Miriam Kamara had always wanted a family of her own. After meeting her boyfriend and finally finding the love that she fantasized about; Miriam was ready to have their first child together.
Unfortunately, her elder sister Satta, who supported her financially, was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
“My sister suffered before and after she was diagnosed. There was no medicine to take away her pain,” Miriam stated.
Satta ran a cook shop that Miriam was able to use to feed her family and also buy things for her expected child.
“The cook shop pretty much fed our entire household, and also helped in sending all of my sisters to school,” Miriam added.
After falling sick, Satta and her family were told by every hospital they visited that she had only three months to live.
Sattah eventually died in July of 2013 amongst all of her relatives who dearly loved her, just as the doctor had predicted.
“My sisters death hurt my entire family, and even divided a lot of us,”
According to Miriam, her sister’s husband decided to take another wife months after the late Sattah’s death. Instead of finding a new location to take Bendu, his newly-wed, he moved her into the house Sattah and himself had built together.
“That hurt our family a lot, and because of that, we decided not to speak to her at all. And almost everyday we had arguments and fights. Malice,” Miriam said.
Furthermore, Miriam and her boyfriend had decided that they both would keep distance from Bendu, who had a family of her own living in the house.
According to Bendu, the Kamara family despised her not because she married their late sister’s husband, but because they felt Bendu was the cause of Sattah’s death.
“They say I played witch to have my husband to myself, and poisoned Sattah. Cancer is a white man’s sickness, it had nothing to do with African sign,” she defended.
Meanwhile, Miriam was well into her six-month pregnancy when Sattah passed, and struggled to take care of herself while no one else seemed to care.
“It was hard going for check-ups at the local clinic and identifying certain things about my health that only Sattah understood. She had 10 children before she passed away and knew a lot about pregnancy,” Miriam sadly added.
As for Miriam’s boyfriend Malachi, he was unemployed and hardly stayed at home. Being a native of Sierra Leone, he spent all of his time trying to blend in with the Liberian culture and people.
“I love my girlfriend, but this is my first time really being in love and living with a woman. There are things I don’t know and still need to learn,” he admitted.
Miriam had reached into her last month of pregnancy and began staying indoors all day. She had no one to turn to for advice in what to do when her delivery time were to come. At that time, no one in the house was speaking to one another.
According to her cousin who asked not to be named, Miriam made the decision of not talking to anyone in her yard.
“She kept away from all of us and that’s bad, especially when you’re pregnant. We didn’t even know if she was in labor or not,” her cousin added.
In October of 2014, at around 11pm, Miriam felt an unexpected pain in her groin area. Instead of waking Malachi who was asleep in the same room, Miriam managed to wrap the new lappa the late Sattah had given to her, in panic.
“I was so confused from the pain, and thought I would die. I wasn’t thinking straight at the time, but could hear Sattah’s voice in my head telling me to go to the mid-wife she had taken me to before she died,” Miriam recalled.
According to Miriam, after managing to get dressed and grabbing a few extra things, she silently but with a struggle, managed to leave the house.
“I can’t recall how I managed to make it to the other side of the community, but I remember bending over the whole time as I walked. As I got closer to the streets, I couldn’t see any cars or anything because by then curfew had already set in,” she remembered.
Miriam says she fought to decide her next move while sitting on the edge of the sidewalk, and that’s when she realized she was in labor.
“I could feel a large bone or something between my legs, and at the same time I wasn’t able to walk again. So I decided to crawl across the street because the mid wife’s house was on the other side of the street. Not too far away,” she narrated.
What happened next is very graphic and upsetting.
According to Miriam, she did breathing exercises that she was told to do if she were to ever enter labor. And as she crawled slowly from off the sidewalk unto the street, she could feel her baby coming out of her vagina.
“I cried very loudly but no one came to my rescue, and then I saw it. Bright lights coming from down the street. I thought it was an ambulance that someone had called for me, so I gradually crawled back to get closer to the sidewalk. I didn’t know that I had pushed the baby all the way out until the car lights came closer,”
With a loud crushing sound, the head and parts of the newborn baby’s body was mashed completely flat by the moving vehicle. The car never made an attempt to stop to ask the crying mother her problem, but instead took speed.
“ I screamed and screamed when I realized that a baby – my baby – was lying in front of me covered in blood. A man came out of his house to see my problem, and that’s when he took the lappa from in my plastic bag and started spreading it over the baby’s parts,”
Meanwhile, Miriam’s family is stunned and sad at her situation and has been gradually consoling her, for she has refused to eat for days.
While weeks have passed since the accident, the family has begun to speak out and make aware those in their community of the dangers of not communicating.
“What happened to Miriam happened because we all cut off speech, we should have been there for her. The sight of the blood and things in the street that morning frightened everyone, and we’re sad she had to experience that,” added Malachi.