The once lushly covered green forest mountains which undergrowth were hardly seen, has been transformed into dusty molehills, with unfinished magnificent structures and caretakers silver corrugated sheets abode littering the wonderful landscape.
The green scenery has gone arid; tress could be barely seen in some areas, only a mountain of rocks and piles of rocks packed ready for sale – the new found trade in this once agriculture community.
Like South Africa’s Robben Island prison, men children and women could be seen actively engaged in stone breaking, transporting and trading as a means of livelihood.
At Regent’s junction, where public transports make their last stop, a partly tarred and dusty road leads to Bathurst and Charlotte.
Along the dusty road, children could be seen in dusty rags with countless eye holes, searching for wild fruits, while men carry yellow gallons, presumably containing palm wine, as others settled in thatched roof huts (baffers) sipping palm wine and getting mildly intoxicated.
Women graciously balanced neatly tied pile of woods carried on their head, with children tied to their backs.
After about a mile and half walk through valleys, narrow bridges and cold dense forests stood Charlotte, a settlement surrounded by woodland.
Landslide Survivor’s Second Generation
At the hilltop after a narrow bridge at Charlotte, a wood seller named, Tamba Kamara aka Kendehka the son of the only survivor [who died three years ago] who escaped the historic landslide which had engulfed the area over fifty years ago recalled the events for Awoko. The old wood seller, bare skin, with an old string weaved through his trousers loops serving as a belt, pointed to the mountain where the landslide occurred; “as you can see no trees have grown on the mountain since the slide,” he said.
Kendehka said, “In the year 1945, August 10th that was the date the incident occurred. The affected area was called Limba Town”
He narrated, “My father had two wives and my mother-Woteh Kamara was the youngest, by then my step mother had just given birth to my elder sister, Kumba a week before the incident.
“The day the incident occurred,” he recalled, “around 5 pm when my mother finished cooking, she asked my stepmother to dish out the food, while she [my mother] was lulling my stepsister.” Kendehka went on, “When my mother came out of the house, she heard the mountain rumbling and saw a huge rock rolling down the mountain. My mother called on my stepmother to come out of the house, but my stepmother said after she finished dishing.”
“During their conversation the top of the mountain cut off and my mother saw it coming and was able to escape on time, but my stepmother and others in the settlement were unable to escape and all of them got buried by the debris from the slide,” he said.
During my mother’s escape, he said, “she fell and lost all of her front lower jaw teeth, a legacy that she left with till she died.”
“The slide was a curse cast on the community,” he said.
He explained, “there was this young handsome fellow called Yaraba in the community, and all the ladies easily get attracted to him – as a result he was bewitched.” Kendehka said, “When Yaraba was carrying a jug of palm wine for sale one day, he fell with the jug and the broken glass from the palm wine jug pierced his throat and he died.”
During the funeral, he continued, “Yaraba’s uncle said he is going to curse the community and all those who knew something about Yaraba’s death are going to die but the innocent will surely live”
“Indeed the innocent did live when the incident occurred as eleven of them were in town doing business, while my mother was the only one who saw it happen and lived,” he said. Up till now traces of the buried community could be seen. Cooking utensils and other ornaments were spotted when a well was recently dug in the community. By Ophaniel Gooding