December 3, 2017

The incredible story of Augustine Kanjia continues … ‘Omolé’ Creates a Bigger Problem

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Wikimedia Commons / Lindsay Stark

Augustine had yet another long and winding path in front of him.

Our house was incomplete — still — but my thoughts were on school and soccer.

Augustine Kanjia

I was quite a local champion among my peers. I was the only boy to constantly provide a ball for every game we had. Of course, I was stealing — still — from the little money my grandmother and I were saving from the omolé sales. I was popular, but too lazy for many people’s comfort.

My grandmother’s thoughts stayed focused on fulfilling her promise to provide me a good education.

My first cousin Alex, commonly called Tamba or T-Boy, was my admirer, but I never let him know where I got the money to buy soccer balls. I was quite skillful; no one in my house knew. I was also called Tamba Magician (Tamba Ngofo, in Kono). Our house boomed with omolé.

T-Boy had watched the omolé flow in the house. We were constantly selling and brewing. Many came to the house to get their shots. T-Boy had made arrangements to take some bottles out to sell. We were uncertain about his true motives.

One day, he watched everyone keenly, understanding that we were concentrating in the kitchen. He entered the house quickly, picked up a couple of bottles and placed them at the window before passing through the back door. Soba Peppeh, my grandmother, had seen him rush out, and became suspicious. She quickly entered the room and went close to the window.

T-Boy, not watching, quickly put in his hand to take a bottle. Grannie caught him in his first attempt. He shouted when he was caught. He had no excuse and felt very ashamed, which eventually led to his going to live in Yengema, Sierra Leone, for good. But I loved him. I searched for him from school to our house, but to no avail. I had been his mentor.

He took to his heels and walked to Yengema, which is where I trekked to get to school. That walk was not fun, especially when you were hungry.

Augustine’s last chapter: Tragedy Falls on Our Doorstep  Or scroll down to catch up on earlier posts in the remarkable tale.

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