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Sierra Leone has waited long for histories written by men and women of the soil.  Their emergence has been slow, with only one or two published family stories.  A history of the Caulkers comes therefore, as a timely, valuable and rewarding contribution to supplying this long-felt need.  Its apparently modest dimensions and the goal of informing young family members are deceptive in the sense that the depth and implications for the author’s countrymen are far-reaching.  Imodale Caulker-Burnett sets out to tell the story of the Caulker dynasty from its C17th Afro-European beginnings to the present day, through the vicissitudes of wars and family feuds, marriage customs and traditions.  She transforms what seems like a mammoth task into a text that reads easily and pleasantly. There is a careful balance between historical detail and interesting or amusing anecdotes, so that it is far from being a dry historical treatise.
Encompassing all the manifold and diverse accounts of action and reaction are her strong sense of pride and love for her family and her deep devotion to it.  The reader is never allowed to lose sight of this but the narrative never becomes over-emotional or trite.  Even the picture gallery at the end focuses on achievement rather than sentiment. 
The historical content is supported by additional source material such as The Caulker Manuscripts in the Appendix.  This should stimulate the scholarly reader in search of further authentic data. It is worth noting that these manuscripts are reproduced here for public consumption, most probably for the first time, which gives the work an aura of novelty.
In trying to satisfy her own curiosity about her family’s story, the author will surely awaken a kindred desire in other members of great families to delve into their past, thus enlightening the present age and posterity on the role of their ancestors in the development of their country.  Her meeting with distant ‘cousins’ in the USA triggered her passion for more knowledge and the sharing of that knowledge.
This book will surely find a place in home, school, college and university as a reliable source of information, not only about the Caulker family. It also deals with significant issues and events of different periods including the Slave Trade and the Hut Tax War as experienced by individuals and communities in the Sherbro chiefdoms.  The times they lived through were common to all Sierra Leoneans and marked the different stages of our country’s journey to nationhood over a period of four centuries.

 Rachel Lulu Wright
Daughter of Rachel Coker (nee Caulker)
Former Head
Department of Modern Languages

Fourah Bay College
University of Sierra Leone

The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara and Susan McCleelland
Relaying her experiences as a child in Sierra Leone during the 1990s, Kamara chillingly evokes the devastating effects of war. Mariatu is 11 when her tiny village is decimated by rebel soldiers, many of them children like her. Forced to watch as peaceful villagers are tortured and murdered, Mariatu is finally allowed to go free—but only after boy soldiers cut off her hands: We want you to go to the president, they tell her, and show him what we did to you. You wont be able to vote for him now. Mariatus long walk to get medical aid marks the first stage of a harrowing journey to build a new life for herself and other wartime victims; she now lives in Canada and is a UNICEF representative. Written with journalist McClelland, her story is deeply personal yet devoid of self-pity. As it aims to correct misperceptions about Sierra Leone and to raise awareness of the needs of child victims of war, this book will unsettle readers—and then inspire them with the evidence of Mariatus courage. Ages 14–up. Publisher: Annick Press Genre: Young Adult, Nonfiction

Where Witch Birds Fly by Eugene Harkins
In the twilight of the Cold War, a strange and horrific civil war erupted in Sierra Leone that would ultimately lead to a UN War Crimes Tribunal for Crimes Against Humanity. Where Witch Birds Fly captures the toxic brew of forces at play in the small West African country—Big Oil, Big Diamonds, competing outside powers, foreign mercenaries, and the local dominant Lebanese Christian trading community––all intriguing to pillage the African population’s assets, degrading and destroying its chances for development to the point that a brutal insurrection breaks out. Here amid the tumult, an African-American international lawyer comes face to face with all that he is, and all that he has become. Many years enjoyment of the accoutrements of professional success—sharp clothes, fast cars, and flashy white women—have left Richard White feeling troubled and alone. Long-term psychoanalysis has brought no peace. He is wrestling with an identity crisis brought on by rejection of his black, lower-class background, and estrangement from his family and community. White first arrives in Sierra Leone during the Cold War on a mission to collect a forty million dollar oil debt owed by the local Freetown refinery. There, even as he is swept into the ex-patriate community’s bacchanal, his pursuit of an ancestral linkage to the country via the slave trade begins. He returns a second time, post-Cold War, representing Lebanese interests in the largely illicit diamond trade, only to be kidnapped and held for ransom by Foday Sankoh’s Revolutionary United Front. The anguish of Sierra Leone will change Richard White’s life. Publisher: Clarity Press Genre: Historical Fiction; Mystery

Blood Diamonds: Tracing The Deadly Path of the World's Most Precious Stones by Greg Campbell
Freelance journalist Campbell here writes about the cost of diamonds not in dollars to the consumer but in blood, torture, and death for the unfortunate residents of contested mining areas in Sierra Leone. He explains that "conflict diamonds," or "blood diamonds," which account for only three to four percent of all diamonds sold, are mined in war zones, smuggled out of the country, and sold to legitimate companies, financing ruinous civil wars and the plots of international terrorists, including the al Qaeda network. The gems' value and portability have made controlling the diamond mines important to guerrilla fighters, who maim and kill innocent villagers to secure their territory. Campbell has spoken with individuals all along the pipeline, from miners to soldiers to smugglers, and the grim portrait he paints will make many people think twice about buying another diamond. While Matthew Hart's Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession covered the international diamond trade more widely, this focused study of the catastrophic effect of blood diamonds on Sierra Leone belongs in all libraries. Publisher: Basic Books Genre: Nonfiction

No Condition is Permanent by Cristina Kessler
In her first novel, Kessler (One Night) explores sophisticated issues of cultural contrast between life in America and a remote African village through the eyes of a 14-year-old California girl. Providing an educational look into Sierra Leone's traditions and language, the author creates a likeable main character who is realistically headstrong and good-hearted. When Jodie's mother receives a grant to study in Sierra Leone, the girl suddenly finds herself living with snakes and scorpions and without electricity or indoor plumbing. She does find a soulmate in Khadi, a local girl who helps her see the beauty of the village and the culture ("Having Khadi, who I could barely talk to, hold my hand, as we walked past huts and goats seemed totally natural"). But when Khadi comes of age and is inducted into the women's Secret Society, which practices female circumcision, Jodie must decide whether or not to interfere. She wants to spare Khadi the pain (and possibility of infection or even death) but knows that getting involved might alienate her from her friend and banish her and her mother from their community. Jodie's observations of life in Sierra Leone occasionally read like exoticism ("Khadi, bare-breasted as usual and dripping wet, looked like a picture out of an art book"), and the ending, though realistic, comes a bit abruptly. Overall, the novel does a solid job of combining a complicated issue with a compelling plot. Ages 10-14. Publisher: Philomel Genre: Young Adult Fiction

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
This absorbing account by a young man who, as a boy of 12, gets swept up in Sierra Leone's civil war goes beyond even the best journalistic efforts in revealing the life and mind of a child abducted into the horrors of warfare. Beah's harrowing journey transforms him overnight from a child enthralled by American hip-hop music and dance to an internal refugee bereft of family, wandering from village to village in a country grown deeply divided by the indiscriminate atrocities of unruly, sociopathic rebel and army forces. Beah then finds himself in the army—in a drug-filled life of casual mass slaughter that lasts until he is 15, when he's brought to a rehabilitation center sponsored by UNICEF and partnering NGOs. The process marks out Beah as a gifted spokesman for the center's work after his "repatriation" to civilian life in the capital, where he lives with his family and a distant uncle. When the war finally engulfs the capital, it sends 17-year-old Beah fleeing again, this time to the U.S., where he now lives. (Beah graduated from Oberlin College in 2004.) Told in clear, accessible language by a young writer with a gifted literary voice, this memoir seems destined to become a classic firsthand account of war and the ongoing plight of child soldiers in conflicts worldwide. Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Genre: Memoir; Politics; War

Over the past few years, a number of Sierra Leoneans have written books either to reflect on their political stewardship and that of the governments in which they served, or on the recent tragic history of the country. I am thinking here in particular of The Agony of a Nation (1996), a book by the former Sierra Leone Government minister, Abdul Karim Koroma, and Democracy by Force: A Study of International Military Intervention in the Civil War in Sierra Leone 1999-2001 (2001), co-authored by Dr. Abass Bundu and Dr. John Karefa-Smart, both also former ministers. The present book, by me, belongs to a different genre.  It is not political history neither is it the boring and sometimes unconvincing attempt at self-justification by a former government official.  It is, more absorbingly, a piece of genealogical history; the history, as its title indicates, of my family Conteh-Turay families of the Tonkolili East Region of Sierra Leone  (West Africa) 

In this book the patriarch of my clan, my grandfather Alhaji Alimamy Sorie, was Paramount Chief of Kunike Barina Chiefdom. He died in 1967 while I was a student in St. Francis Secondary School in Makeni and only came home during holidays to spend time with him acting as his private secretary. What grandpa told me has now been woven into a beautiful whole in this book. Not the least of the work s attractions is the multiple perspectives from which the various relatives and figures in my life is depicted: that of the child, the young adult, and the reflective diplomat. I spent some time making a thorough research for this book which has over one hundred photographs with 350 pages. I have written this book to educate my children and numerous younger relations, (cousins, nephews, and nieces), many of whom were born and live in the United States and Great Britain on our roots. By describing at length the lives and careers of some members of my family that became leading actors in the politics of Sierra Leone, I hope I am making a small and modest contribution to the history of our country, Sierra Leone. I hope this book will interest you and your family. Limited copies are on sale for only Twenty-five dollars per copy and thirty United States dollars by mail. 

Comments: HOW TO ORDER: 
Please call any of the following numbers. Please give your name and address and your order will be delivered to you at no extra cost. Payment must be made to: 
Amara Dennis Turay, 
859 Glenmore Avenue 
Brooklyn New York 11208. U.S.A. 
Home: (718) 647 9654 
Cell: (347) 210 2879 Email:adturay@hotmail.com 
(718)235 3964 
(215)342 8008 
(215)245 0890 
(718)933 0488 and 
(678)358 2956 
Buy a copy now by mail TODAY! 

How De Body?: One Man's Terrifying Journey Through an African War, by Teun 
Voeten, translated from the Dutch by Roz Vatter-Buck (Thomas Dunne Books, Barnes & Nobles)

In 1998, Acclaimed Photo Journalist Teun Voeten headed to Sierra Leone for what he thought would be a standard assignment on the child soldiers there. But the cease-fire ended just as he arrived, and the clash between the military junta and the West African peacekeeping troops forced him to hide in the bush from rebels who were intent on killing him. How de Body? ("How are you?" in Sierra Leone's creole English) is a dramatic account of the conflict that has been raging in the country for nearly a decade -- and how Voeten nearly became a casualty. Accessible and conversational, it's a look into the dangerous diamond trade that fuels the conflict, the legacy of war practices such as forced amputations, the tragic use of child soldiers, and more. The book is also a tribute to the people who never make the headlines: Eddie Smith, a BBC correspondent who eventually helps Voeten escape; Alfred Kanu, a school principal who risks his life to keep his students and teachers going amid the bullets and raids; and Padre Victor, who runs a safe haven for former child soldiers; among others. Featuring Voeten's stunning black-and-white photos from his multiple trips to the conflict area, How de Body? is a crucial testament to a relatively unknown tragedy. 

Publishers Weekly
The title of this harrowing journey through war-torn Sierra Leone means how are you? in pidgin English; as photojournalist Voeten shows in his dramatic but incomplete work of war reportage, Sierra Leone isn't doing well and neither is he, after a 1998 trip there. On assignment to photograph child soldiers, Voeten finds himself in the midst of a war between a military junta and West African peacekeeping troops. After nearly being killed by a gun-toting teenager, he goes into hiding for two weeks: I feel like a fox running from hounds and curse the soldiers who won't give me a moment's peace. His disappearance makes him something of a cause celebre several of his colleagues are planning to mount a search and rescue but he's eventually able to leave the country. Yet that's just the beginning of Voeten's involvement with the impoverished African nation. Despite suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he returns to Sierra Leone, and it is in recounting these times that the book weakens. Voeten doesn't delve beneath the surface of his interest in Sierra Leone; he fails to give readers even a basic history of the country or to reflect on what makes journalists willing to risk their lives to report from there. He also neglects to sufficiently describe his PTSD or how his multiple returns to Sierra Leone affect it. By not answering these questions, Voeten ends up with merely a frightening travelogue of a depressing country and one inelegantly written at that. The photos, which may be the book's highlight, were not seen by PW. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. 

Library Journal
Voeten, an acclaimed photojournalist, writes about the ferocity of the eight-year civil war in Sierra Leone, a former British colony in West Africa. Once referred to as "The White Man's Grave," it is a country endowed with very hospitable people and mineral wealth gold, silver, and, in particular, diamonds, which "literally lie there waiting to be picked up." The abundance of diamonds has sown greed among the major ethnic groups and has also attracted an international consortium of criminals, arms dealers, mercenaries, and drug barons. Control of these diamonds is the cause and fuel of the war. Voeten was sent to cover the use of child soldiers by the rebels and in the process got caught in the middle of the warring factions and almost lost his life. He has covered many civil wars in other places, and references and comparisons are constantly made to other war-torn countries. Thousands of children were kidnapped by the rebels and conscripted as soldiers, bearers, and cannon fodder. Special amputation squads hacked off arms, hands, or legs to sow terror and avenge the rebels' defeat. Such mass amputations were compared to those done by Belgian colonizers in the former Congo. Throughout How De Body? ("How are you?" in pidgin English), Voeten, relief workers, missionaries, and human rights activists ruminate on the extent of savagery during the eight-year period. Voeten is also fascinated by the courage, strength, and hospitality of Sierra Leoneans. The author, however, exposes his own biases by using words such as natives, thick lips, bastards, fat, and the like in the first chapter. Overall, this is a very interesting but depressing narrative of the atrocities of a civil war characterized by greed and wealth. Recommended for public libraries and those interested in African politics and civil wars in general. Edward G. McCormack, Cox Lib. & Media Ctr., Univ. of Southern Mississippi-Gulf Coast, Long Beach Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. 

Welfare to Millionaire: The Sarian Bouma Story
is the incredible true story of Sarian Bouma, the Sierra Leone, West African, immigrant who went from finding herself in a homeless shelter as a welfare mother to a self-made millionaire! Born into poverty, Sarian made her way to the "promised land," America, with $1,500, to wind up divorced, down and out on welfare, and having to feed her baby water because she didn't have enough food stamps to buy milk.

Less than two decades later, this remarkable woman is a self-made entrepreneur, owner of a multimillion dollar corporation, and happily married mother of six. She has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, honored with Whoopi Goldberg, respected by Senator Bob Dole, President Bill Clinton, Maryland Governor Parris Glendening,Cabinet Secretary of Commerce, The Honorable Donald Evans, and SBA Administrator Aida Alvarez, among others.

In Welfare to Millionaire: The Sarian Bouma Story, Sarian shares her journey, recounting her challenges and obstacles, failures and successes, disasters and triumphs. She talks about new goals and dreams with humor, warmth, and honesty.

This book is published by XLIBRIS • A strategic partner of Random House Ventures

Moses, Citizen & Me
Delia jarrett- Macauley
Publisher: Granta Books (2005)
ISBN: 186207741X
Availible at Amazon.co.uk

When Julia flies into war-scarred Sierra Leone from London, she is apprehensive about seeing her uncle Moses for the first time in twenty years. But nothing could have prepared her for her encounter with her eight-year-old cousin, Citizen, a former child soldier, and for the shocking truth of what he has done.

Driven by a desire to understand Citizen, Julia takes the disturbed child into the rainforest, where to her surprise, she encounters him amongst other child soldiers, along with a mysterious storyteller, Bemba G. Is he a shaman, teacher, wizard or magician? He alone in the heart of the rainforest can heal the rift between the cultures of war and peace, Europe and Africa. But who would think he'd use Shakespeare to do it? 

Moses, Citizen & Me is a work of imagination about the conflict in Sierra Leone; a novel which draws on both the European canon and African oral traditions to illuminate the sufferings of child soldiers and their families.

'A deeply affecting and vividly told story of ordinary people with the courage to survive. Delia Jarrett-Macauley has excavated the pain and torment within the hidden recesses of the human soul and there uncovered, finally - love. A wonderful book...'

- Aminatta Forna

'An extraordinary novel about war, childhood, art and salvation. Shakespearean tragedy recast in modern Africa, transformed into a redemptive vision as magical as a midsummer night's dream.'

- Francis Wheen

'...her understated prose a foil to the bleak and disturbing subject matter. ...sensitively establishes the family as a microcosm of the ruptured nation.. and Shakespeare provides an inspirational and uplifting agent of therapy.'

- Literary Review

'...spirited...beautiful writing.'

- The Independent

'Seven years ago Delia Jarrett-Macauley published The Life of Una Marson 1906-65, a landmark biography of the Jamaican feminist who became the BBC's first black programme maker. In her debut novel, Jarrett-Macauley again breaks ground with a delicate and brave....treatment of child soldiers in the aftermath of a west African civil war.'

- Maya Jaggi, The Guardian

'...the considered and multi-layered story of a Sierra Leone family blasted apart by one of its children turning boy soldier in the civil war. It is a novel remarkable for its slowed, measured pulse and its calm analysis, its keenness to promise hope and rehabilitation even after the worst.'

- Ali Smith, The Guardian Review

Sierra Leonean Writers Series
A Political Drama of Wish over Wisdom
by Karamoh Kabba

Click Images to Enlarge

for Writers of Sierra Leonean Descent
Just published: MORQUEE - A Political Drama of Wish over Wisdom (Karamoh Kabba)
Under review: Sierra Leone since Independence

Sierra Leone
The Fighter from Death Row: Testimony of Survival by a Christian Journalist
by Hilton E. Fyle
An amazing survival story which can easily pass for a thriller in the field of fiction. But it is true. Journalist Hilton Fyle packs his bags and heads back home to Sierra Leone after 20 years as a star broadcaster with the BBC in London England, during which he became a household name in Africa and most of the English-speaking world. His new challenge is to participate in the new democracy that the United States and its allies are planting in the country, after 25 years of dictatorship and oppression. 

Unfortunately, he gets a bad deal from the new , "democratic" government of president Tejan Kabba. His newspaper is forced to close after publishing a "Corruption" story involving two cabinet ministers. Kabba is overthrown in May 1997 and is planning to return with military force. But journalist Hilton Fyle uses his FM radio station to campaign for a peaceful return. Kabba does return with a bang. His opponents are shot and burned alive on the streets of the capital. Fyle escapes instant death, but he is beaten, imprisoned, tried and sent to Death Row awaiting execution. The climax of it all is that he walks out of Death Row without the consent of the government or the prison authorities. All this would not have happened he says, if United Nations peacemakers in Sierra Leone had not played a "dirty game." 

A Mother's Saga
An Account of the Rebel War in Sierra Leone
by Karamoh Kabba
In March 1991, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels waged a ruthless war on Sierra Leone, which was to last for a decade characterized by the worst forms of crimes against humanity.

A single mother took a dreadful journey in a heroic effort to protect her terrified family from the trigger-happy and machete-swinging rebels across bloodbath diamond fields, intolerable savanna-grasslands, iniquitous rain forests and a petrified city in Sierra Leone. She spent days and nights in these treacherous savanna-grasslands and jungle-forests--walked hundreds of miles, narrowly dodged rebel advances, survived on wild fruits, traveled in cargo trucks and over-capacitated boats. At the climax, she woke-up one night under rebel AK-47 assault rifles and watched helplessly rebels abducted her children in this line-for-line titillating narrative.

But she overcome the odds, made it to the United States and recounted her sufferings that is independent of politics and the mass media during this miserable decade in the history of Sierra Leone.

Democracy by Force?
A study of international military intervention in the conflict in Sierra Leone from 1991-2000
by Abass Bundu
Although democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights are the defining idioms of contemporary state governance and international relations, they are hardly commonplace in Africa. In domestic environments severely degraded by abuse of power and rebellion, what kind of existence do African leaders give to their people? Can they proclaim rights for their citizens in international instruments but behave in ways that are diametrically opposite? What future has democracy when the last election was a rogue one and the incumbent regime the beneficiary? Sierra Leone, whose civil conflict enters its tenth year in March 2001, carries the unenviable status of playing host to the world's largest peacekeeping force. Yet there is still no lasting peace in a conflict that has determined not so much who is right or wrong as who is left. 

The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar
Syl Cheney-Coker
(First published 1990) 
This book is out of print.

Read an Excerpt:
Gustavius Martins died in the fire that night, but his badly burnt body was not discovered for some while, not until his wife, in the confusion realised that he had not come out with the other men, and went in search of him. She prayed that she would find her husband wounded, unable to walk, so that she would bring him back to nurse his wounds, bring him back to life and wipe out the terrible anguish that had come into their lives since the war. The thought that he might be dead did not enter her head, because Isatu Martins was not a woman easily troubled by the supposition that things could happen to her or to Gustavius to deprive her of living in happiness with him for ever. After Garbage was born, she had gone to see the diviner, who had told her to take her husband back to her town. She wanted to thank him for his advice, and to bring him some presents. Asked by the venerable man is she had any other reque! st to make, she replied that she had only one wish in life.

'What is that, my child?' asked the wise man.

'To die in bed with my husband, when I am seventy-five years old,' she replied.

So now she prayed even more loudly, hoping that all the angels and all the dead would come out of their graves to answer her prayers. But the further she picked her way into the burnt-out garrison, the more shocked Isatu Martins was at what she saw. Parts of the garrison were completely gutted and the fire was still burning in the one area where Isatu Martins hoped to find her husband. It was a slow fire but if there was life there, then it was the sound of the beams as the collapsed onto the floor in the blaze. The former shop of the carpenters from Calabar, the barns where the captain and his men had stored food for the possibility of a long rainy season, had been wiped out and the place smelled of the burning flesh of animals.

Yet Isatu Martins went into each of the cells, looking for the familiar face of her husband. What she saw in nearly all of them were the poses in death. She had never seen anyone dead, and had always wondered what people looked like when they died. She saw men gripping their heads as if when the angel had come to take them away they had asked him to go away and come back later because they were not yet ready to leave this world. Others had died with their arms flung wide open as if they had mistaken death for a beloved woman who was coming into their arms after all those months of being without love.

'Good Lawd,' said Isatu Martins. 'If dis is de face of death, then ah wonder what its back looks like?'

When she finally discovered the body of her husband, she did not have to turn it over as she had done with some of the other men. She was familiar with the country of the man's body, with the way he lay in bed, especially after a hard day's work. She knew the rhythm and the storm of that body better than any other person in the world, its tales of magic and rhythm to the accompaniment of the weaverbirds' songs as he had made her his; how often she had trembled in the storm of his passion, with his smell of a man, of pinewood.

Suppressing the deep surge of pain which was threatening to flood her, she sat next to the dead man and touched his face. But in her heart, Isatu Martins refused to accept that her husband was dead. She thought that death was a nasty thief who came at night to steal all that twenty years of hard work had given you but that, like some good thieves, might return some of the stolen items when they had taken the best stuff for themselves.

She raised the head of her man to see if there had been a mistake after all, especially as his face was still warm, like a young bull's, but the buzzing of the flies that had been attracted by the smell of blood all over the garrison was enough to tell her that his life had gone out a long time before she had arrived to claim it. Then from a region in her heart where they had loved each other so much, she began to bring back the moments of happiness. She saw him coming across the cornfields, shy and dark like a bronze mask, to tell her about the throne where she would sit for ever. She remembered how his hands had trembled as he helped her into the lantern where she was serenaded by the acrobatic monkeys dancing over the crouching lions, in that forget-me-not afternoon of the protestation of his love for her. She recalled how he had told her the tales of the sea with its millions of living souls fed to the sha! rks would be forgotten, if only she would return to his life.

Life, Isatu Martins remembered, had been good to them, despite the terrifying period when she had wanted to kill her love for him with her death, because Garbage had not arrived yet, the gift of the chimerical dwarfs, and smelling of the banana grove where his grandfather had made him immune to the pernicious eyes of envy.

With a great strength belying her now unbearable grief, she lifted the limp form of her husband and came into the hallway. The hills dwarfing the garrison were alive with the voices of the creatures of the night, but Isatu Martins was not afraid. She walked slowly, carrying the man, as she had carried him in other times, though when in the past they had reached the bottom, it was not clear who had carried whom.

Suddenly she found herself on the road leading to the town, and for once she was glad of the oppressive silent hand that had clamped the mouth of Malagueta, so that she could take her husband home without being seen. Grief, for Isatu Martins, was a private affair.

When she felt she was losing strength, she put the man down gently on the ground where all men had an ancestor waiting to claim then. She stroked his face, but his smile did not change. Gustavius Martins looked like a happy man in death, because he had died thinking about his wife. But as he lay there, Isatu Martins saw, in the faint glow of the moon, that although her husband's face had escaped the ravages of the fire his body was badly burnt.

She ran her hand gently down the hard, leathery body, felt where it had gone to sleep, where the ribs had broken out of their cage, but she was not horrified. He was her man. Once again, she saw the same beautiful man who had come to her that evening many years ago as she was bathing in the stream. Suddenly, she felt the tears running down her cheeks and she began to speak to the dead man.

'Sleep, my love, sleep until we get home where ah shall tend your wounds: you look beautiful and no one will ever know how ah found you, because it is none of their business. We was alone together and we shall be alone again in dat house where you will never want for anything, because ah shall see to it dat you are happy in dat house dat you built wid your hands.'

She asked him to 'come any time you feel like it, from de other country, where ah know you will be going for a while, only for a while; come because you know ah shall be there always, with de doors open, wid my heart waiting for you, and holding your son by de hand'.

Isatu Martins regained her strength. Slowly, singing to herself so that she wouldn't cry, she continued the journey home. In the still of the night, she was a monument to all brave women: upright and proud, so that not even the shrieks of the dog-faced baboons giving birth in the surrounding countryside disturbed her calm. Getting closer to her house, she passed the school of the Farmer brothers, and Isatu Martins suddenly remembered that other man who had come to Malagueta, in the dignity of his English suit, with the cadences of love in his voice, to find a name in the babel of tongues that was Malagueta in those days. And because she was a woman who had always admired courageous men, men who dared the impossible to make their world better, she felt a deep gratitude to her husband and to Gabriel Farmer. She thanked God that she had been given the chance to share the life of one of them, to have loved him, an! d to have been loved by him in return.

Jeanette Cromantine was just blowing out the lamp in her room when she saw Isatu Martins toiling along with the body of her husband. She ran out of her house like a mad woman, without a shawl to protect her in the cold. But when she realised that it was a dead man who was coming home, she cried out in anguish as she had never cried before.

'Isatu!' she wept. 'What a great pain life has given you, my sister. There will never be anoder man like him.'

Gustavius Martins was laid out in a rough wooden coffin that Alphonso the cabinet maker made free of charge. 'He was like a brother to me, and helped me to find my feet when I was starting this business,' the carpenter said, refusing to be paid by Isatu Martins. Before she opened the house to the large crowd of people who wanted to pay their last respects to the dead man, she asked Jeanette Cromantine, who had been with her all the time, to let her have some time alone with her husband.

'Before they take him away from me, let me rest my head on his chest one last time.'

She combed his hair and powdered his face, straightened his tie and adjusted the handkerchief in his breast pocket. Then she remembered that he had bought an expensive gold watch many years before Garbage had been born, but that he had not worn it because of the situation brought about by the war, when time was measured more in terms of the number of battles that were fought than by the awakening of the sun. She found the gold piece and when she opened the case, she was surprised that its hands were moving, as if someone had wound the mechanism. 'Take dis away wid you 'cause ah won't be needing it to know when you coming.'

The sword of Modibo of Timbuctoo rested at the right side of the dead man, and the Moroccan slippers that he wore were the same that Santigue Dambolla had not been able to give to his son-in-law, but which Sawida had brought with the dead cloud of her grief. She loved this son-in-law of hers and, like all women accustomed to pain, she felt it hard to cry. While her daughter sat motionless in a chair in front of the sleeping man, it was the widow of the banana-grove man who served coffee, who saw to it that all the doors were open so that everyone who wanted to come would have a last look at the man who, next to Sebastian Cromantine, had made Malagueta the prosperous town that it was.

Over the protestation of Sawida Dambolla, Isatu Martins let Garbage stand next to her, looking at his father. As in the past, when they had shared the ephemeral hours of grief, the mother and the son did not talk too much; each was locked in a secret territory of knowledge, learning to reshape their lives, in the morning after. But when Isatu Martins put her arms around the body of her son they clung to each other, and for the first time since she had come upon the body of her husband, he cried with her because they had found each other in the great eternal love that they felt in their hearts for the man and for themselves.

Gustavius Martins was carried away to the heights of his mortality by the largest crowd that Malagueta had ever seen. Sebastian Cromantine, who, when he heard that his friend had died, shook the cane chair where he sat with a volcanic rage, insisted on burying his friend.

'Those bastards drove ma son outta dis place, and now dey have killed ma brother,' he raged, while Jeanette Cromantine tried to hold him down on the dusty road leading to the cemetery, leaning on his cane.

Under his breath, he swore that one day the young men of Malagueta would organise themselves and drive out all the foreigners. He was still recovering from the effects of his confinement in the garrison, so he had difficulty going up the hill, but he resisted his wife's attempts to help him along the way. The sounds of feet marching in the solemn procession rose above the voices of the people in the crowd; young men and women turning the last corners of wisdom, asthmatic and coughing clerics from the church who remembered when Gustavius Martins had given them the money to finish its construction, turned up that afternoon.

When she saw the open grave into which they were going to put her husband, Isatu Martins stared at the limitedness of space, the solitary, red and cold void that had claimed a man who had been all warmth and sunshine. But it was not the space that she would remember later when the body was gone, for Gustavius Martins was not a man confined by the diameters of space, as much as the thuds of the earth that she put on the coffin, earth to earth, dust to dust, and the gravity of the look of Sebastian Cromantine as he shovelled the first spadeful of earth in an everlasting rite of brotherhood.

After they had covered the coffin with the last remnants of red soil, the large crowd of mourners went back to their houses; they were too sad to remember how many years earlier, at another funeral, Thomas Bookerman had led the first attack against the garrison.

Isatu and Garbage Martins moved in with the Cromantines. Although the widow had insisted that she was all right and could get on in her own house with only a little help from her friend, Jeanette Cromantine would hear nothing of it.

'Put youself in ma position,' she said to the bereaved woman. 'What would you do if it be Sebastian and Gustavius who died?'

Death had broken a bond that had existed between the two couples since the early days of the founding of the town. Throughout the long years in the bitterness of the first settlement, in the triumphs over the various adversities they had encountered, in the excitement of watching the town grow, nothing so terrible had happened to any of the original families. But when Jeanette Cromantine wanted to shut the windows, hang white curtains and mark the windows with white chalk as a sign of mourning for Gustavius, Isatu Martins told her not to.

'Gustavius was a kind man, always gentle wid me. Take de time when ah wanted to die 'cause ah did not have Garbage then. Most men would have been vexed, vexed, but not my Gustavius. So let me think of him as if he only gone away on a long visit.'

They opened the house, whitewashed the stones and welcomed the neighbours who came around every day to pay their respects to the dead man's widow. Some brought little pieces of lace, spices to drive out witches, a leg of lamb, chickens and eggs, not because Isatu Martins needed them but because they wanted to be one with her in that season.

The Lassa Ward: One Man's Fight Against One of the World's Deadliest Diseases: by Ross Donaldson
Ross Donaldson is one of just a few who have ventured into dark territory of a country ravaged by war to study one of the world’s most deadly diseases. As an untried medical student studying the intersection of global health and communicable disease, Donaldson soon found himself in dangerous Sierra Leone, on the border of war-struck Liberia, where he struggled to control the spread of Lassa Fever. The words, “you know Lassa can kill you, don’t you?” haunted him each day. With the country in complete upheaval and working conditions suffering, he is forced to make life-and-death decisions alone as a never-ending onslaught of contagious patients flood the hospital. Soon however, he is not only fighting for others but himself when he becomes afflicted with a life threatening disease. The Lassa Ward is more than just an adventure story about the making of a physician; it is a portrait of the Sierra Leone people and the human struggle of those risking their daily comforts and lives to aid them. Publisher: St. Martin's Press Genre: Memoir; Medical

Sierra Leone :by Judy L. Hesday
Although graced with picturesque beaches, lush rain forests, and abundant diamond mines, the tiny West African nation of Sierra Leone is a land haunted by tragedy. It is the region from which the first slaves in North America were brought during the 1600s. A century later, thousands of freed staves would establish a settlement called Freetown, which later became part of the British colony of Sierra Leone. Despite its diamond resources, Sierra Leone remained a poverty-stricken nation after achieving independence in 1961. During the 1990s, its people were devastated by horrific atrocities that occurred during a brutal civil war. Since peace came to the troubled nation in 2002, Sierra Leone has begun the slow process of rebuilding. However, much work must still be done before Sierra Leone can become a peaceful and
prosperous nation. Publisher: Mason Crest Genre: Young Adult (10-12), Nonfiction, Series

Black Man's Grave: Letters from Sierra Leone: by Gary JR Stewart and John Anman
Black Man's Grave chronicles the hijacking of Sierra Leone's fledgling democracy by corrupt politicians, the plundering of the country's diamonds, and the rise of the notorious Revolutionary United Front. Based on letters from villagers to the authors, both former Peace Corps Volunteers in Sierra Leone, the book exposes 'big man' Siaka Stevens, warlord Charles Taylor, and rebel leader Foday Sankoh. Publisher: Cold Run Books Genre: Memoir; Politics; History

Singing in Exile and The Child of War
By: S.U. Kamarah 

Dr. Sheikh Umarr Kamarah’s Singing in Exile And The Child of War is the first published collection of poetry by a Sierra Leonean since Syl Cheney-Coker’s Blood in the Desert’s Eyes in 1991. The collection examines the causes of the African (Sierra Leonean) condition, evaluates the African Immigrant's situation in the West, hints at the role and culpability of corporate West in African wars and woes, and concludes that Africans must ultimately assume the responsibility of rebuilding their continent.

Hybrid Eyes - An African In Europe
By: Osman A. Sankoh (Mallam O.) 

This book catalogues the real life experiences of the author during his student years in Germany. As the title suggests, the semi-autobiography critically examines the experiences of Africans and other minority communities in Germany, as well as key values and stereotypes that many people in Africa hold about life in Europe.

Green Oranges 
on Lion Mountains
By: Emily Joy

When your Dad can crash his aeroplane into two water buffalo, life is unlikely to go according to plan. Even so, Emily Joy puts on her rose-tinted specs, leaves behind her comfortable life as a GP in York and heads off for two years to a remote hospital in Sierra Leone. 

There she finds the oranges are green, the bananas are black and her patients are, well, really ill. There's no water, no electricity, no oxygen, no amputation saw and Dr. Em is no surgeon. And there's no chocolate to treat her nasty case of unrequited love. Then the rebels invade!

Dr. Em's problems are tiny compared to those faced by the people of Sierra Leone. If they can remain so optimistic, then what's Em's excuse?

Our green doctor is a bit of a yellow-belly, often red-faced, trying to fight the blues. But green oranges give sweet orange juice. Never judge a fruit by its colour.


Notes from My Travels: by Angelina Jolie
Three years ago, award-winning actress Angelina Jolie took on a radically different role as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Here are her memoirs from her journeys to Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Ecuador, where she lived and worked and gave her heart to those who suffer the world's most shattering violence and victimization. Here are her revelations of joy and warmth amid utter destitution...compelling snapshots of courageous and inspiring people for whom survival is their daily work?and candid notes from a unique pilgrimage that completely changed the actress's worldview — and the world within herself. Publisher: Simon & Schuster Genre: Memoir

The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Quest: by Aminatta Forna
Forna saw her father for the last time on July 30, 1974; she was 10 years old. In this harrowing memoir-cum-detective story, journalist Forna searches for the truth about her father's execution in Sierra Leone after his treason conviction for allegedly attempting a coup upon the government in which he had once been a cabinet minister. Mohamed Forna, a British-educated doctor and activist in what was, in the 1960s, a fledgling democracy extricating itself from British colonialist rule, resigned from what had become a dictatorship rife with corruption and chaos. The consequences of that resignation culminated in eight executions and precipitated the descent into anarchy of Africa's poorest nation. Forna writes with a compelling mix of distance and anguish, intent on explaining her father's death and reclaiming his memory. Lush descriptions of her idyllic childhood provide eerie counterpoint to chilling depictions of the hell Sierra Leone had become upon her return in recent years, a place where bands of child warriors, hacking off limbs as both punishment and warning, have created a mutilated populace. The poverty her father tried to fight remains the only constant in the war-torn land. A harsh critic of her father's executioners, Forna nevertheless equivocates on the dictatorships that have wreaked havoc throughout Africa, querying her own identity as a diaspora mixed-race Afro-European. Reminiscent of Isabelle Allende's House of the Spirits, Forna's work is a powerfully and elegantly written mix of complex history, riveting memoir and damning expos. Publisher: Grove Press Genre: Memoir; Politics

The Secret Keeper: by Paul Harris
Sierra Leone's decades-long civil war and its tragic legacy of lost boy soldiers serve as the backdrop for Harris's journeyman debut. When Danny Kellerman, a British journalist in the midst of a flourishing career and a faltering marriage, receives an unexpected note pleading for help from Maria Tirado, a children's relief worker who was his lover during his brief assignment in Sierra Leone four years earlier, he does a Google search on her. To his horror, Danny learns that Maria was murdered before her note reached him in what authorities in Sierra Leone are sweeping under the carpet as a botched roadside robbery. Determined to learn the truth, Danny finagles his way back to West Africa, where he uncovers dangerous truths that suggest his government and his friends aren't the upstanding paragons he took them for. While the surprise-filled final chapter may strike some as a hastily contrived escape hatch, Harris shows a flair for intrigue that bodes well for future novels. Publisher: Dutton Adult Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir

An Historical Legacy of Sierra Leone and the United States
By: Arthur Abraham

In 1839, slaves aboard a ship called the Amistad revolted to secure their freedom while being transported from one Cuban port to
another. Their leader was Sengbe Pieh, a young Mende man, but popularly known in United States history as Joseph Cinque. The slaves had been kidnapped mostly from the neighborhood of the Colony of Sierra Leone and sold to Spanish slavers. They eventually received their freedom in 1841, after two years’ internment in the United States awaiting the verdict of the courts regarding their “revolt.” This was the celebrated Amistad Case, an episode far better known in the United States than on the other side of the Atlantic. But the incident had a far-reaching impact on both sides, influencing the course of American history
and especially the development of Afro-American culture, while, in Sierra Leone, leading to the inauguration of American missionary activity that trained many of the elite group that led the nationalist movement to achieve independence from colonial rule.

"Sierra Leone Remembered"
by: Esther L. Megill

Esther Megill had an extraordinary life experience in Sierra Leone as a medical technologist-extraordinary in the work she did, in the work she helped others to do, and in the legacy of good will she left behind at the time of her "retirement." Her book, Sierra Leone Remembered, reads like an adventure novel. Written in an easy conversational style, it is a true story whose "characters" draw you into their world. There are surprises at every turn and some will make you laugh along with Esther and her friends. Some will make you weep as she wept for the sick, displaced and those who lost their lives. This author was there and she takes you with her. Her stories have an unmistakable ring of essential truth. Other authors may have given us history lessons, descriptive passages, testamonials of faith, or glimpses into the culture and everyday lives of people. Esther Megill gives all that and more. Her feast of photographs tell thousands more stories at a glance. Pull up a chair, open Sierra Leone Remembered, and you will see and hear Esther tell her story in her own voice. Her story inspires one to look for the best in the human spirit despite circumstances. One sees that dedication to serve others with compassion, courage and faith, and medicine blessed with God's love, can make a difference. -Sylvia Smyth