Posted on

Thank you, Grandma

mother-and-daughter-668167_1280

I read the book SURVIVED THE JOURNEY by Memuna Barnes. It is a story of survival. A story that can inspire our young persons today. Captured and held by rebels, this remarkable young woman walked through the emotional mines of her teenage emotions of infatuation, confusion and was able to hold close to her heart and head lessons she had learned from a grandparent which helped her retain a sense of herself. When we started this blog, I wanted to have her share with us. She is African and comes from the value systems we hold dear, how mush of these values was impacted to her became evident when she was captured as a teenager. I feel that we could learn as parents the benefit of her impressions and how the relationship she enjoyed with her grandma became a source of inspiration during those terrifying times with the rebels.

Please meet Memuna Barnes Author of SURVIVED: The Journey.
Growing up, I lived with my paternal grandmother for a period of my childhood and whenever anyone of her grandchildren were treated unfairly and went running to her in tears or if she found one of us in a corner in tears she would sit beside that child and say, ‘Nothing lasts forever…..if life which is created by God inevitably ends, then there is nothing that can be inflicted on you that will last forever.’
This is one of my favourite of my paternal grandmother’s sayings. She used these sayings in raising her us with unbreakable emotional strength.
This saying of hers along with a prayer – Psalm 23, taught to me by my parents were instrumental in keeping me sane when myself, one of my younger sisters and two female cousins were taken from our family by the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone and held captive for almost two years.
I have always been an outspoken individual, although in my teens this aspect of my personality was not always encouraged from my family – as in most African settings.
I was born in Liberia and so my parents along with one of my younger sisters and I lived in Liberia. We lived there till the civil war broke out in 1989, where I witnessed the atrocities humans are capable of inflicting on others humans on the more vulnerable side of life in the absence of law and order. A year later we were able to leave on the Sierra Leone army ship to my father’s side of the family, as he is Sierra Leonean and Sierra Leone was at peace at the time.
For some unexplained reason I would not curb this, I spoke my mind almost always during the my time in captivity. I was brave enough to tell the rebel commanding officers who showed sexual interest in me that I wasn’t old enough. As this was some of the advice my grandma gave me. That a girl must be past her teens before she can be sexually active or it would affect her fertility.
Most importantly, however, I always remembered where I was taken from (my upbringing) in order to keep my mind on where I want to go in life.
Another one of my granny’s advice.
So what do you think?
Let’s have your comments please.

One thought on “Thank you, Grandma

  1. It is a blessing that in Africa our grand parents remain relevant in the family and they are our fountain of wisdom. Often as teens we pretend not to listen to what we are told especially if the advice goes against what we intend on doing at a given time. But I am sure that a lot of us hear the words of guidance we protest against and we revisit them when we most need them. I was notorious for protesting as a child – and needless to say that some times I was hit or made to stand and in a corner and face the wall for a few minutes. Little did my family know I would revisit their advice in my quiet time and see where it’s useful.
    Parents, talk to your children rather than just hitting. You want to raid them and lead them in the journey of life rather than just deter them from behaviour that are not socially or traditionally acceptable.
    Thank you Ms. Olatunde for this.

Leave a Reply