“Kadiatou, you must hurry”, Says my aunt Fatoumata as we gather necessities from what was once our “home” to god knows where. I say “home” because I have never had a home.
Liberia has been in war for as long as I can remember. Every village my family and I go to gets attacked, forcing us to leave. We only bring things that we really need, last time we got attacked Grandma was wounded and left behind.
My country is in a war against itself. I have become numb to seeing people suffer and murdered. I do not know what a normal life is because this is all I know. My mother tells me stories of her childhood before our country became what It was today. Oh how I wish and dream to be alive to see my country be at peace. My mother tells me that she went to school, did very well, but also had a very fun childhood. I was fortunate enough that my mother taught me how to read from pages she found pages from a book we don’t even know the title of on the street Everytime we have to gather our things and move, I never forget them.
“Eh allah!! Kadiatou!! You want to die here for some paper!! Hurry up!” I’m the last to leave as always and we start our journey to the next village which is about 5 miles away.
We decided to rest where the rebels already destroyed. We see a couple dead bodies. The smell of blood is so strong. I am numb to sights like this.
We end up sleeping for a couple of hours until we hear rebels approaching. Their headlights shine in the darkness. We immediately play dead. Thankfully they do not fire any guns. After the rebels leave, we decide that was are cue to get back on our journey.
“Where must me go now eh? We don’t know if that was the last of the rebels to pass through this village” Says my brother Sidiki. We decide to take the chance and follow our original route.
The drier my feet get, the sorer they become. “Can we possibly rest papa?” I plead to my father. He takes one look at my feet and tells me to go on his back. I feel ashamed seeing everyone else walking , especially Sidiki.
Papa starts to sing “We want peace in Liberia…..Peace in Monrovia….. We want peace in Liberia…. Peace in Monrovia….'Cause Babylon shall not rise again... Oh, Babylon shall not rise again.” We all join in and sing this until we stop at a lake so I can wet my swollen feet.
I start to fantasize about this war being over, I think about when I will be able to take baths with hot water, soap, and have a safe sleep without hearing gunshots and screaming, fearing my life. My father interrupts my thoughts by singing more.
“No matter who wins - Liberia is crying.
No matter who lose - Liberia still crying
No matter who's right - they've got to stop the fight.
No matter who's wrong - the devil still strong.”
We find shelter in an abandoned village. I feel a bit safer now.
I dream more about living in a war free environment. I see myself in school, my teacher writing on the chalkboard. I smell the spices from the village market. I taste the sweetness of mangos from my family's mango tree. I believe before I die, I will experience peace in Liberia.