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One Day in my Life
Cultural Differences

An unusual weekend in Freetown

It was a hot humid Saturday afternoon and I had just finished preparing the last of my lesson note; I later tidied up my room and set off for the send-forth party organised by one of the NGO (Child Protection Partners) for an expatriate staff; I got there couple of minutes late but judging form what I saw I hadn't missed much; midway into the party I noticed this kid he must have been aged between nine and eleven, somehow our eyes met of course I knew he came like most kids in the area to scavenge for left-over food; so I offered him my plate of rice; he gladly took it and thanked me; he then proceeded to pull out a nylon bag from his pocket and emptied the rice in it; I asked him why he did that and he told he was going to give it to his younger siblings (he had two sisters aged four and five and a brother aged seven); I asked about his mum and dad and he told me they were killed during the civil war. I couldn't believe a kid as young as that could assume the role of mum and dad; he later took me to the shack where they lived in the outskirt of Freetown and introduced me to his younger siblings who appeared more interested in the rice...ha-ha. Anyway we became friend and Ibrahim (that's his name); he offered to come work for me I told him no I couldn't give him a job cos firstly he was too young and moreover I didn't have any job for him to do; he persisted and offered to come clean my house and wash clothes everyday in exchange for food; I didn't know how to explain to him that if I acceded to his demand it would mean my taking advantage of his situation. He kept coming day after day and then after about a week I finally agreed that I would "employ" him as long as he goes back to school. He still comes to visit me regularly whenever I am in Freetown; he helps me in cleaning the compound; I visit them from time to time when I can. It's truly a sad world we live in today where war, hunger and misery still hold sway.