I was born in Monrovia, capital of a small West African country called Liberia. The year was 1958. My younger sister Sharon and I had a relatively comfortable and happy childhood. Our mother and extended family doted on us and we wanted for nothing. We had a pet monkey, a dog, chickens and goats. Plum, guava, coconut, breadfruit, pineapple and palm trees surrounded our modest brick home. There were sleepovers, birthday parties, play dates, beach outings and movies; lots of movies. My mother was a photography buff so it goes without saying many of these activities were memorialized on film. We had a driver, a houseboy, a gardener and a wash man. My favorite teacher at Methodist Elementary School was Mrs. Ajavon. Life was good.
Things changed. My mother decided to immigrate to the United States in 1970 after my grandmother’s death and the murder of her German fiance. Our first stop was Topeka, Kansas before settling in Cleveland, Ohio in 1972. Fast forward to 1987. After completing a M.A. in International Affairs/Development Studies from Ohio University (Athens, Ohio), my mother, stepfather, sister and I returned to Liberia where I began my career as a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I was a Desk Officer in the Bureau of International Organizations Affairs. It was challenging at times but I really, really loved it. It was not work in the abstract; my actions had real world consequences.
Samuel K. Doe was president. Then came Charles Taylor, the civil war, small soldiers, Prince Johnson, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, General Butt Naked; evacuated to Ghana by ECOMOG (ECOWAS Monitoring Observer Group) and back in the United States in 1992. A year later my sister Sharon is killed in an automobile accident in Madison, Wisconsin. Yes, survived war and starvation to be taken away by a distracted driver. Was a Special Service Contractor for the United Nations in New York; also worked for an executive temp agency. Now here I am, sister, daughter, friend, survivor, refugee, former diplomat and lover of word games, living in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.
This blog represents the thoughts, observations and musings of a life journey that has frequently been traveled off the beaten path. It is intended for your consideration and reflection. Take from it what you will.
Should be interesting. Welcome.