Friday, May 30, 2008
1. Rebels met an old man and his son running from a village that had just been attacked. "Halt!" the rebels shouted to the two. We would let one of you go and shoot the oldest. The man looked at his stubborn son, turned to the rebels and said, "This is my son, but he is very old."
2. RUF rebels went to department of treasury, stole 7 computer monitors and distributed it to take home. In the evening one called the other and said, "my TV does not have a tuning knob." "Mine does not have work too," The other replied. They went to a TV repair shop, arrested the technician and told him to repair their TVs. "You idiots," the man thought to himself, "These are computer monitors." He did not dare say this aloud. He told them that these were advanced TVs that could only work in Nigeria. Believing him they left the monitors alone, as they wanted nothing to do with Nigerians.
3. Rebels went to a church on Goderich Street one Sunday and said they were there to kill the holiest man. "That must be the pastor, " a young boy in the congregation said. "You bloody idiot who told you that?" The pastor Said. "I do not even believe in God, just here to collect the collection plates."
4. RUF Rebels drove us from our house for a week. When we came back to Freetown after Ecomog, we met one of them there with a big stomach. He had been drinking water out of our toilet basin, thinking it was a water pot.
Earlier this month we were in New Jersey for the annual Tegloma Mini-Convention. This was of course my first trip to New Jersey, although I had the opportunity to pass through the Garden State on my way to Bridgeport, Connecticut sometime last year.
Although we had some glitches at the Newark Liberty International airport upon arrival, the whole program was generally well planned and executed. The details of the program I will not delve into as I have no legal authority to do so, the transmission of details falling under the authority of the Tegloma Federation executive. Generally though a new Federation Board was elected with Alhaji Mustapha replacing Chairman Saidu as the new Board Chairman.
The best thing about the occasion for me, not counting all the meeting resolutions, was hearing from the head of the NAACP in New Jersey and meeting friends I've not seen since our "bonga Kanda" days in Sierra Leone. I was glad to see friends from my Bo School, Wesley Segbwema and FBC days and genuinely pleased to see the progress some of these noble men and women had made in educational, political, diplomatic and economic spheres of life both in USA, Canada and Sierra Leone.
Given the generally negative things propagated about Sierra Leoneans, this was a pretty much an above the average group.
The tragedy of this trip was that I had left my camera charger in Minneapolis and when I ran out of batteries after just a few pictures, I was sorely disappointed. I was however able to use my cellphone to take some pictures.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota decided to come together as a national group this year to celebrate the country's independence. This act of unity was as a result of the collaboration of the executives of all the various subgroups ; Tegloma, Sierrasota, SLAI, Sierra Leone Union, Kono Union and individuals to form the Sierra Leone Community in Minnesota (SLCM.) SLCM was formed out of the recognition that though there may be differences among Sierra Leoneans based on religious, ethnic, regional and political grounds, there are many more commonalities that tie Sierra Leoneans together.
Many members of this community realize that all Sierra Leoneans are one and the same, united by a common and genuine love for their country Sierra Sierra Leone. Some of us were born into mixed ethnic families and realize that diversity is an asset rather than a liability. All well meaning Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota have therefore resolved to always celebrate national activities together under the SLCM and come together to promote the various social groups that exist.
Since its formation in 2006 SLCM has constantly strived to position itself as the umbrella group for all Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota and it has done and is doing a wonderful job. It organized both the 46th and 47th Independence anniversary celebrations. The SLCM now has an office in Minnesota at the Center for Families in Minneapolis.
The various Sierra Leone sub-groups in Minnesata that make up the SLCM are KOno Union whose President is Alhaji Mohamed Sogbeh, Tegloma Minnesota Chapter whose president is Elizabeth Momoh, Sierra Leone Union with President Musa Mohai, Sierra Leone Aid Initiative (SLAI)with president Jonathan Rose, and Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota (Sierrasota) with president Komba Fayia.
The SLCM Board of Directors are Jim Leslie, Gbass Mends, Elizabeth Momoh, Jonathan Rose, Rev. Dr. Richard Shaka, and Aruna Wurie. The Interim SLCM executive is made up of Jonathan Rose-President, Karifa Jalloh-Vice President, Hassan Kamara-Treasurer and Rebecca Johnson-Secretary.
Guest Speakers at the occasion were Mr. Jeff Hall and Ms. Natalie Johnson and the Keynote Speaker was Mr. Mark Kinde.
The program itself was well attended and there was a performance by a group known as Sierrabera, a group of Musicians with origins from Sierra Leone and Liberia. Of course my very Self, Sheku Sheriff was there as a freelance photographer and commentator to monitor the program. There were lots of everything and everybody, I presume, went home in high spirits. The SLCM has a website at www.slcm.us
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