• We all have the right to write. Anything we can say, we can write.
  • We all can write well if we are emotionally involved in our topic and our purpose. We find our voices there. Writing is learning and discovering. It develops best in real-life situations, with the instructor intervening in the writing process.
  • We learn to read by having written. We learn from our experiences, including experiences with oral and written texts. We should expose ourselves to many texts, and often do free-choice reading.
  • We learn best in collaborative, diverse, and supportive communities. We all learn in our own ways, and our home cultures affect how we interpret our experiences.
  • Moving through the writing process can produce powerful writing. We gain more ownership over our writing if we master the writing process.
  • Writing is a strong tool for developing critical thinking. Challenging our thinking as we write in collaborative settings, develops academic language proficiency.
  • We teach equitably:  not less, but more to the poor. We recognize our children's home communities and ancestral cultures as our educational partners.
Kent Boy
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by William A. Beckley (1916-2001)

Edited by Jacqueline Leigh

© SELI Publishers, Freetown 1996

All rights reserved

 

In memory of my beloved grandmother

Elizabeth Dowu Renner

 

Preface

Beginning in 1989 I intermittently recorded the recollections in Krio of William Africanus Beckley, a family friend, in Tengbeh Town.  Mr. Beckley was born in 1916 in Kent village in Sierra Leone, a century after its founding and a century ago.  He lived there until 1934 when he moved to Freetown.  Although he never returned to live in the village he always thought of himself as a "Kent boy" and wanted this to be the title of his book. As is the nature of conversations, topics would appear, disappear, and reappear again, unpredictably.  I typed out the scripts, and then organized them into chapters, attempting not to insert any words of my own.

In January, 1994 I finished a dummy of Kent Boy and read it aloud to Mr. Beckley, who was an avid reader in English but did not read Krio. He suggested some changes. That same year I handed over to him copies of this book and a book of his proverbs. He left work not long after that time, and died in January of 2001, at the age of 85.

Interested readers may link here to a photo of Mr. Beckley or to "A History of St. Edward's Church, Kent, Sierra Leone, 3rd edition" by Jacqueline Leigh for more on the history of Kent Village.      — J. L.


Table of Contents

In Thoz Dez

Wi Tradishɔn Dɛn

Di Amɔk Rod

Di Riba

Di Slev Tred

Bak to di Vilej

____________________________

In Thoz Dez

Mi na Kent bɔy. A bɔn na Kent Vilej to Cape Shilling, na di Freetown Peninsula, ɛn na de a kam ɔp.

A bin ol fotin di 30 Disɛmba 1930 we mi mami day. I lɛf mi na mi grani in an. Dance Street—wi bin de kɔl am Big Trit—na de mi grani in os de, jɔs na di Diana Street kɔna.

Kent gɛt bɔku strim dɛn. Tret dɔng Diana Street yu gɛt Fri Meri Wata; na bin di men strim dat. Ɔda strim dɛn bin de: Klik Wata, Aleluya, Orikoriko, Ed Riva, ɛn Krafis Wata.

Dɔn, wɛl bin de. King Wɛl, na King Yad, na di men Kɛnt wɛl te tide. Ɔp Kola Il, wi bin gɛt Kanjɛ Wata, to di kep pat. Babu Bruk-Fɔ-Put-na-Kɔntri-Pɔt de na Big Grassfield. Dɛn bin de mek fam de ɔl.

Mi grani ɛn in big brɔda Joe, dɛn mek kasada fam. Wi pach farinya ɛn wi mek fufu. Bay fufu? Na we a kam na Freetown, na im a no se fɔ bay fufu.

Wi bin gɛt tu kayn fufu: wata fufu, ɛn waka fufu. Na so so wata fufu de naw. Waka fufu nɔ de igen. Fɔ mek di waka fufu, yu pul di kasada, yu pil am. Na akpani kasada wi bin de yuz mɔ, bikɔs im gɛt risistans. Yu nɔ sok di kasada atɔl. Yu de sɛt am na bag; di bag de it am ɔp, sem we lɛk we yu de sɛt banana. Afta tri dez, yu greta am. Na pan dɛn old broko Shebra kunu dɛn kin greta kasada, ɔ pan, sem we lɛk aw dɛn kin greta kokonat. Yu put di kunu ɔ di pan tret bifɔ yu; I de bitwin yu fut. Yu butu oba di greta, yu de greta. Ɔl de go insay. We yu dɔn greta am dɔn, dɛn yu fɔ lɛf am, mek di wata dren. Di ɔda de, yu bigin bɔl am.

Dɛn gɛt say we dɛn de put am fɔ dray. Di fish banda dat tɛm de, I gɛt ayda tri ɔ fo stejis. Dɔng na fɔ fish; midul fɔ dɛn fish we dɔn ovadray . . . ogiri . . . ɔl dɛn tin de. Di pantap wan, na de yu de put di fufu bɔl dɛn. Briz de blo am, ɔ yu prɛd lif pantap.

We yu wan kuk di fufu, yu tek am, yu bit am. Fɔ tren am, dɛn bin gɛt “asɛ;” asɛ na sɔntin lɛk baskɛt ɔ blay. Ɛf dɛn tek da wan de tren fufu fɔ yu! Da fufu de, we yu it am, na im dat nɔ mɔ! Wans na akpani kasada yu de yuz, wan smɔl mol nɔ mɔ, I de du fɔ yu. We yu dɔn it am dɔn, pas yu go ledɔm fɔs.

In thoz dez, dɛn bin gɛt Fishaman Kɔmpin. Ɔl dɛn fishaman dɛn na mɛmba. Yu de na fam, yu yɛri dɛn blo dat fishaman ɔn, yu nɔ no wetin dɔn bi—yu nɔ kam? Lɛt dɛn nɔ si yu! Yu mis di lɔ? Dɛn de sil yu! Dat tɛm de, ɛf dɛn du gud fɔ yu, yu go go na di waf; bɔt di fishin, yu nɔ de go. Yu nɔ go krɔs dat wata.

Dat tɛm de, disiplin bin de. Sɔnde, ɛni bot we kam, na fɔ kam lan nɔ mɔ. Dɛn nɔn nɔ go gɛt lod.

Mi grani na bin prɔpa disiplinerian. A kin tɔk wan wɔd bɔt mi grani ɛn dɛn kin se, “Mr Beckley, yu gɛt sɔm slangs na yu mɔt!” Bɔt nɔto slangs. Mi grani na bin “She-Male.” I bin fɔ kam man.

“Nɔ fɔ let na trit! We dɛn fishaman de kɔmɔt, nɔ fɔ go de!”

U dyast kɔmɔt?

Di tranga trenin we mi grani gi me, mek a bi man tide.

____________________________

Wi Tradishɔn Dɛn

Dɛn pipul dɛn we na Kent dɛn bɔn dɛn, I lɛk na tɔng dɛn de, dɛn stil ol ɔnto wi tradishɔn dɛn.

Na dis biyɛn tɛm, wan ledi day na tɔng ya. A gɛt di nyus frɔm Kent se di wik bifɔ dis ledi day, aw dɛn jɔs sidɔm to mi ples de, na im wan dia kɔmɔt frɔm oba riba—dat na Fri Meri Wata. I kɔmɔt oba di bɛrin grɔn, krɔs kam, pas to me ples bitwin me ɛn mi neba, rɔn go ɔp Dance Street.

As dɛn si am nɔ mɔ, na im dɛn se, “Dis, na sɔmbɔdi de day.” Ɛni bush bif we yu si krɔs di vilej—na sayn dat. Big pɔsin de go.

Nɔto se dɛn tɛl me, o; a si am plen. Tin bin bi we a smɔl bɔy de kam ɔp, dyurin di ali thatiz, ɔ bitwin twɛnti-nayn ɛn thati. Dat tɛm de, dɛn de go Bureh Town go sɛl, bay fish kam. Aw wi sidɔm na os de, na im wan grani de go dis Bureh Town. As I kɔmɔt fɔ krɔs fɔ go dɔng, na de wan bush got kɔmɔt dɔng di riba. I krɔs frɔm de, kam pas bitwin mi grani in os en Albert Leigh in dadi ɛn mami os. I pas na di trit, krɔs go ɔp Kola Hill.

Na im di pipul dɛn se, “Mhm! Dis we wi si so!”

Ɛn pɔsin did day: Grani Dauphin. Na bin ol uman. I blayn; I nɔ bin de si igen.

Dɛn gɛt tu parebul dɛn bɔt dɔg. “Ɛkuru dɔg, na im de kil lɛpɛt,” ɛn “Na romatizin mek dɔg go shek lɛpɛt in an.”

Na tri krichɔ dɔg de fred: aligeta, boman, ɛn lɛpɛt. Aligeta, dɛn nɔ gɛt nɔ we fɔ kil am, pas we I tɔn bak na watasay.

Boman naw, ɛf boman de na ol, dɛn tek wan dɔg, dɛn bigin was am na di domɔt. Aw yu si dɛn de was am, na so dɛn de tek am kɛr am go bak. Di dɔg in sɛnt na di wata, I de drɔ di boman, I de kam. As yu si I kɔmɔt, dɛn fɔdɔm pan am, dɛn de chap am wit dɛn kɔtlas. I nɔ de go bak insay igen.

Fɔ kil lɛpɛt dɛn de bil kej. Ɔl na pan tik I de. Fɔ bil di kej, na dɛn gud tik, dɛn ebi wud, na im dɛn de yus. Dɛn dig di grɔn, dɛn pin di tik dɛn, rayt rawn. Dɔn dɛn baynd am ɔl wit rop. At list dɛn kin mek am fo to fayv fut hay. Dɛn de kɔba ɔl di pantap, tay am wit tik ɛn rop. Di rop dɛn de nia nia. Di kej dɛn kin wɛl riɛnfɔs.

Yu gɛt do we di lɛpɛt de pas go. Insay in yon pat, di bak blank; ɔl lɔk. Nia di bak, wan trap do de. Dɛn gɛt rop we dɛn pas rayt rawn kam to di men do; dɔn, yu gɛt ɔda we na di bak. Na de di dɔg de de. Wan ɛkuru dɔg, na im dɛn kin yus. Ayda dɛn tek got sɛt di trap, ɔ dɛn tek dis dɔg.

Di lɛpɛt de si di dɔg. I go de go rayt rawn so te, I de si dis men do. I go insay. We I dɔn rich nia di dɔg, we I mas di trap do, it trip am, di men do de lɔk. Dɛn kin dɔn gi am wan ebi ston, so we I fɔdɔm, I nɔ go muf igen. We di lɛpɛt dɔn de insay, I nɔ gɛt nɔ we fɔ pas kɔmɔt. Na de naw, dɛn go kam tek tɛm dɛn shut am.

Di dɔg naw, we yu si dɛn pul am, I nɔ bɛtɛ igen. I fraytɛn. Na distrɔy dɛn de distrɔy am. Di got na di sem; na kil dɛn de kil am.

____________________________

Di Amɔk Rod

Mi ɛn mi grani greta kokonat, mek ɔyl. Wi pik banga fɔ brok go sɛl. Di prays na bin fayv shilin fɔ bushɛl banga. Ɔl dɛn tin de dɛn kin lod na bot fɔ kam sɛl na tɔng.

Na kokonat, banga, farinya, dray fish ɛn sɔl fish mɔ dɛn kin bring kam. Sɔm pipul kin kam tɔng wit di bot, bɔt di bot na mɔ fɔ lod. Dɛn wan we lɛf na Kent naw, dɛn waka kam Waterloo. We dɛn rich na Waterloo, dɛn jɔyn tren fɔ kam tɔng kam lɔj wit wi pipul dɛn. Lɔng tɛm na “amɔk rod” wi de kɔl dis rod we wi kin tek kam tɔng.

Sem we, ɛf na ɔplayn biznɛs pɔsin de du. Fɔ kech dat 9.00 tren na Waterloo fɔ go ɔplayn, wi de lɛf Kent 3.00 mɔnin bigin waka, ɛn na wit lod. Ɛf na fɔ pik lod we dɛn buk fɔ yu frɔm ɔplayn kam Waterloo, dɛn kin dɔn pos di risit bay mel. I lɛf to yu fɔ waka go mit di tren.

Wi si trɔbul na dat rod de, o—we yu si a dɔn yus waka te tide!

Russell ɛn Kent bin gɛt postal ejɛnt. Gud ol dez, di posman (dɛn bin de kɔl dɛn “mel kariya”) de lɛf tɔng, I go, I slip Waterloo. Frɔm de I bigin sheb frɔm Russell. Russell naw, na im go sɛn Tombo yon go, ɛn frɔm Tombo dayrɛk to Kent.

Dɛn bin gɛt fɛri fɔ krɔs go Banana, we di postal ejɛnt kin tek. Mi gret-grandadi na bin wan ɔf di koksin dɛn. Di mel kariya go wet slip Kent. We di bot kɔmɔt Banana ivintɛm, I tek di mels kam krɔs fɛri go Bureh Town. Dɛn, I kam John Obey. Ɛf I gɛt lɔk de I mit dray wata, I kin waka, bɔt ɛf I nɔ mit am I jɔs gɛt fɔ krɔs fɛri: ɔl dɛn say de bin gɛt kwiksan tumɔs. Pipul bin de lɔs, sem we lɛk we yu si Number Two bin de kil pipul—na naw I slak.

Frɔm de I kam Yankay (naw dɛn de kɔl am Black Johnson Beach). Stil na di si fes I de waka fɔ kɔt in jɔni shɔt—I de wit in mels.

We I kam Mami Riva I blo, “U! U!” Di fɛriman dɔn no se pɔsin dɔn kam; I kam naw kam tek am. Di mel kariya de lɛf mels na York ɛn Sussex; dɔn, I krɔs Number Two River sem we, wit fɛri, kam lɛf mels na Hamilton.

Dɛn gɛt wan shɔt rod we yu kin pas go Bawbaw. We yu kam now, ɛf yu gɛt lɔk yu pas bɔtɔm. Na dɔng yu de waka. Yu nɔ de kam ɔp Ogoo Farm. Yu gɛt ples we yu de pas kam ɔp di Funkia rod yu kam opin Gbendembu. We yu lɛf de, yu kam fɔ kam Juba Beach. Dɛn gɛt wan nem we dɛn bin de kɔl am: Hot Sand Beach. Dat ples de na sansan te go dɔng. Yu de fil am we yu de waka. Dɛn dɔn tray de, bɔt te tide, na so dɛn go de gɛt wok pan am.

Frɔm de, yu krɔs Juba. Sɔntɛm ɛf yu gɛt lɔk fɔ pik am ɔp, yu kam jɔyn Hill Station tren bay Wilberforce, I kam lɛf yu na Water Street na tɔng ya.

Dɛn mel kariya dɛn nɔn nɔ de igen; dɛn ɔl dɔn day. A bin no dis Reverend Anderson in dadi; Stanley, Thomas, Macaulay—dɛn ɔl dɔn day.

I nɔ bin izi fɔ sɛn mɛsɛj go Kent in thoz dez, bɔt wi bin de du am. Bay dɛn mid-twentiz tɛm mi gɔd-dadi, Claude Beckley, bin gɛt aksidɛnt we I go jam, ɛn in fut brok. Dɛn kɛr am go tɔng, admit am na Colonial Hospital, dat say we di pɔlis steshɔn de naw[1]. (Dat tɛm de, dɛn nɔ opin Connaught yɛt. A nɔ gɛt di istri fɔ no, bɔt dɛn kin tɛl mi se jelyad bin de usay Connaught Hospital de naw.) We mi kɔzin we bin de wok na di ɔspitul si in kɔndishɔn, I kɔl wan pɔsin, I se, “Tek tren go Kent wan tɛm. Se lɛ dɛn pul bot kam.”

As di mɛsɛnja rich Kent, I go tret to di edman. Di edman kɔl pɔsin se, go kɔl dis pɔsin ɛn dat pɔsin, kwik!

Dat tɛm de, dile nɔ de. Fishaman Kɔmpin de. We yu si dɛn ɔl dɔn kam, I se, “Na di lɛta dis a gɛt, o. Dɛn se Claude sik na tɔng bad bad wan, lɛ wi nɔ abop pan am, da fut …. Dɛn se fɔ go tɔng fɔ am wan tɛm, lɛ I nɔ day na tɔng.”

Provishɔn dɔn mek. Kwik kwik wan, bot dɔn lɛf fɔ go tek Claude kam Kent.

____________________________

Di Riba

Mi grani bin de tredin na riba. Plɛnti pipul dɛn bin de du am in thoz dez. Na dyurin di ali twɛntiz wɔd a de tɔk. Mi ɛn im bin de go na di Bumpe ɛn di Kagboro riba dɛn[2]. We yu si wi go so, nɔto fɔ jɔs fo ɔ siks mɔnt, o; sɔntɛm wi go lib de wan iya bifɔ wi kam om bak.

Di kola ɛn pamayn we I bring kam, I de sɛl am. Dɛn, I bay pɔt, klos, besin pan, ɔl dɛn tin dɛn de fɔ lod go ɔp bak. I de go wit bot frɔm vilej to vilej go bay. Na bata biznɛs I bin de du. Na im dɛn ɔl bin de du. We I dɔn mek gud ɛkschenj, I kam tɔng kam sɛl.

Na big bot dɛn bin de yus. A nɔ si dɛn de bil dɛn kayn bot de igen. Dɛn bin mek dɛn mɔ fɔ kɛr lod. Ɔp riba, dɛn kin lod banga, kola, kɔntri rɛs ɛn pamayn de; dɔn, dɛn bin gɛt dis wɛmp, ɔ si snel igen, we dɛn de dray lɛk dray fish. Dat tɛm de, drɔm nɔ bin de. Na pan fo-galɔn kyan, na de dɛn de put pamayn.

Ɔl di frɔnt pat ɔf di bot to di baw, na fɔ lod. Apat frɔm dat, na di mast fɔ di sel nɔ mɔ de de. Di pasɛnja, dɛn bin de na say we dɛn de kɔl kumpus. Na di kabin dat. I bin de nya di stan, ɛn dɛn gi am smɔl smɔl winda. Dɛn kin so pak di lod dat ina kin jɔs tek am mek bed fɔ ledɔm. Bak ɔf di kumpus, na de di kyapin de de, de kɔntrol di tila ɛn di sel.

Fɔ di tɛm we dɛn nɔ gɛt briz, dɛn gɛt krɔchis, ɔ oarlocks ɛn oars, as di Inglish dɛn kin kɔl dɛn. Sɔm bot de we de gɛt fo, tu ɔn ayda say. Dɛn de na di bifɔ say to di lod, bɔt dɛn nɔ de de ɔpozit. Say de we dɛn de sidɔm fɔ wok di krɔchis, fɔ pul di bot. Dɛn kɔl am tot, fɔ pul di bot.

We dɛn rich Kent, nɔto ɔl man de kam Freetown wit di bot. Sɔm go kam dɔng na Kent, dɔn dɛn waka go Waterloo fɔ tek di tren. Wan ɔ tu pɔsin de lɛf na di bot fɔ sefgad di lod.

Yu we kam dayrɛk wit di bot naw, yu kam chɛk na Saw Pit. Ayda yu go sɛl to PZ, Frɛnch Kɔmpin, SCOA ɔ CWS. Di say we yu tink se yu go gɛt prɔfit, na de yu de go. Yu dɔn gɛt yu kɔstamɛnt; wetin yu want, I gi yu in ɛkschenj. Di balans we lɛf, na yu gɛt am.

Dɛn bot dɛn nɔ bin de kapsayz. Di onli tin, we dɛn de rich Kent, we yu tɛl dɛn se mek dɛn kam insay fɔ kam kam tek shɛlta dyurin di ren sizin, dɛn nɔ de gri. Na de dɛn kin mas. Na di bich de, yum it banga, kola ɛn pamayn we kin dɔn skata.

Mi grani, in sista ɛn in brɔda dɛn ɔl tredin te rich Bonthe. To mi nɔlej A nɔ tink mi grani rich Rotifunk. Gud ol dez, dɛn de lod bot wit sɔl fish frɔm Kent to Rotifunk na di sem Bumpe riba. Dɛn nɔ kɛr mɔch ɔf dray fish. Dɛn kin sɛn ustɛm dɛn fɔ go tek dɛn. Ɛf nɔt, sɔm Kent pipul dɛn bin de Rotifunk; dɛn kin lɛf ɔl dɛn lod wit dɛn, dɛn travul bay tren frɔm Rotifunk to Waterloo, dɔn dɛn waka kam Kent.

A bin lɛk dat layf de. Di Shebra pipul dɛn bin gro fɔnd ɔf mi. I apun se wan de wi mit dɛn put Pɔrɔ; na im dɛn aks mi grani lɛ dɛn put mi na di sosayeti. Na im mi grani se no.

Di Shebra langwej, a bin de tɔk am gud gud wan, bɔt mi grani ɛn mi gret-grandadi dɛn ba mi fɔ tɔk am.

____________________________

Di Slev Tred

Shilling Island de ɔf Kent, bitwin Kent ɛn Banana. A nɔ gɛt sens mit am, bɔt dɛn bin gɛt ship na Shilling Island, dɛn de kɔl am di “Susu.” I bin de play bitwin Bonthe ɛn Freetown.

Na slev tred I bin de pan. Di Salon slev tred, wisɛf to wisɛf. A nɔ si we dɛn de kam tek slev, bɔt I stil bin de kari ɔn.[3] Na selin bot dɛn bin de yus. Dɛn bin gɛt kɔta. Dat wan de gɛt tu sel dɛn. Dɛn bin de go insay di krik, go gɛt slev.

Di slev dɛn we dɛn tek de du ɔl tin fɔ dɛn. Se yu go, yu go misbiev de. Ɛf dɛn kech yu! Nɔ lɛk di mel wan dɛn! Ɛni kayn dɔti wata, we dɛn dɔn was, na yu dɛn go ib am pan. Dɛn bin so de trit di pipul dɛn, dɛn de put dɛn na dambɛ: yu tu fut de go insay, dɛn lɔk am.

Ɛf yu pipul dɛn ebul, dɛn go pe sɔm ransɔm, dɛn ridim yu.

Dɛn bin gɛt dis wɔd sistɛm na di rural vilej dɛn. Lɛk ɛf a nɔ gɛt pikin, a go gɛt wan pikin a gi am mi nem. Na di slev tred kɔz dat.

Insay Kent wi bin gɛt dɛn wan we dɛn tek na riba. Man de kam plɛj in pikin to yu we I nɔ gɛt mɔni fɔ pe yu. Na dɔn I dɔn so, I nɔ aks bɔt am igen.

We mi ɛn mi let kɔzin go Port Loko in di let twentiz, wan man bin kam to am fɔ mek I adɔpt am. I se, “Min a slev. A nɔ no di kɔntri we mi pipul dɛn kɔmɔt.”

Na arawnd dat tɛm de dɛn diklia di Salon slev tred iligal. Afta dat, plɛnti pipul adɔpt dɛn. Plɛnti.

____________________________

Bak to di Vilej

Yu si wan wɔl na Kɛnt dɔng nya di skul. Na bin di men get dat ɔf King Yad. Dɛn bin bil King Yad fɔ wi ansɛstɔ dɛn we dɛn ridim frɔm di si, fɔ privɛnt di slev treda den lɛ dɛn nɔ kɛr dɛn go. Dɛn bin so wɔl am, dɛn bin gɛt fɔ mek pasej. Wan big pɔt bin de de we dɛn de tek kuk fɔ dɛn. Bɛl bin de we de gi taym, bɔt mi nɔ gɛt sɛns mit dɛn de ring bɛl igen. I bin de pan pila. Di pila, in dɔn brok, bɔt a kin sho yu di spɔt we di bɛl bin de, nya di polis steshɔn. A nɔ de Kɛnt igen, a dɔn kam lan buk, we dɛn go tek da pɔt ɛn di bɛl. Na we dis moto rod opin[4], na im dɛn go tek dɛn.

Di King Yad wɔl de go rayt rawn di si fes kam ɔp, te kam to di chɔch. Yu gɛt fɔ pas na di King Yad fɔ tek di futpath we lid kam dɔng to di waf. Di skul kɔmpawn bin de insay di wɔl. Pipul dɛn de plant insay di skul kɔmpawn. Ɔl kam dɔng to di waf, wi mit pipul dɛn we de plant agens di wɔl.

Di chɔch[5] ɔf insɛf nɔ bin gɛt wɔl. At list, a nɔ gɛt sɛns mit di chɔch gɛt wɔl, ɛn a mit pat ɔf di wɔl nɔ bin brok yɛt. Dɛn rɛnovet Kent chɔch in 1901. Dat tɛm de, as mi grani kin tɛl mi, na bin wud flo I bin gɛt. Dɛn pul am, gi am kɔnkrit. Wan man we bɔn dat sem ia de, dɛn gi am di nem St. Edward.

Dat klɔk we yu si na di chɔch, i nɔ ɛva wok. I kam bay bot, a nɔ bɔn yet. Yu no—we bot de kam, ɔl man de rɔn de go grip lod kam. (Ayda na di mishɔneri den . . . .) In thoz dez we bot de kam yu de se, dis wetin na yu yon—mi de se no, na mi gɛt dis. . . . Ɛniwe, di mashin go Bathurst; di fes, dɛn tek am go Kent. Na im mek di klɔk, frɔm we dɛn fiks am, I nɔ wok igen.

To di kep, dɛn yuropiyans bin de kip wan rɛstaws na Kanjɛ Wata. Dɛn bil am fɔ de kam tek briz, de rilaks. Yu gɛt di bich de fɔ swim, ɛn ɔl tin. Dɔn, we yu de lɛf Kent, we yu de kam bay di rod, na di raytan na de di kɔstɔms bin de in thos dez. Mi nɔ gɛt sɛns mit am; na di rɛk ɔf di bildin, na im nɔ mɔ A mit.

Layt bin de Kent. Na bay bot dɛn tek dɛn lampos de go Kent. Ɛvri ivin, dɛn bin de go layt dɛn. Di man we bin de du am, we mi gɛt sɛns no, na di let James Collier, we dɛn kɔl “Jemz Dada.” Wan lamp bin de na waf. We yu de go dɔng, na yu raytan say, na de di lampos bin de. I bin de sho na si, tesing Banana Island, fɔ dɛn bot dɛn we de kam.

Dat say we yu si di lamp de naw, jɔs ɔpozit Bett Heroe in ples, nɔto de I bin de. I bin de jɔs di Dance Street kɔna fɔ go ɔp Songo Road. Tu pos de de: wan de na di rayt, wan de na di lɛft.

Ɛn wan bin de na kɔna fɔ go na mi os, na Diana Street. Dat say we yu si wan pila fɔdɔm, na di pila dat we dɛn bin de layt lamp in thoz dez.

Na di abɔmasta bin de sɔplay karozin. We yu dɔn layt di lantan, yu put am insay. Di do de we de lɔk am. I gɛt glas na di fo say, so briz nɔ go ambɔg am atɔl.

Kent bin fayn in thoz dez. Bɔt we yu se, “Yu gɛt tit, yu nɔ gɛt bif; yu gɛt bif, yu nɔ gɛt tit.” “Want-Want nɔ gɛt, Gɛt-Gɛt nɔ want.” Ɛf nɔto fɔ mi grani, a nɔ bin go no buk. We mi grani dɔn tray-tray—a dɔn rich standad siks—na im wan de I kɔl mi se, “Bɔy!”

A se, “Ma?”

I se, “Yu no wetin a go du?”

A se, “No, Ma.”

I se, “Yu go go tɔng, go lan wok. A kant du mɔ, fɔ gi yu sɛkɔndɛri ɛdyukeshɔn.”

A lɛf skul 1934. A kam tɔng, kam lan tred. Na moto mɛkaniks a lan. Afta a dɔn go tru, a ɛnlist na di nevi. Na bin dyurin di diprɛshɔn, 1941, we a ɛnlist. Frɔm dat tɛm de a nɔ stɔp na Kent igen. A nɔ dinay a go ɔlide, a de wan fyu dez, a kam.

Mi grani day, mi nɔ de. A de tɔng dat tɛm de. I day Satide, 31 Disɛmba 1945. Dɛn bɛr am ɔn di Sɔnde. Mi rich Kent Mɔnde.

Mi grani in trenin, I vɛri gud to me. I stil de pan mi we a dɔn big so, ɛn a tɛl Gɔd tɛnki fɔ dat. Ɛf nɔto fɔ im, sɔntɛm bay naw, a nɔ de.



[1] The Colonial Hospital moved to this site from Kissy in the early 1850s, having been first founded in Leicester in 1816. (The History of Sierra Leone, A.B.C. Sibthorpe, p. 71)

[2] In Yawri Bay, formed by the two arms of Cape Shilling and Shenge Point. These rivers are shown clearly in the map of British Sherbro on page 337 of The History of the First West India Regiment (1885) by A.B. Ellis at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29984/29984-h/29984-h.htm#Page_337

[3] “Under increasing pressure from the League of Nations, the British colonial government finally declared the abolition of slavery in Sierra Leone on 22 September 1927, to take effect on the first of January 1928.” http://www.sahistory.org.za/dated-event/british-colonial-government-declares-abolishment-slavery-sierra-leone

[4] A reference to the construction of the gravel road round the Freetown Peninsula by the colonial government in the 1930s.

[5] St. Edward’s, the Anglican church in Kent

Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2016 19:54
 
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