Report by James B. Mansaray, of Freetown, Sierra Leone
An eyes glimpse was not enough for what I saw so I took my camera. Usually when short stories are told, most will say it’s an hyperbole. In our presently day life, things do happen that will never be counted as a truth if you were not there. Now look at the above photo that I took just before leaving to come to America and get the real truth from me.
Saturday mornings are usually uneventful in the heart of Freetown, especially in the wee wee hours. Here I was at Howe Street when I noticed this man, adjacent Delightful Restaurant ( Strictly Nigerian). Here was this hungry, dying man with a huge bundle, which I guess is his only treasure. As a photographer what you will do? My position was different. Pictures will count but on the other hand I look at what should be done to help this guy. He was totally down, weak, no strength to move but he was attempting to do so at his own risk for there was no energy left in him. You can tell from the way he was wiggling as if he was ready for a dance. How painful it is to shake and dance when you don’t want to. Hunger is that spell that can compel you to shake and dance and faint against your will.
This man had no choice but to lean on his heavily carried load to see if a minute or two rest will allow him to stand. But it didn't give him relief. I was waiting in traffic in a vehicle and not able to get to him to help, but from across the intersection I heard a lady urging him to get up as if it was easy for the poor man to do so. In a sharp faint voice in krio the poor guy said,” if nar u, u go able grap” meaning "if it were you will you be able to stand?" Tears on my heart as this poor hungry guy struggles to get up. He was not wanted where he rested - in Freetown restaurants and businesses do not want the weak parked in front of their doorstep. They consider it bad for their business.
Having gone through so much odds in life, if you cant help in scenes like this, best you can do is keep quiet and pray for the victim, bearing witness to his pain.
As I write this article, I wonder if this guy is still alive. In the dead corner he lay to see what else lies for me him.
As I am visiting America, I've not yet seen people in this type of hunger and pain. I know that they are here too, but I've not witnessed it. In Freetown and in most of Sierra Leone, you see people at this point of hunger everyday, everywhere. This is why the work of Nazareth House Apostolate is so very important.
Please consider donating to Nazareth House Apostolate today. Even better, consider making a monthly donation so the work can be sustained and NHA has something in which to depend on to help others. This is the Season of Giving, in Nazareth House Apostolate - we're all family - lets help each other out.
Love to you all,