Getting To Know Each Other

Published / by Joe / Leave a Comment

The following events and stories to be talked about, are continuing the logic of the previous posts and are following the time frames in which these events took place.

Throughout the first few weeks and especially after some major strange behaviors faded away, everyone was able (including my sisters) to start meeting each other in depth – exchanging stories and life experiences. As you can probably understand, we were more interested in what they had to say, rather what we had to tell them. Their challenge was to try and understand the way of living in a western/civilized country, and our challenge was to try and train our brains and souls to not burst in flames of anger and cry, for the kind of wrong doings conducted on my sisters while in the orphanage and throughout their recent life.

I guess me and my younger brothers who were more involved with my sisters and wanted them in our daily family lives, were curious at the time of the different songs and traditions they had from Liberia. Keep in mind that I was eight at the time, and my younger brothers were six and four. So this was fun for us, and learning the negro traditional melodies really made us happy – especially when those melodies came from my sister’s voices. Below I have an example of the kind of music that was brought to our family because of the Liberian girls.

But their lives were not all melodies and happiness. Besides the common issues you would expect in a Christian orphanage, my sisters and everyone at that philanthropic institution needed to deal with a stupid civil war that had been going on for years and years, ripping families apart and leaving many orphans behind. Local rebels would sometimes make the whole orphanage walk long miles “just for fun” threatening them with their guns. In some cases, fires were even shot within the orphanage building to terrify the “non obedient” – to the rebels –  people. In one of the long long walks they would conduct, there was a pregnant woman (apparently orphanage staff) that was just too slow to keep up with the crowd. Now my memory is fading slowly away and I’m trying to remember as much as possible from the stories described to me. That woman was either shot and killed by the rebels or was simply wounded. The fact of the matter is that the rebels didn’t tolerate anything and they wouldn’t hesitate to even shoot pregnant women.

My sisters arrived at age ten, eight and six. In those years they don’t recall any shootings of orphans. What they do recall though is the daily suffering in that orphanage. Lack of space would have as a result to “stuff” as many children as possible in bedrooms. Beds were fully pissed either by previous children or the current ones because during night time they were afraid of “the witch” and would never crawl out of bed to use the bathroom. Based on information provided by people working in that orphanage for endless years, the destiny of the children would be to simply be raised in the most modest way possible, until they turned 16-18. Then the girls would mostly end up as street prostitutes. Young boys-men had a better future as they would start working somewhere. So for a child to be adopted, would be like someone wins a lottery ticket today in America, worth millions.

Although while I was young I didn’t tear up much about these stories as I didn’t really understand the magnitude of the problem, every now and then when it happens that I remember these events or these are discussed with my sisters, I just get destroyed inside of me. We are talking about young children and ultimately human beings without a future! Should I get into the abuse that these children had to handle?

And no, I’m not talking about abuse among children. I’m talking about regular beating by adult staff members for the disobedient children and very harsh punishments that marines today use in their labor training. My second sister  – who we were told was disobedient as a child – got most of the beating and even her 2 other current sisters remember her being beat horribly. Her body was and still is full of beating marks. Everywhere: from her arms down to her legs.

Because of the large number of children, there wasn’t really “justice” for them. The easiest way out was to keep them terrified so that they could have some control. Other punishments included doing intense exercises, similar (and worst) to what marines do today in really extreme training. Children would even be left into what I would consider “prisons” or solitary confinement that is used in regular jails today. Orphanage staff would do anything possible to have control of the situation. Even if that meant that they needed to cross a few lines and maybe even break some human rights laws. Chaos would probably be the best word to describe the orphanage in “small Africa.”

Getting to know each other turned out harder than I thought. We were all determined though and especially my parents to try and make my sister’s current and future lives as easy and opportunistic as possible.

As a parenthesis I would like to say that my 3 sisters were not related until they arrived together in my family. In fact, they each came from different tribes and you could even see 3 different types of “black.” If you want a background on everything I’m talking about in my posts, go to my about page and it should fill you in with everything you need to know.

 

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