of conflicts, promiscuity, perversion and domestic violence. Broken and hurting sons are asking their fathers for a deposit of true manhood, but their fathers are bankrupt and no one has made a real deposit in them! I ask where are the fathers?

It is painful to admire someone who isn’t there. A one-sided love affair is never fulfilling. Empty arms do not offer a heart-warming, reassuring hug.  Empty arms only reflects the emptiness of a son who took the risk to open himself up, only to be rejected and discarded on the abandoned porch of a broken home. Why was daddy not there to help fix the home with mummy?

Our young men have grown weary of playing sports before empty bleachers. As toddlers, they carefully colored pictures and proudly brought them home, but Dad wasn’t there to admire their work and reward them with a father’s priceless praise. Now, at the end of their hope and childhood, they have thrown away their coloring books. They have angrily punctured their footballs and bought guns and in Sierra Leone the rebel war was an excuse
for some to show this anger. They have grown tired of dancing to haunting melody of manhood alone now they are abusers and rapists.

Our young men are dying in anger and pain, wondering “what did I do to drive my daddy away?” A father is an image of a young man’s destiny. A living testimony of what time may bring to pass. Dad is our first definition of masculinity. His absence leaves us desperately looking for someone else to “fill in the blanks” If the church, the mosque, your spiritual affiliation does not do it, the gangs and drug lords, will do it. Empty sons will always look for someone or something to fill in the blanks left by the father who isn’t there and don’t intend to ever be there.

Well – tailored dark suits and vibrant silk ties cannot drape the gaping void of the empty blanks on the broken hearts of men. Even the most voluptuous of fast-paced and lace-clad women cannot console the anguish of masculine tears blocked and cries muffled. Broken men try to mask their hurts behind empty emblems of success, but hidden behind those frail facades are screaming hearts bound in a forced silence. They all share a common thread of desperate need, a familiar hollowness that traces their broken places and the jagged edges of nearly emasculated men.

A crimson river drips unchecked from the wounded hearts and hidden places of modern men. We hide behind our masquerades and attempted acts of chivalry, then like little boys, we brag about sex, though we have never known true love. We long for a tender touch, but are afraid of tenderness. We want to be strong enough to be leaned on, yet tender enough to relate to the pain of others. Can the wounded heal the hurting? I ask where are the fathers?

Where are the fathers?

@DanteBello on Twitter.

Postcard from Freetown: The epistle of questions!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2011 by Dante Bello

I woke up this morning to a breezy Freetown; the Atlantic Ocean is opposite my window pane, from a distance it seems calm, as streams of water flow gracefully. The sun is out intensely shining brightly in a golden-yellow kind of ambience. In my mind it’s like the heavens decided to flaunt it beauty on me, breathtaking sight I must say.

Freetown is a beautiful city, very green and mountainous in nature. From all angles you want to look at it, this city was built on top of rocks, on a high and low elevated plain surrounded by beautiful trees and rocks that will keep you spellbound. The Peninsula view is awesome so much that standing on an elevated area, what you see is like Freetown is in a ditch surrounded by beaches and water. You can never get enough of this place if you are keen on nature and its givings.

So let me be quick to say, I am still on that “hell yeah, it was worth it” vibe of my last postcard but this time I decided to randomly explore some sages within me. Don’t expect solutions but questions that will provoke your thinking about life as earthlings.

Lying on my bed overseeing this wonderful view from my window, I am filled with bold and naked emotions. I ponder as these thoughts keep banging in my head for attention. “We often strongly condemn others for the very thing we are most guilty of ourselves.” That is the title deed of hypocrisy which we are all culprits of in some way. I must say, I am guilty of doing this sometimes, aren’t we all?

Fortunately enough I have realized that anytime we have no goals on sight, it is easier for others to impose their ideas of who we are or not, and of what we should and should not be doing. “Manipulation is as a result of purposelessness”. Ironically anytime we don’t know and understand our purpose, we become vulnerable to the manipulation of self and by others.

I stare at the sun, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with the cold breeze still blowing and the freshness of nature’s scent from the lush green trees seducing my mind, out of the blue these questions came; “who are you Dante? Who are you when nobody is looking? Who you are when all the “camouflage” is off? Who are you when you don’t have an ego to defend, when you have nothing to prove to anyone? Who are you when you are not concerned about who is driving the nicest car, who owns the biggest house in the neighbourhood or who makes the best business decisions amongst your mate? Who are you aside from all the limitations in life”? I sigh at myself. Haven’t you ever wondered why you are still here on planet earth? How did you make it through everything you’ve gone through? Do you really think it’s because you were that slick, gifted, smart, or cool? You owe it to yourself to wrestle your conscience until you find out the truth about who you are!
It is difficult to handle the pressure and stress of being everyone’s hero all the time, to act like a man or a woman when you feel like a boy or a girl on the inside. We have so many of these types these days. It is perplexing to comfort other people when you wish there was someone who would comfort you too when you need helping hands. I guess there has to be a place where we can go, where there is no need to impress anyone, a place where we are not expected to be super humans but humans expressing our vulnerability and from my point of view, I call that place, home.

As the sun settles down for the nightlight to take it shift, my mind begins to retire into chaste and slumber. It dawn on me that sometimes we invest ourselves in our pain, forgetting to nurture the things that can make us grow beyond our challenges. As I close my eyes looking at the sun settling down, deep within me, I am still soul searching for answers to these questions.

We all have questions unanswered in our lives and it is of importance that we find our way to that space where we can indulge in dialog with the self and find our own truth. Each day as I walk within this city, I keep on finding answers to the aforementioned questions on the daily experiences that life throws at me. This path is a narrow one and I am so willing to see what is on the other side for me. My desire is to see you on the other side living your own truth. Keep searching.

@DanteBello on Twitter

 

Postcard from Freetown: “Hell yeah! It was all worth it”

Posted in Uncategorized on July 15, 2011 by Dante Bello

I decided to take a break from my daily walk around the city of Freetown and rather try to listen to my intuition and reflect on all I have been through these past five months. I never started this year thinking I will be home so soon but as fate will have it, nemesis catch up with me and coming home was my last choice. As I ponder upon issues, my pen was close by me and the canvass was empty, I decided to write you a postcard that is quite unusual from what you have been reading and here is what I was able to pen down.

Clustered in the midst of fused confusion, in the naked space of where the non-existence of my fears resides to the place beyond the reality of my mind. I stand from a distance looking at the world between the shallow and polarized minds of society.

I laugh at the buffoonery of your fake smile, it makes me wonder why the deception, when we eat and sleep together in the same tent. Why the envy, when all that I have, is the produce of my hard work and talent? Why envy and why the hate? Why the arrogance when pride comes before a fall? It is astonishing to sometimes see the foolishness of the mind and at the same time the wisdom within it is enlightening.

I have grown from a boy to a man; it seems like yesterday or the day before. All the “bling, bling” and “big toys” I yearn for as a young lad I am now fed up of. I am still empty on the inside, a deep void and ache lingers on in my soul, as it dawn on me that “the simple things in life is all that matters and happiness is a state of mind, it does not depend on your possessions, fat bank account or on your boyfriend or girlfriend”. Happiness has to come from within, in other to achieve that, start doing you.

Ponder upon this for a minute… “Would society give you permission to be who you are without categorizing or tagging you by what they see? Must you live up to some image that society created for you to conform to? Can society accept the fact that you a combination of many different types of “dysfunctions” bound together within one house to make your imperfections perfect?”

Isn’t it amazing how brokenness in one area in our life can rob us of our rightful success and imprison us in a valley of regrets, a silent place where no one can hear our pain or ease our sorrow? I could have been… I should have been… He must have been… She must have been… I thought he was the man for me… I thought she was the woman for me rhetoric’s… What a hectic space to be in. I’ll say gather your loins, pick up the pieces and start again, it is never too late. I am doing it right now, painful but the reward I cannot wait to receive.

This is the reality; somethings won’t go away completely. They just won’t disappear. Therefore, I am proud to say that even our failures are successes! They represent the miracle that you and I have survived! Considering what you had to work with, the odds against you, though it looks like failure, we survived all of that and our survival is our success.

“Your position can overcome your condition”! But every time we have to silence our conditions because of our positions, our hidden wounds and problems begin to fester. We become angry and “throw” away everything we have. “In desperation, we make permanent decisions about temporary circumstances.” Circumstances that we would eventually outgrow if we have had someone to confide in. My spirituality has anchored me to the place of self-realization and purpose. I am open-minded and I now understand that my purpose is of greater essence than my “profession” or of any man or woman thoughts about me.

Life is more meaningful and short because now I appreciate the simple and little things that life offers me daily. The privilege to wake up every day, the opportunity to have a job (oh well, “I am jobless for now”) and for the fact that my body functions as a unit, is amazing. In all of this, I am still breathing in the midst of the human rat race and backstabbing.

Being grateful to all that I am and have, has released me to be free to pursue my destiny. Life is intriguing and unfair but the gift to rise up and face it every day is all that you have to make a difference. I am smiling because when I look back at this past five months of my life, since I left Johannesburg unannounced, I ask this question, was it really worth it? And the answer is, hell yeah, it was all worth it!

@DanteBello on Twitter.