an exile who flees for safety
Some people felt sorry for them and offered them places to stay, but most of the
refugees refused, because they said the war would eventually reach our town.
annoy continually or chronically
Apart from their fatigue and malnourishment, it was evident they had seen something that
plagued their minds, something that we would refuse to accept if they told us all of it.
capability to perform or produce
My imagination at ten years old didn't have the
capacity to grasp what had taken away the happiness of the refugees.
something that serves to suggest
Fathers had come running from their workplaces, only to stand in front of their empty houses with no
indication of where their families had gone.
increase in extent
And as the gunfire
intensified, people gave up looking for their loved ones and ran out of town.
filled with a great quantity
“How is that father of yours treating you these days?” she asked in a sweet voice that was
laden with worry.
avoid or try to avoid fulfilling, answering, or performing
“Why are you going to Mattru Jong, if not for school? And why do you look so skinny?” she continued asking, but we
evaded her questions.
completely unordered and unpredictable and confusing
They said the attack had been too sudden, too
chaotic; that everyone had fled in different directions in total confusion.
causing or fraught with or showing anxiety
For more than three hours, we stayed at the wharf, anxiously waiting and expecting either to see our families or to talk to someone who had seen them.
a cry of sorrow and grief
Their whispers, the cries of little children seeking lost parents and tired of walking, and the
wails of hungry babies replaced the evening songs of crickets and birds.
give moral or emotional strength to
The only thing that
consoled him, for a few seconds at least, was when the woman who had embraced him, and now cried with him, told him that at least he would have the chance to bury them.
someone injured or killed in an accident
casualty that we saw that evening was a woman who carried her baby on her back.
a sudden and decisive change of government by force
His half brother Sir Albert Margai succeeded him until 1967, when Siaka Stevens, the All People’s Congress (APC) Party leader, won the election, which was followed by a military
place troops or weapons in battle formation
Government troops were
deployed in Mattru Jong, and they erected checkpoints at the wharf and other strategic locations all over town.
“I heard that the soldiers are already on their way to get the rebels out of the mining areas,” Gibrilla
call forth, as an emotion, feeling, or response
I closed my eyes, and the images from Kabati flashed in my mind. I tried to drive them out by
evoking older memories of Kabati before the war.
produce a deep, clear sound
resonated in the village, causing birds to fly off and return curiously chattering.
exert much effort or energy
strive to be like the moon."
a condensed but memorable saying embodying an important fact
She explained that the
adage served to remind people to always be on their best behavior and to be good to others.
inserted as an integral part of a surrounding whole
Whenever I get a chance to observe the moon now, I still see those same images I saw when I was six, and it pleases me to know that that part of my childhood is still
embedded in me.
an involuntary vibration, as if from illness or fear
shudder racked my body, and I tried to think about my new life in New York City, where I had been for over a month.
lie adjacent to another or share a boundary
As soon as we left the coffee farm, we unexpectedly ran into another armed group at a soccer field
adjoining the ruins of what had once been a village.
We were in Mattru Jong longer than we had
When people received the message from the
miserable messenger, they went into hiding in the forest that very night.
following in time or order
But Khalilou’s family had asked us to stay behind and follow them with the rest of their property if things didn’t improve in the
subsequent days, so we stayed put.
unproductive of success
Mothers were screaming the names of their lost children, and the lost children cried in
having a common boundary or edge
In order to get to the escape route, we had to cross a wet and muddy swamp that was
adjacent to a tiny hill.
care provided to improve a situation
This way they could stay longer, as military
intervention would be delayed.
deeply affected or marked by mental or physical pain
This not only meant that you were
scarred for life but that you could never escape from them
engaged in war
escaping with the carving of the rebels’ initials was asking for death, as soldiers would kill you without any questions and
militant civilians would do the same.
providing no shelter or sustenance
On our way through the quiet and almost
barren town, which now seemed unfamiliar, we saw rotten pots of food that had been left behind.
a hand tool for grinding and mixing substances in a mortar
They were escorting a group of young women who carried cooking pots, bags of rice, mortars and
squeeze together tightly
He breathed heavily,
clenching his fists.
be driven or carried along, as by the air
We high-fived each other as we approached the village market, and our stomachs growled as the smell of palm oil
wafted from cooking huts.
dried out by heat or excessive exposure to sunlight
Our lips became
parched and our joints weakened and ached.
make a pillaging or destructive raid on, as in wartime
The one cassava farm that we
ravaged didn’t last long.
a sheath for a sword or dagger or bayonet
The younger rebel raised my head with his bayonet, still in its
pose a series of questions to
All the captives stood at gunpoint watching as the rebels proceeded to
interrogate the old man.
against your will
I was so certain at this point that my voice
involuntarily left me: “Junior, Talloi, Kaloko, Gibrilla, Khalilou. Is that you?”
reflect deeply on a subject
Everyone seemed to be in a different world or seemed to be