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Dennis Jah is Born!

Over three decades ago today, I was born in the little town of Doodwicken, northeastern Sinoe, Republic of Liberia. Those days, things were relatively peaceful. Communities acted together and many of the upheavals of today were only heard of on radios and in distant places. At such time, the ruthless war by which many have come to know Liberia had not come. Although people in power cheated and abused others, no one tried to burn down the entire country and kill everybody. Life was not complicated and the demands it placed on people’s shoulders were not as harsh as they are today. Proverbs like “Koffa kills an elephant; everybody eats it” were still relevant. Today’s reality of only Koffa can eat his hunt was never on anyone’s mind.

Some years prior, my parents had no boy children or males as those that came before did not make it out of the delivery room. Few years elapsed and my parents were out of luck to bring forth a male child who would eventually remain in the quarter and perpetuate the name of the family. So when my first brother was born, the celebration just could not stop. Praises to God who had smiled on my parents were endless. People forsook their farm work to celebrate the birth of first boy child. Few fired-up men loaded their single-barrel guns and wasted pellet in the air. The Christian women some of whom sang with my mother in the local LCA choir named my eldest brother Knee to symbolize to the World that he was a result of those women being on their knees and praying that God who gives children grant my parents a boy child. Nowadays where both males and females have equal chances and fair shots at opportunities, the quest for male children may not be so pressing as when my brother was born. Not that my father had no other children prior to the birth of the first male, there were so many lines drawn in his society which clearly separated directions of the female children and the male children. The end of a female child was obvious – marry and gone to be a part of other families sometime so far that they may never be seen again. Even if they are lucky to be enrolled into a school, it was just a matter of time when they could be spotted by a suitor and snatched. So, sending a girl child to school was a waste of time and money. That is why some girls got names like Nyonnoh-Say-tina-kon meaning a woman has no place (or specific place to marry) – she can marry and settle anywhere, who cares? The proverb that “a woman never felled a tree to bridge a creek” epitomizes women’s inadequacies and the direction they all were expected to take. Although my father challenged such status quo many times and my sisters disproved those theories and expectations, it was jut not easy to swim against the current.

The second guy came and the entire town was ecstatic. The church women said that God was showing to the World and reaffirming that He was involved in the miracle and that such was no coincidence. In loud voices, they spoke about God doing it again. Some who spoke in tongues said that God was not through with my parents yet.

So when this day September 23 in the year 197X came and I was born, it was no secret that prophecy was fulfilled. The church women had never ceased to pray because they believed that God was not a God who trickles down blessings though windows but pour them through doors he had opened for his faithful children. Evidently, they said God was pouring good measures, pressed down, shaken together and running over into my parents’ lap since they were His faithful servants.

Today the first birthday message came from Knee, the one who set the pace for us. The Lord has given me another year and I want to thank Him so much. I declare in this public manner that He who has begun his good works years back will be faithful to finish up.

To my parents and all my ten sisters especially the eight that came before me, I say thank you for everything.

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