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

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

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