A new book chronicling the personal experiences of one of Liberia’s civil war survivors has been launched. The author, Dr. Dwaboyea Evelyn S. Kandakai, last weekend presented to the public her newly published book entitled, “Facing the Sun.”
The book launching which took place at the author’s home in Brewerville City, outside Monrovia was spearheaded by three of the country’s literary personalities, the president of Stella Maris Polytechnic, Sister Mary Laurene Browne, former Deputy Minister for Instruction at the Ministry of Education Hawa Goll-Kotchi and Mr. Kenneth Y. Best, Publisher of the Daily Observer newspaper.
“Facing the Sun,” is Dr. Kandakai’s memoire reflecting on Liberia’s 14 year civil conflict, which in particular cruelly took away the life of her father, Albert White.
Mr. Best called on Liberians to rise to the challenge of writing about their own experiences, history and culture, rather than always leaving the task to foreigners who often distort the history and values of the country.
“Liberians, including many educated ones, are very lazy at writing and reading contents depicting the realities connected to their own nation they claim to love,” Mr. Best said.
He said the Liberian Observer Corporation (LOC), which published “Facing the Sun,” will keep copies of the book in its library for visitors and will also help promote the sale of the book through the Daily Observer Newspaper at no cost to the author.
Buttressing Mr. Best’s call for Liberians to write their own history, Sister Mary Laurene Browne said there is no need for anyone to say that not much is available to write about.
“Think about your day to day experiences. Reflect on general events you were once part of and study your origin. You will come to realize that even throughout history your pen or any other medium can compile all there is,” Sister Laurene suggested.
The Rector of the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Fr. A-Too Williams said Dr. Kandakai’s legacy will be an indelible imprint for posterity.
‘’In trauma healing it is good for one who is affected to tell his or her whole story and this, I am convinced, Dr. Kandakai has done,’’ Fr. Williams said. He interpreted ‘’Facing the Sun’’ as being willing to face life’s challenges.
In response, Dr. Kandakai said praises for her book belong to God, who made it possible for her to have such an accomplishment in addition to her other works-the ‘’Village Son’’ and ‘’Normal Times,’’ a collection of poems.
“I dedicate this work to my grandparents Nathaniel and Clara Cassell who were very instrumental in my upbringing and education, along with my siblings,’’ she said.
‘’If I think about the wars fought in our country and furthermore reflect on the accounts of my sister, the late Wanasue, depicting how our father was cruelly tied, laid on his back, asked to look directly at the sun and subsequently killed, I shed tears,’’ she said.
Dr. Kandakai, a former Education Minister, meanwhile called on all illiterate persons in the Brewerville area to take advantage of her primary school’s adult literacy program so that they may learn to read and write.
Dr. Kandakai said the reading room at the Nathaniel and Clara Cassell Learning Center which is open from 10a.m. to 5p.m. Monday to Friday has many books and everyone is encouraged to stop by and make use of them.
She commended all who supported her, most especially the LOC for printing the book.
Facing the Sun is now on sale at US$10.