PRESENT DAY RECONSTRUCTION EFFORTS IN LIBERIA SPURS HISTORICAL FICTION: Local Writer Pens Novel about Liberia's Heritage, Current Affairs and Future Possibilities.
Emmanuel C. Ezike II
COMING FROM LIBERIA portrays a story of Sirleaf; a high school graduate who attains a scholarship to a college in America. During the four hour wait before his departure, a conversation ensues among his father Siafa, Uncle Sekou, Aunt Zoya and Varney; their US-born son. A book written to enlighten, entertain and inspire, one reads with critical eyes as we examine our thoughts and relationships. The Author forces us to view ourselves as humans rather than limit our potential by skin tones, location, family legends, or mental and physical handicaps. Taste with a grain of salt and participate in the dialogue as Ezike takes us from Liberia to America; addressing issues fairly known but rarely discussed. Read kindred advice as each character offers Sirleaf what to expect in America and what's expected of him as a Liberian. COMING FROM LIBERIA expresses views and opinions so simplistically complex that the book resonates with every reader.
Don't tear it ooh! As you rush to turn the pages of this book, it's apparent to all those around that your heart is pacing so fast as to figure out who in the world could have written such a thing. Rest assure bah! That problem can be easily solved. Flip to the back cover. See my picture? Yes? Well, I'm just like you right? The only difference is I'm the writer and you? Well, I expect your answer not just to be the reader but a participator to things discussed and those left for thought.
Before I proceed, a little caution is necessary. You can put this book right where you got it or continue at your own risk. And if you chose the latter, it is a guarantee that the ride from Montserado to Maryland will be worth every green-light, stop-sign, freeway or exit.
Even though this book will serve a critical look at the Liberian/American dilemma, it is not solely targeted at problems that exist in Liberia. The aim of this book is primarily a reference for Liberians in America, Liberia or the Diaspora and consequently any individual who aspires to the belief that one can do anything one puts their mind to. The writer hopes it will be a source to consider when we reflect upon our heritage and the many reasons we find America the next best thing to Heaven; of course.
Therefore, what this book will offer you; is a straight to the point, no excuse, conk your hay view of the people we are and our relationship to America. What the writer hopes to not do is make many cry and a few laugh as he gives it to you like cayenne pepper or as the sting of a mosquito; slowly drawing your blood while pacifying the wound with its wings. However it is done, this book will be equivalent to a first love or an endless laughter. It begins, but it is up to the recipient to bring closure to the matter.
Nonetheless, with all that said, the author’s thoughts were mixed during the writing process. Should the book have been written as a text for the proverbial scholars; or should I say the more astute and erudite in our society? Or as a novel for my palee dem; the more contemporary easy readers. In hope of bridging the gap, the author presents Liberian history and our affiliation to America in a way that explores prevalent issues pertinent in our country and also intends to provide a medium for young Liberians to have; sort of a roadmap of our history and perhaps what to expect when they come to America.
Finally, thanks for allowing me to share my views and opinions with you, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Hope you enjoy the book.
Emmanuel C. Ezike II
PS: To my non-Liberian readers, thought I forgot about you? Really? I wouldn’t do that. Please feel free to check an abridged phrasionary of Liberian parlance at the end of the book to fully embrace the text. Thanks for your support! Truly, truly, appreciated.
Sirleaf rests his chin in both hands with elbows planted upon the balcony and stares into space. He could hear laughter erupting from the other room.
This was not his first time at his Uncle Sekou’s residence, but it would surely be his last; at least for a while.
He glances at his watch. In about four hours, his plane would be leaving the country he has known all his life into a distant land.
He knew all along this day would come but never had he dreamed that coming to America would be so perplexing a decision.
When he first learned of the scholarship to the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, all he talked about was Burger-King and Tom Cruise. But as the clock ticked, something seems to trouble him.
Suddenly, a shove on the back startles him. Varney Johnson; a miserly built lad and cousin of Sirleaf shouts out.
“My man you'n small man oh! Everyone talkin' bout you in school, about your trip to the cold. I know you can't wait to checkor ehn?”
Sirleaf smiles and gives Varney a hug. He replies.
“I'm just counting down the minutes but the truth is...”
“I don blain you bah. In fact if I wor you, I be at the airport right now. Leh go down to Ma Hawa shop so you can eat cassava leaf one more time bah.”
Sirleaf smiles again and they walked into the living room. He could still hear his dad and Uncle Sekou talking as if they were at a football game even though it was just the two of them.
As Varney reaches to open the door, the handle turns and in walks Aunt Zoya.
“Just in time boys. Varney can you get the bags from the car dear? And Mr.
Sirleaf, how are you my son? Excited about your departure?”
“Mom, dah all dey man talks about since last year.”
Sirleaf takes a deep breath and replies.
“Yes, until right now.”
Varney quickly turns to Sirleaf.
“Wha you mean my man?”
Aunt Zoya puts her hand on Varney's back as if pushing him out the door.
“Baby, grab the bags and meet me in the parlor. Mr. Sirleaf, come with me.”
“Mom, mom, we were just about to run down to dey spot on Ashmun Street so dey man can eat his last beat.”
“Don't worry boy. What he will eat here will be better than cold-bowl. I will give him, both of you, food for the mind, soul and body. Something you will have to teach your kids after you and those around you who have such half-baked knowledge of themselves and the people they are in denial of being. Your cousin Sirleaf has shown me a demeanor I wish I possessed before I went to America. Not only do I sense patriotism for his country but also a spirit of indifference. This in my opinion is what one needs to have in order to make the right decision about an unknown person, place or thing. Most of the time hearsay and heartfelt emotions rather than our minds influence us. Today is the day to ask, teach and learn what make us Liberians. And also understand why we want so much to be related and dependent upon America to solve our problems. And besides, where is your father? He might like this.”
Aunt Zoya opens the door to the amazement of two middle-aged men.
Silence fills the room as she walks in. It seems as if they have been caught doing something illegal. What was the crime at least in her house...