The incredible story of Augustine Kanjia continues … Tragedy Falls on Our Doorstep

We had become very popular with the brewing and sales of our “omolé,” Sierra Leone’s answer to moonshine. My grandmother had made it her priority so we could build our big, new house and I could attend school.

Augustine Kanjia

It had nine rooms, but we occupied only three so far. It had hardly any concrete; it was made of mud. Rats could easily dig through to make themselves at home, too.

It was past time for the completion of our house, and for me to focus solely on school. The rainy season was fast approaching, and we were very close to finishing. At the same time, it was difficult going to the bush for the omolé during the rains, but Soba Peppah, my grandmother, knew we needed it, so we fought hard. Police interference was overwhelming, but we knew how to avoid it.

Until it came to our doorstep.

The trade became popular. Retailers popped in and out of our unfinished house. But the more who came, the sooner we could finish. My grandmother said she would buy cement to plaster the outside, but that was farfetched. She only did the inside of the rooms that mattered to her. Many people came to rent. She also brought in people who had appalling stories like ours.

One day, one of our customers, who purchased for her own daily consumption, came and bought a lot of omolé and left.

Not long after, it was a surprise when she was seen struggling to cross Kanjia Street to zoom into our house. She barely made it. Upon arrival at our house at 3 Senessie St., she fell and died. She’d vomited blood. Our neighbors shouted aloud, “Omolé don killam,” meaning in English, “She was killed by omolé.”

Augustine’s last chapter:  School and Home Collide  Or scroll down to catch up on earlier posts in the remarkable tale.

Worcester Weekly: Worcester City Tournament, Social Upheaval + more, Nov. 12-18

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Tuesday, Nov. 14 — Worcester Railers vs. Brampton Beast, 10:05 a.m., DCU Center, 50 Foster St.  Consider this a rivalry game, Railers fans — the Beast are the ECHL affiliate of the hated Montreal Canadiens. And while the new hometown team is aligned with the NHL’s New York Islanders, a) they don’t like the Canadiens much either (who does, eh?) and b) this is still Bruins country. So sharpen the elbows and bring on the intensity for this one.

Railers goalie Mitch Gillam, 25 — and Canadian, but not a Canadien — who started the last three seasons at Cornell University, is among the ECHL leaders in goals against average (first, at 2.00, after Friday’s games) and save percentage (eighth, .929).

Clark Grad School of Management

The Quad [Nov. 12-18]: Four things to know from Clark, Becker, Assumption and Anna Maria

Have campus news you or your college or university organization would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to send a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and point Sun members your way.

Clark Graduate School of Management named a ‘best’ b-school by Princeton Review

The Graduate School of Management at Clark University is an outstanding business school, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company profiles the school in its 2018 annual business school rankings online.

According to Robert Franek, Princeton Review senior VP/publisher, “We recommend The Graduate School of Management as one of the best to earn an MBA. We chose the 267 on-campus MBA program schools on this list based on our high regard for their academics and our assessment of institutional data we collect from the schools. We also solicited and greatly respect the opinions of 23,000 students attending these schools who reported on their experiences at their schools on our 80-question student survey.”

Inbox [Nov. 12-18]: News and notes from Worcester Public Library, Bravehearts, Bancroft School, DA, Unitarian Universalist Church, ACE

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

Library to hold two information sessions about renovation

The Worcester Public Library will hold two public presentations about the upcoming main branch renovation project.

The public is invited to learn more about the project and how it will affect the library experience.

Quinsigamond ribbon cutting

The Quad [Oct. 29-Nov. 4]: Four things to know from Assumption, Clark, Becker and QCC

Have campus news you or your college or university organization would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to send a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and point Sun members your way.

CNN faith and religion commentator to speak at Assumption

Assumption College will welcome Father Edward Beck, C.P. ’80, CNN’s faith and religion commentator, who will present “Religion, Church and the Media: A Delicate Balance” at  7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, in the La Maison Auditorium, 500 Salisbury St.

The lecture will focus on the various portrayals of faith and religion in mainstream media. Beck will draw upon his 10 years of experience in network and cable news to examine the ways in which mainstream media cover faith and religion in television news.

20 Franklin Street

Inbox [Oct. 29-Nov. 4]: News and notes from Idea Lab, Technocopia, MassDiGI, YWCA, Congregation Beth Israel, Pagano Media and Center for Living & Working

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

Worcester innovation spaces earn $225K in state grants

The Worcester Idea Lab, Technocopia and Mass. Digital Games Institute were among 20 recipients of Collaborative Workspace Program grants awarded by the state.

The Baker-Polito Administration awarded $1,257,592 to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in cities and towns. The second round of these awards will build physical infrastructure to support new entrepreneurial ventures while spurring innovation and job creation.

The Worcester Idea Lab, 20 Franklin St., was awarded $104,275. The grant will enhance the Idea Lab’s space and improve member access with additional classroom space that will increase activity.

Worcester Weekly: AbilityFest, Holy Cross football + more, Oct. 1-7

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Oct. 1 — AbilityFest 2017, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Institute Park, Salisbury Street, between Park and Humboldt Avenues  For more than six decades, the Seven Hills Foundation has helped people from all walks of life “See, Believe and Achieve,” no matter their myriad challenges. And for the third year running, they will highlight that message with a 5K road race and the Murphy Mile Walk (registration is closed).

Wikimedia Commons

Institute Park is set to host the third annual Seven Hills Foundation AbilityFest.

What you’ll be going for are the family-fun activities, exhibitors, vendors and live music from Worcester’s own My Silent Bravery — and to support the tremendous work of Seven Hills and the remarkable achievements of the folks they support. Free and open to the public.

The incredible journey of Augustine Kanjia continues … My School of Hard Knocks

Mr. Gabriel Amara, the kind principal I’d met at Christ the King College secondary school in Bo, was now the head of Yengema Secondary School, another of Sierra Leone’s top Catholic schools.

Augustine Kanjia

Though he had encouraged me to end my school-search odyssey by applying to the Yengema school, he decided now that there was no space for me — I was too late. I could have attended Christ the King if my mother and stepfather were still living in Bo, but he had been transferred to the Port Loko police.

I looked around the compound and saw some of the friends I’d played soccer with back at the Motema elementary school. Well, God knew I had tried to find myself a school. I felt this was only the beginning of my manhood. The path would be longer, but it was clear. A letter and my entrance exam results were sent to the principal at Sewafe Secondary School.

I’d already been to Bo, Daru and Segbwema. Sewafe was another diamond-mining town in the Eastern Province. The principal was the Rev. Austin Healy.

When everyone had entered their classrooms, I quickly walked out of the door to zoom home to Motema again. Our new family home was near completion. Our illicit brewing of “Omolé” persisted because the house was very large and still needed more work.

That morning, I left with the intention that I would stay in school all day. I was wrong. I did not have the school uniform, nor did I have the admission. I returned to Motema in tears. A lot worked on my mind. It was all geared toward my return to school. It was hard for me. My grandmother was waiting for good news.

Augustine’s last chapter: Will My School Dreams Become a Nightmare?  Or scroll down to catch up on earlier posts in the remarkable tale.