The incredible story of Augustine Kanjia continues … No End to My Doubt

I’d been there so long now, it felt as if I was born in Daru, and I looked wretched with only one pair of shorts and no shirt to call my own.

Augustine Kanjia

I was only allowed to use Duran Kanjia’s clothes when my long-estranged older brother sent me to go buy his cigarettes or marijuana. This was my ordeal. I had no clothes to go to church, something I was used to doing. I attended both the Methodist — my grandmother’s church — and the Catholic church, and it felt great. I would serve at the Catholic church and run to ring the bell at the Methodist church. I played a dual role. I loved being an altar server.

But even with Easter approaching, that would have to wait.

My brother was quite happy to say I could leave when he was paid at the end of April, after Easter. I started praying for that day. It was about three months to final exams, and then the long vacation till September.

My brother had a different plan altogether. He raised my hope and said that when he was paid, that would be his target to send me home to go to school. My father had died when Duran was still going to school; he said no one helped him after Dad’s death. He recounted how he suffered since there were no school fees for him either. (He was very clever but stopped school in Grade 11.) He complained that he had no help from my mom and stepdad. He was disgruntled about that.

I think he paid it back to me as he made me suffer.

Mariano: The real danger of the Trump presidency

“President Trump and his legion of darkness has caused so much pain and committed acts that have caused such great harm that it is hard to measure the damage that he has caused. As we begin 2018, I wanted to look back at Trump’s first year. What is the real danger posed by his presidency?”

Mariano: Wishes for the New Year

“This past year has been exhausting. But, it is a new year and hope springs eternal. Maybe, just maybe, things will be better in 2018. Here are my wishes for the New Year.”

The incredible story of Augustine Kanjia continues … Dangers in the Wild and at Home

I went to see my brother at the Daru army barracks and searched for his office.

Augustine Kanjia

He worked in the Officers Mess. I had always thought of him being an officer because he had long served in the Sierra Leone military. I was only 3 years old when he took up the job in 1967. He became a boxer and a good salesperson at the Officers Mess. He knew all the officers there. But he did not worry about his own position.

That morning he had no money, but he wanted me to cook for him before he got home. He wrote a note for me to take to his friend, a shopkeeper, who would give me some money to buy food. But how did he know that I could cook? Anyway, my grandmother had taught me to cook when she became very busy, so I was not bad at it. Besides, I was quite hungry by now.

I had to walk a good distance across the Moa Bridge to return home and give the letter to his friend. Realizing the request was from Duran, the shopkeeper quickly declined, and said to tell him Juldeh was not around. But that was him.

I kept quiet. I did not return to him nor did I let him know the outcome of his letter. My brother had hoped to meet good food at home and have some money left over for him to play Bingo.

I had been given some food by Mrs. Lahai, the wife of one of our neighbors. She had lots of children around, including her brothers Ballah and Kanu. They were my age, so we were fast friends. I was in a different situation right then. My story had changed. Three weeks had gone by, and my brother had not mentioned anything about my school or returning to Motema to continue my studies. It looked as though I was to wait out the year in nothingness.

Becker College

The Quad [Dec. 23-30]: Four things to know from UMass Medical School, QCC and Becker

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.

Thoru Pederson named American Society for Cell Biology fellow

The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Thoru Pederson, Ph.D., has been named a 2017 fellow of the American Society for Cell Biology.

Pederson — Vitold Arnett Professor of Cell Biology, professor of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology, and associate vice provost for research — was one of 67 scientists to receive the honor, which is bestowed on ASCB members by their peers. Fellows are recognized for their meritorious efforts to advance cell biology and its applications and for their service to ASCB.

“I am very pleased to be inducted as an ASCB fellow,” Pederson said. “The mysteries of the cell have been my science forever and ASCB has been my ‘home’ as a professional society and community since I joined in 1966.”

Mass. schools absorb 2,000-plus students from Puerto Rico

More than 2,000 students from Puerto Rico have arrived in Massachusetts schools after fleeing hurricane damage, acting state Education Commissioner Jeff Wulfson said yesterday.

Wulfson told the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that the pace of arrivals has accelerated in the last couple of weeks. Education officials are now looking to see if there will be a “considerable increase after the holidays, as many folks are expecting,” he said.

The education department’s unofficial count of students from Puerto Rico stood at 1,866 as of Dec. 8, and Wulfson said the latest tally has “passed the 2,000-student mark.”

Activists argue racism, stereotypes fuel immigration debate

“We have not been able to build the kind of political power necessary to be heard and respected by our political officials,” Natalicia Tracy of the Brazilian Worker Center said at a panel discussion marking Monday’s observation of International Migrants Day. “It’s the fact that the community’s divided, we are pushed into corners where we need to be afraid of even exercising our very basic rights.”

Representatives of immigrant advocacy groups called Monday for collective action in the face of negative stereotypes and a political power dynamic they said can stymie their agendas.

“We have not been able to build the kind of political power necessary to be heard and respected by our political officials,” Natalicia Tracy of the Brazilian Worker Center said at a panel discussion marking International Migrants Day. “It’s the fact that the community’s divided, we are pushed into corners where we need to be afraid of even exercising our very basic rights.

The incredible story of Augustine Kanjia continues … Fighting for Fees and Respect

“T.K. does not come to school that often, but he will not fail any semester. He may be busy studying while we are away in school. Imagine his grades in French,” Mohamed Lansana said to Stephen.

Augustine Kanjia

The last semester had been tough. I knew there was going to be an endemic problem in the absence of the “omolé” brewing. The death of a drunkard had brought the halting of my grandmother’s business. The other food trade was only for us to eat.

Only one of my uncles was educated: the eldest, Sahr Tay James, T-Boy’s father. He loved me endlessly. I had a fairly good result for the second semester, even when I was out of school. I applied a simple skill. I would ask some of my classmates, especially Mohamed Lansana or Stephen Kabba, to help me out with the notes they took when I was absent. I did that each day of the week. I copied all the notes and studied them when we gathered to study at our local primary school, R.C. Motema, where we had our games.

But there was a likelihood of me not returning to school for over a year this time.

Inbox [Dec. 13]: News and notes from Worcester Common Oval, People’s United Bank and UMass Memorial Health Care

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 Common Oval opens for public ice skating

The Worcester Common Oval public ice-skating rink has opened for the season. The Oval has piped-in music, skate rentals, concessions, holiday lights and more, making it a fun and affordable family-friendly activity.

New this year is the WOOville Winter Wonderland, a series of wooden sheds set up on the Worcester Common that will host pop-up shops every weekend throughout the skating season and feature local food and craft vendors. Kids can have their picture taken with Santa for free every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. through Christmas.

Literacy Volunteers give the gift of language

All their adult lives they have attempted to live without the verbal survival skills the rest of us take for granted. Finally admitting their need for help, these native-born Americans, as well as our core adult student population of immigrants, come to us for help. What you, as a Literacy Volunteer, can offer will change their lives immeasurably.