african · Diaspora · Sierra Leone

Thoughts On Moving Back Home

Relocating once is hard enough, having to do it several times over a short period of time isn’t any better.

When I was about 5 years old, we moved to Kenya and lived there for 12 years, later on to Ghana in 2012, and back to Sierra Leone in 2016. Due to my father’s profession, this could have been a lot more frequent.

I was speaking to an acquaintance fairly recently, and he asked me what my thoughts on this subject were – If it were up to me, would I have moved at all, or stayed put?

I wasn’t keen on moving around as it meant I had to start all over again: making new friends, getting to know my new surroundings, language, culture, new school, the list goes on.

However, I am grateful because I feel like I have become more cultured – recently I was even referred to as a ‘third culture kid”. Because of that exposure, I have been able to grow and develop in dynamic and multi-cultural environments.

In any case, I have been observing a few things with Salone youth (both here, and the diaspora) especially on social media. For instance, soon after the devastating flood and mudslide which affected Freetown last week, there were discussions on various social media platforms about ways to help victims, and ways in which the country can move on from this. Take a look at one particular tweet below:

There seems to be a divide with Sierra Leoneans living in the diaspora – some have decided that’s their home now and they would rather stay there, whereas others have the intention of returning to Sierra Leone in the near future.
Why?

Those who want to move back home acknowledge that the country is ours. In order for us to see change, we have to be that change. That starts by using our knowledge and expertise from various fields from wherever we may be living now, and bringing that home. Sierra Leone is our country and is in our hands to build and improve.

Much work has to be done, but how can we improve the country if all we do is condemn it? The issues at hand are rather complex – we know – but change has to come from within. It will certainly not be an easy task, but that does not mean that it is impossible.

I touched on this topic in my first post HERE. We are always complaining about the country, often from a distance, but are not interested in coming back to make the changes we feel are necessary for our country to flourish.

Going back to my family, the plan was not to move back at the time we did – but now that we have, I am content that it was the right thing to do. I am seeing the obstacles that our country faces firsthand, but I am also blessed to see the beauty and all of what Sierra Leone has to offer.

Youth in the country are taking initiative and it is refreshing to see. Projects such as Operation Klin Fritong which involves volunteers cleaning the streets in the city.  Non-Profit Organisations such as Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone. Girl Up is run by a young Sierra Leonean Yasmine Ibrahim. The main goals and objectives are: – Girl Up aims to promote the health, safety, leadership and education of adolescent girls in Sierra Leone through advocacy, community outreach and public speaking workshops. Notably, their main goal is to unlock the potential of the average Sierra Leonean girl and have her know her basic rights. A major goal they’ve accomplished is that 90% of the girls involved in the Girl Up program have become more outspoken and confident, and have also improved their English. Joining Girl Up has also had a positive effect on their class performance and peer interaction.

In addition, I have also teamed up with a friend – Elaine Williams, and the both of us have started a YouTube channel – Young In Freetown. We plan on using that as a platform to not only showcase Sierra Leone in all of her glory, but to also talk about our experiences moving back home (good and bad), our expectations for the country, places to hangout, shining a light on Young Sierra Leoneans doing inspiring things, fun events, just to name a few.

Subscribe and stay tuned for more information.

Featured image by Ronnie’s Photography

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