Blessing and her fiance Steven Tamba became lovers and best of friends when they boarded the same flight from America six years ago. They were on their way to Liberia after being deported.
They conversed about their fears of losing their loved ones and not knowing what Africa had in store for them.
Throughout their nine-hour flight back home, they were able to comfort each other.
“It was a living nightmare and words cannot express what I felt that day on the flight. Blessing kept on talking and bringing me out of the shell fear had placed me in. I love her for that,” Steven said.
Blessing captured a piece of his life that he vowed now belonged to her.
“We’re both trying to come to grips with being out here. We left everything back in the states and came back here with only commissary, jail clothes and letters in our suitcases. Now Blessing and I have our own family,” Steven adds.
Two bouncing toddlers both four, jumped around in the living room as Steven talked.
Steven, unlike Blessing, has been psychologically traumatized by his return to Liberia. According to him, his coming back to Liberia is unfair and he blames his illiteracy for his return.
“I didn’t kill anyone, sell drugs or do anything illegal to come back here. The only thing wrong I did was to miss a court date,” he revealed.
According to his return document, Steven claims he is unable to read and misunderstood his court date for a different date.
“And in the blink of an eye, my Life went from being a good father to my family to being a shackled inmate who was deported because of that one mistake,” he said.
Meanwhile, Blessing says she is uncomfortable with sharing her reason for coming back but says being back in Liberia is painful.
“Nobody knows why I’m back nor what I’ve gained since being in America. All they care about is that I’m a deportee who messed up. It’s stigmatizing. I can’t get anything because I speak “syries,” Blessing added.
“We are so hated and divided and because of that, our lives are destroyed out here,” she says.
Like Steven and Blessing, there are many deportees who feel that there should be a program in place for those who return under such conditions.
“We need prolonged counseling, housing, jobs and assistance that will keep us on the right track. I don’t want to kill myself like some deportees have. I want to live, but I need the government’s help. Just remember, I won’t be the last to come. Let each deportee who comes be re-integrated and not left alone to figure out how to make it out here,” Blessing pleaded.