African writers introduce their special places in our introspective column on emotional geography. In this issue, Liberian novelist, Vamba Sherif returns to his hometown after two decades and a civil war
I was returning home after twenty years, and the man who was driving me there turned out to be an ex-rebel. The last time I saw Kolahun, my birthplace in Liberia, was in 1990, and now in March 2010, I was bound for it again. I had arrived in Monrovia from the Netherlands the day before, apprehensive of the journey because of the horrific stories of people who had undertaken such trips and had died of poisons mixed into their food. After the civil war, poison had replaced bullets, and the enemy was omnipresent. I had lodged at my elder brother’s, who had taken more than thirty family members into his care, mostly youngsters whose parents had not survived the war. The night was restless: church songs, drums and rattles rent its air, the city having turned into a noisy marketplace of God-seekers.
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