In a country like Sierra Leone where live expectancy for a long while seems to be hovering around 40 or so years, people who go beyond that age may have very reason to feel proud and especially if you have spent most of the time grappling with poverty. Sometimes I wonder why is it that when people are young they wish they could be older and when they grow older they wish they were younger. Now the strange thing is that verybody cries down the system in their days. They only appreciate it much later when things get worse. Can you blame Emerson for his Yesterday betteh pass tiday? Look this is no politics. Just think far back on the days you were buying you favorite Guinness at Le 500. They say old people live on remembefance and the young on hope. This is just the way of the world for things to get more difficult as we move along before they start getting better again.
In life it is so interesting to find out that after all most of your lofty dreams as a young man cannot be fulfilled especially if they have to carry you on four-man shoulder at the age of 25 or there about. I spent Christmas in my village Moimandu Kotarya. I observed that a lot of elders have died and that the youth population was very high. Well thanks to the underdevelopment of our Chiefdom and the vast agricultural produce, our folks make sure there is no unmarried person hanging around. They marry them off like fliesif you see what I mean. I have been hearing about feeder roads rehabilitation. I think this is good news.
The child is father of the man, they say. So interesting…we start as children and when we get old we again end up being children. The only difference is that the care the real child gets is not guaranteed the other child, the aged. In January to March 2011 the King George’s home in Kissy is featured. You can see photos of an old man and woman who seem to be very good friends. They take solace in each other’s company.
Some blind folks were guests of the great DJ Base on his Night Line program on the SLBC 99.9 FM. The two guys were so impressive and focused about their agricultural program in Kailahun. They vehemently frowned on their colleague blind who take the rather easy option of begging on the streets. Well on the other hand one can hardly blame them given the current situation that leaves little or no room for disability issues and other minorities perhaps because of the myriad of livelihood challenges the country faces.
By now you must be disappointed since I am yet to bring out the joys of old age. You know what, you need to get old first and I am sure you are definitely not in a hurry. This is so especially as part of our begging citizens are also old. So how anyone in her right senses can pray for old age in this rough day and age. Sometime ago I was telling a friend that I had long stopped drinking tea since there is always Kol res to heat up and eat, left over from the previous day. In our very exiting world today, if you have some food, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, then you are richer than some 75% of this world. This is what someone says somehow somewhere. There is one prayer some of our mothers always say… that is for them to die before their sons. You see nature has no regularity in its dealings with people. If it was that people do not die except they reach a certain age, then we could all be relaxed. But oh my God it is definitely not the case.
We were all not very happy when some years ago our life expectance dropped below 38 years. Now the higher the age the more we expect people to reach old age. In some countries live right up to 100 years and more. In Sierra Leone only perhaps those born in the 1930s that may get to that age. Indeed you never know the value of your water until the well runs dry. No matter what the kids of today think of their ageing parents, the latter are awesome and their life is living proof.
Those born in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s survived quite a lot of things. Things like no tetanus injections, riding cars with no car seats, drank water straight from the stream and not from water taps. In their days no one died from drinking from the same bottle. They had no video, no TV or DVDs, or CDs and no cell phones. Of course no personal computers. That generation fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no law suits from these accidents. They got spankings with belts, twigs or just bare hands and no one would call child services to report abuse.
One more thing, the idea of parents bailing kids out if they broke the law was unheard of. The parents actually sided the law. The same when someone in the community disciplined another person’s child, the person was thanked for being a good neighbor. The past 50 year5s and more have indeed seen a lot of innovations and new ideas. Kids today just push buttons. How can someone who lived through that period and is alive today not be happy for a life well struggled through? Do you see the joys of old age? Sure old people live on remembrance…the so called good old days.
The natural disasters that seem to threaten the whole of humanity to extinction make it quite difficult for today’s kids not to be apprehensive. Think of that 15 year old girl who survived the Haiti earthquake for 15 days.
Or the baby bore in a tree during the Mozambique floods some years ago. Ain’t we lucky here in Sierra Leone? Well we better get sober and don’t create man- made disasters when only one natural disaster is enough to clean us off the face of this earth! As we mourn for people who die around us every day, let us remember that there is no other way to leave this world except through death.
As many people are rushing to stay in cities and urban centers ageing people seem to be gradually cut off from their children and grand children. Many kids hardly know their fathers birth places. These days going to one’s village become a big challenge given terrible roads in terrible terrains. Of course you do not talk of the cost of transportation. Why can’t the aged in their villages livee in peace and then die off in peace. At least they will die with the thought that their children are making it big in the cities. That way they get the benefit of the doubt at least.
By S. Beny SAM