A majority of African teenagers who are lucky to make it to the US never bother to call back home and greet parents left behind after the first few months. Kids as young as 5 years old are just too young to remember close relatives, including their biological parents.
But for Barway Collins who at age five, had to leave his biological mother Louise and travel to the US to live with his dad, Pierre Collins, that motherly touch was always present. It never left him up to the day he was reported missing followed by the discovery of his body in the Mississippi River, near Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Unlike typical American children of Barway’s age who run to the toy store whenever they have some money, Barway Collins remembered his mom each time he raised a considerable amount of money in his piggy-bank. It is said the last amount he sent to Louise prior to his tragic death was US$50.
This information was revealed by Liberian immigrant pastor, Alexander Collins, during a news conference Thursday, at the offices of the Organization of Liberians in Minnesota (OLM), located in Brooklyn Park.
The act of remembering and reaching out to his mother no doubt confirms the African adage that a child destined to do great things in life will exhibit the signs at an early age and such was the nature of 10 year-old Barway. Alas, his life was brought to an early, tragic end.
Barway’s mother Louise is being escorted to a waiting car
The Barway’s father, Pierre Collins, has been charged in connection to his son’s murder and is currently awaiting trial in the state of Minnesota.
At the press conference, the boy’s mother Louise spoke briefly to US media for the first time since she arrived from Liberia Wednesday, in preparation for her son’s funeral, which was held on Saturday, May 2.
She thanked the American people and Liberian women for their continued support to the grieving family, including finding the remains of Barway so he would be given a decent burial.
Overcome by grief, Louise appeared agitated, unable to answer questions from the media. She didn’t acknowledge a female reporter that tried to persuade her to narrate the story of Barway’s childhood in Liberia. She stayed silent during much of the conference, and often stared at news reporters and TV cameramen who scrambled to get their best out of the event.
At Louise’s request, the committee for the Barway Search Team made a special appeal to sympathizers to wear white attires for the funeral rites to honor Barway who, according to the master of ceremonies, was dressed in white.
Louise tries to get into a car
Louise was later escorted to the Estes Funeral Chapel in Minneapolis to get her first glimpse of her son’s remains but she immediately broke down while viewing the body and was led away.
She sobbed endlessly in the chapel hallways and it was a devastating scene that even family, friends and religious leaders who tried to comfort her ended up in tears.
As she screamed in her native language and English, Louise kept asking why her son was murdered. It is a question that perhaps no one will ever find a straight answer for.