Months before Ebola hit Liberia, Blessing was the victim of a kidnapping by a Sande Bush and her story http://liberianobserver.com/women/%E2%80%9Cthey-cut-it-and-put-leaf-there%E2%80%9D spread across the nation like wildfire until she was finally released from the grips of the hidden and secret society. Blessing spent weeks having to go through what secretly happens behind the enclosure of banana leaves used to cover up the screams and secrets of a culture that is largely accepted in Liberia.
Upon her release, Ebola hit Liberia and the region; and in the midst of it, Blessing’s mother had the belief that her life was in danger from her daughter’s kidnappers. Blessing’s late mother believed that a certain unseen force would punish her for making the Sande Bush, where Blessing had been held captive, headlining a Daily Observer newspaper story.
“And then my ma died,” Blessing said.
Blessing lost her mother just like many lost their relatives during Ebola due to the fact that there were no heath facilities available to deal with the scourge, and no money. Blessing’s mother sold doughnuts for a living and no one was buying food off the streets at the time, therefore, blessing’s mother had no money to treat whatever led to her untimely death. Her body remained in their house for days with Blessing and her siblings continuously spying on the corpse.
Since then, Blessing was again featured in the Daily Observer newspaper which led to a woman expressing interest in helping the child and asking for Blessing to live with her. Separated from her 8 year-old sister and 4 year-old nieces, who lived with Blessing and her late mom before her demise, Blessing quietly vanished out of the media spotlight.
Then, out of nowhere, Blessing re-surfaced looking pale, unkempt and without proper nutrition. In the past, her eyes were often filled with fear and emptiness, something too heartbreaking to see in a child so young. And now, Blessing’s eyes look full of hope and the satisfaction that she is back.
The past two years
An unidentified woman has been taking care of Blessing. According to the child, she went to school the first year school re-opened after Ebola. However, she has not been back to school since then. Blessing said she had to do daily chores where she lived as if back in a Sande Bush.
“Everything we were doing inside there I had to do at the woman’s house,” she shared.
Blessing has alleged that she was not treated well at her last residence and asked the woman taking care of her if she could return to where she once lived with her late mother. Blessing’s request was granted.
“Blessing just appeared at our door soon morning one day looking ‘dry’ and different. As you can see ma, this is what she has decided and this is where she wants to live,” added her brother, Kanye.
Presently, Kanye is living with five children and his wife. Kanye does not work but has a skill building houses and gets a contract here and there. His average income is US$5 a week, too small to help with anything around the house.
Rescue, Kanye’s wife, was in a previous relationship where she watched a man she loved greatly pass away from being sick. Then, she was left without money and a decision to survive by any means possible. In the midst of her decision-making, Rescue decided to sell what everyone in her community seemed to be getting their daily earnings from, marijuana.
“I sell marijuana to sustain myself. I was able to build a little house from the earnings. I do not take any drugs nor does anyone in our household take it. WE just sell it to live, ma. If I had something else to do to help all these hungry mouths that we have here to feed, I would, because right now we are suffering more,” she added.
In the past year, Rescue said she has lost over US$300 from raids and arrests. She has lost most of her earnings this year. Rescue claims that because of the upcoming elections, the DEA has been harsh on drug dealers.
Meanwhile, this is where Blessing finds herself now, in a home that wants her there and is willing to do whatever it takes to be able to keep her, but in an environment that is dangerous to the child’s health and safety.
“We have not been able to put Blessing in school yet and she has not been going since…All we need is someone to sponsor this child because she has lost almost everything – her privacy, her body part, her mother and now she could possibly lose a chance to be back with family if we cannot find a way to make money to be able to keep her,” Rescue added.
Blessing has reached out on several occasions to meet the publisher of this paper in order to be able to plead for support because, she said, “I don’t want to leave anymore, this is too much. I want to stay here with my brother.”