Nancy Vorkink

Rookie (New York)

Tribute To Ma Nessie - Poem by Nancy Vorkink

Before the war in Liberia, my parents, though subsistence farmers, lived happily in their village. They both spoke only Kissi and Liberian English. In fact, they continued their farm work during the first few years of the crisis, even in the midst of Charles Taylor's rebels, but not without their own stories of the war.

1. In the village 'we were forced to collect rice, palm oil and other ingredients to feed the Taylor rebels. But it became unbearable for us when another rebel faction, ULIMO of Alhaji Kromah overran the Taylor Forces in the area', Ma Nessie explained.
2. Not only did the rebels force them to feed them but also they killed, tortured, harassed and raped residents. By 1994 Ma Nessie was made a widow.
3. My father who was her husband (about 70) died from force labor (totting load for the rebels)
4. To witness the most horrible and brutal killing of three young men. The three men (two brothers and a Pentecostal Evangelist, Thomas Korfeh) were tied and put in a drum-fill-boiled water while residents on-looked. What a torture of minds! 'We were prevented from crying, not even to dropp a tear, ' she said.

5. Another case of mental torture Ma Nessie underwent happened when the ULIMO rebels butchered and put in wheelbarrows fresh human parts, carried around the town house-to-house and forced residents to purchase a piece each. What barbarism!

The above events caused Ma Nessie along with her two grandchildren to seek refuge in bushes until they made their way to Guekedou, Republic of Guinea, in 1994. One of the grandchildren died just after they reached Guinea and was left with Tenneh who was then six. Coincidentally and fortunately I met Ma Nessie in Guekedou after my escape from the April 6 war in Monrovia. Today she sells sugar cubes and blanches peanuts to sell in the refugee camp.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Poem Edited: Friday, July 23, 2010


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