Postcard from Freetown: Good to be Home but there’s a Lot of Work Ahead

It is getting all tropical in West Africa; the raining season is over as the Freetown skies lit up each morning with grey blue skies and silver lining clouds shining in blissful ambience.

Most mornings in Freetown you’ll wake up to the soothing wind kissing your face as you open your window pane, so refreshing that getting out of bed seem impossible. Inhaling nature’s freshness is a relishing treat, a gift of nature worth cherishing each passing day in Freetown.

Freetown has been good to me in a way – I am reconnecting with old friends, making new ones and being all random, taking things as they come – the amazing reality is it is good to be home in any case.

I am beginning to understand more about myself and the diversity in my humanity and the tenacity of depth in me as I evolve in handling my challenges – choosing my battles wisely about the things I can control and those that are beyond me – I guess it comes with age – Oh well it’s not like I am that old though.

I feel so free after years of living under the shadows of issues that once held me back from exploring higher heights in life in South Africa – I am happy for what happened to me during the start of the year that led to me coming home – honestly I am – with no regrets whatsoever.

I have somehow lived a befitting life, taken from no man – I have seen it all, been there done that, got the T-Shirt. But the more I get older the more I realize so much that is evolving that I need to know, understand and experience in life – basically the deeper you go into life, the more there is to know – it is an unending experience.

It has been one helluva of a journey home, seeing my dad again and reconnecting with him after years of being apart – the “hate” and the resentment I had for him had since dissolve when I made a conscious choice to let go off the pain and embrace him in love and be the change I wanted to see in him – So far we are a bit distant apart, but getting closer little by little, doing things together in common and talking often – I guess it is a sign that things can only get better.

My sisters have been marvellous, they are a true blessing since I have been back home – they’ve grown, big girls they are I tell yah, but each day we tie our bond of loving one another, reminiscence the sages and stories our late mother taught us when we were growing up – It feels so amazing now that I am more grateful to have come home than I was feeling few months back – It all makes sense now that if I had resist what the universe was lining up for me I would have somehow missed these priceless moments.

Let me switch my thought to something else and share with you my recent discoveries in Freetown – I am sure you’ll like to know as the postcard series continues, though I have not written much about it lately.

Generally, “Sierra Leone is a broken country” – rebuilding her will not be an easy task but it is very much possible. Each day as I walk around Freetown I see sons and daughters that are angry, people are vexed with life – poverty is eating the centre core of our people’s life in this country despite the government relentless effort in trying to provide the basic amenities of life for its citizens and the amount of mineral wealth and fertile land for agricultural that we are abundantly blessed with. “Everybody wants to make it big in a quick – hush-hush way…”

When you walk around Freetown, you’ll see able bodied young men, well educated people roaming the streets aimlessly – some have somehow given up on life as their seem to be no bleaker of hope in them that things will improve someday – “There are no jobs in this town.” The few jobs that are here is like the scramble for Africa – everybody is trying to make sure that they get a piece of it because it is not enough in the first place to go round.

The truth is, – Sierra Leone is way behind in all aspect of life – it is like the plus decade of civil war stole everything from this country – seriously though, it did or how else can one explain her present challenges?

I live in a society where in the 21st century people can still have the audacity to stone another person for example because of their sexuality and lifestyle preferences – it is like we are living in medieval times – Ha! You sure do know we have a big problem in our hands in educating people about the freedom of choice and the right of each person to choose the way they see it fit to live their lives as long as it does not hurt anyone.

Sierra Leoneans in general are so comfortable with what they know that anything else outside that foray of their comfort zones will be rejected – in short, it must benefit them or else take it somewhere else or they’ll frustrate your effort till it is all messed up.

Tribalism and nepotism are like two inseparable prostitutes in this country. The qualified and experienced hardly get the job – “it is about who you know and not what you know” and what tribe or part of the country you are from – the worst is, if they realize you’ve lived outside the country before – it is perceived; “you are well to do and do not need a job” – imagine such gibberish – A complex crass of a people is the best description I can give them.

Sierra Leone is littered with street kids everywhere – there are estimated to be about fifteen thousand of them in Freetown alone, up country not included – these are kids with no father figure in their lives, they scavenge during the day for food and at night they commit petty crimes and sleep anywhere the dead of the night meets them.

Teenage pregnancy is like a burst water pipe splashing water everywhere – Kid are giving birth to kids – it makes no sense that a 12 years old who depend on her parents for her schooling and upkeep is giving birth for a 16 year old boy who also depend on his parents for his upkeep – so who is going to take care of who?

Single parenting is on a high rise in this country, fathers are nowhere to be found, and even if they are around – they’re not capable of taking care of their family – the burden now rest on the shoulder of the woman – being the kind of creäture women are – they never stop to carry the family regardless of the pain and struggle – I take my hat off to all of y’all.

I get so emotional at times when I look at the present day Sierra Leone from where we were before the war – everything has been broken, it is messed up here but the resilience of the people to fight on bring chills to my spine – the few dedicated Sierra Leoneans keep working tirelessly, pulling their resources together to get this country going forward.

Kudos to President Koroma for a job well done so far though a lot more is on the cards to be done – if we have ten of his kind right now – I am certain we would have been seeing more progress of what is he doing – nevertheless Aluta Continua – Sierra Leone must surely rise again to her once glorious state.

I hope that all these effort to rebuild Sierra Leone will yield in due season all that the war has taken from her – it is my desire to see people getting up from their comfort zones, get their hands dirty and start working for the betterment of this country before posterity judge us wrongly.

I have hope in you Mama Salone – Still you rise.

@dantebello –Twitter


One Response to “Postcard from Freetown: Good to be Home but there’s a Lot of Work Ahead”

  1. I didn’t have to pursuade my eyes much to sprint after your scribings. What an emotional storm to brave through! But thankfully the sail is steady, the vesel is strong, and the captain is strong. I am sure you’ll soon reconnect the broken fuses, and it shall be light again between you and your family.

    Going through your portrait of Freetown, I found it hard relating it to the once desecreted Sierra Leone. It shows how much you love your motherland. My respect to you for opting home at last. Personally, I have little respect for brave exiles, they who become experts on their country only when they are abroad, never mind that they could have been away for decades! Wise move Dante, you remind me of the writer; Adelaide Casely-Hayford who made a similar trip back to Freetown ages ago. Like she did, education for the youth, especially girls, I hope you’ll do likewise. At home, we see ourself as we are and not as we are told.

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