“These are your brothers.” The man says to me.
“Those boys are Liberian.” His cool, calm nature gives way to an irresistible urge to smile; a smile that can only occur when in the company of one’s countrymen after who knows how long; a smile full of nostalgia and inner excitement. The man and I met in the maze of confusion that was Brussels International Airport, both trying to make sure our bags would be in Monrovia when we arrived, as promised.
Of course I could tell that those boys were Liberian, but perhaps my ultra thin Liberian accent led him to believe that I had been away for so long that I could no longer recognize my people when I saw them. Being who I am, I saw no reason to spoil such a poignant moment with an argument. Besides, he was very pleasant company.
He turned out to be a senator, of which county, I never found out. His name, I no longer recall, but the excitement he felt was also within me and as the little shuttle depot we stood in became crowded with features and mannerisms that were unmistakably Liberian, that excitement grew within all of us.
By the time we all reached our departure gate, everyone looked as if they would launch into hugs, cheers, and exclamations of,
“Eee, my people, oh!” But we subdued all of that because we were “civilized” and deep down were probably thinking,
“I don’t really know these people.” But as the hours agonizingly hammered away, so did those superficialities. Human beings became human beings once again. We helped each other, were tender toward each other, and from the moment we began notifying each other of first sightings of land beyond the clouds, our collective excitement peaked and that moment was centered around one happy truth; we were going Home!
As we stood on the tarmac next to the freezing cold jumbo jet, I felt something ease through my back and warm me to my soul. I looked behind me and saw a setting sun in an orange sky. What a beautiful feeling to accompany such beautiful faces. They were the ground staff there to greet us and keep us somewhat organized. Once on the buses that would take us to the confusion within, all conversations switched to what palm butter or cassava everyone was having when we reached our destinations. I did not expect Mama to hand me a drum, nor did I expect to have the energy to play it as well as I did.
My energy was so high, I barely noticed the three hour bumpy ride to Shabuta. My eyes were glued to the scenery around me and my ears to the conversation before me. I wanted to jump out and embrace the grass, the trees, the huts, the unsuspecting people, the food aromas, the soil, and the orange sky that had now become indigo.