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Our Story: a Tribute to Aunty

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 05:15 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 72 
  • Words: 4720
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I was in New York City in 1997 when I heard about the death of Aunty. When the call came in, I was alone in our tiny Manhattan apartment. It was on the corner of 145th Street and 7th Avenue. Immediately, I hurried into a C-shaped chamber I shared with Perry Winn at the time. Holding back tears definitely was not an option. According to the caller, she had died a mysterious death in Tabou, Ivory Coast.

Actually, Aunty was not my aunt, as one may immediately assume. She was my long-time friend. She was my first love. Her father, Mr. Alfred Kenta, was a combined lawyer and local civil right activist. He spent the bulk of his time in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, where he had a government job. Aunty’s mother (we simply her called “Oldma”) chose not to follow her husband. She stayed back in Jarkaken, the same town where Aunty was born and brought up. Before I forget to mention it, Aunty’s real name was Comfort Sawlode Kenta. Her folks (and eventually the entire Jarkaken community) affectionately called her by a ‘play-play name’, as nickname is widely known in that rural part of Liberia. She was known as “Aunty-baby,” or simply “Aunty.”

It is hard for me to forget many of the events that occurred in Jarkaken, especially while growing up there. I would love to re-live some of my most memorable moments from those days, but that’s not achievable in this life. Aunty and I met while I was visiting the town from Wodayken, which was a tiny agricultural settlement built several miles away from Jarkaken. I was in the town to prepare for an enlistment into a male ritual. At the time we started “dating,” I was going on thirteen years of age, and Aunty was a year younger. We actually did not initiate the love affair. It was Aunty’s friend who played matchmaking for us.   Her name was Cecelia Kanee Warner. We called her by her Grebo name, Kanee. I believe she was the oldest in our pack. She was notorious for fighting other kids. She was always caught fighting during...

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