The last childish and innocent memory she recalls was the one of the twins’ birthday party. The one with the huge Mickey Mouse Cake. Sitting for the official exams was the last stressful memory she had. After that, everything happened quickly, as if in a blockbuster movie. War, bombings, refugees, ships, sinking ships, crying children, sad goodbyes, tearful mothers, angry and helpless people, long journeys, new beginnings, humble return to the motherland …
There is a huge Lebanese community in Sierra Leone. Some families have been there for ages and some were relatively new. She was born there. Went to school, had a few selected friends, went to the beach on Sundays, talked to the waves, and learned how to play the piano.
This is all she knew. This is her life.
Civil war reached Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Plans to leave the country were in place. Except, when you have thousands of people desperate to leave, in a country at war with itself, things get a little confusing. The only ‘safe’ way to get out was by sea. 12-hour waits under the sun for a turn to get on a rescue ship repeated over four days, eight people living in one hotel room, getting separated from her father, surviving in a foreign country thanks to good people’s kindness, leaving behind friends and mentors, no goodbyes, no contact information for anyone, reaching a homeland with no home, seeing her family disbanded and almost brought to financial ruin.
And now, she writes this. Thankful for being alive. Thankful for being surrounded by family and friends. This is 16 years later. One thing she did not intend to do though, was have a huge chunk of her memories buried so deep, that she lost all connections to her past self. No trackback. There were no bread crumbs to follow to find herself again. Or were there?
Previous post about this matter: Surviving Stolen Memories