Only By Grace
It was 1989 when the war broke out. I was four years old and living in a small town outside of Monrovia, Liberia. I don’t remember much from that then. Snippets really. My parents talking in hushed voices after they thought my sisters, brothers, and I were all asleep. They were worried about the fighting, but we didn’t have anywhere else to go. By 1996, things started to calm down a little. Life continued almost normally. I was 11 by then. I went to school with my friends, and I later sold clothing in the street markets with my dad. My town had never seen a faster center midfielder.
Surviving a Civil War
Peace was short-lived though, and a few years later Monrovia was under siege. My town was cut off as well. Fighting and gun fire quickly filled the streets. I saw my neighbors turn on each other. Decades long friendships discarded over political and tribal alliances. Food was scarce, and I was often left hungry. If people weren’t fighting, they were fleeing. But I had no where to go.
I did things then I’m not proud of. I often stole whatever food I could find. And I broke into homes to raid their supplies. When you live in a world where tomorrow is never promised and death is almost certain, there are no consequences. There’s only surviving. I was blessed to simply do that.
In 2003, the war finally ended. I was 18, and my childhood was over. The war took that from me. I had minimal schooling from the few years of peace, and my country was in shambles. There were no jobs. There wasn’t even water anymore. The war destroyed everything Liberia had worked so hard to build. Water wells – Power grids – Roads. All of it was gone.
But life moves on. I got married and started a family. I found odd jobs here and there to try to provide what I could. But then I was introduced to a new company called Set Free. The owner was from America, and he wanted to find local workers to drill water wells in Liberia.
This opportunity sounded like a gift from God. I was a hard-worker. I needed a steady job to provide for my family. It was the perfect fit. A few months later, a drill rig arrived in Liberia and I started drilling. Ten years later, and I can’t imagine my life any other way. The work is hard, and the hours are long. Weeks often go by where I am separated from my family. But this job gives me security. This job provides for my family. This job gave me hope when I needed it most.
Continue on to read the final chapter.