As tens of thousands of Sierra Leoneans toil abroad
as "economic" refugees, thousands of their fellow citizens who never left
returned from the Diaspora are enjoying greener pastures right here in Sierra
Leone, thank you. Through hard work, many Sierra Leoneans not associated with the
government are enjoying a level of existence a lot of their countrymen in
America or Europe can only dream of.
In line with the economic success being enjoyed by some
hardworking Sierra Leoneans, there is a building boom going on all over the
country. Visitors from abroad cannot
fail to be amazed at the success of local Sierra Leoneans who made their
fortunes through commerce and going through the country's educational system to
obtain good jobs. No doubt aware of the stressful lives of their co-citizens
abroad, many successful Sierra Leoneans scoff at the idea of emigrating to the
US or Europe.
Sheku A. Kamara graduated from college in Sierra
Leone, became a teacher and now owns Apex International in Freetown, a test
preparation institution. Kamara has not only torn down and rebuilt his father's
old house in Kabala, he is the owner of an impressive two story building in the
same town that many folks in the Diaspora will look upon with envy. One of his
children has graduated from college, another is half way through.
There is the businessman, uneducated, who owns a
house in Freetown for his college going children as well over twenty-five
rented houses in the provinces. There is the driver/mechanic who has put all of
his four children through Fourah Bay College. Students are getting double
master's degrees (a new trend) in law, business and agriculture and going on to
start great careers in Sierra Leone.
There are also Sierra Leoneans who after many years
of labor in America and Europe, decided to return home. Several became paramount
chiefs but others have found good jobs
and opened businesses. Some have been able to build houses only after returning
to Sierra Leone, something they were unable to do while in America.
The Lebanese who started arriving in Sierra Leone at
the turn of the 19th century never left even when the country was
torn by a brutal civil war and the Ebola crisis. Now the Chinese are coming to
Sierra Leone for a slice of the economic action.
God bless America as the Land of Opportunity, but
God bless Sierra Leone too because success here does not mean working all kinds
of odd hours while the kids raise themselves and husbands and wives do not have
time for one another.