July 26, 2010, is the 163rd anniversary of the Independence of Mama Liberia. This day is widely celebrated every year in the country, and it is the occasion for children to wear new clothes, new shoes, as well as some jewelries. As the day gets close with giant steps, parents are worried because of the difficult financial situation each and every one is experiencing. That is the noise in the market.
Sitting with his chin in his two hands, Peter Kahn is staring at the wall in his office so meditatively that he did not notice his friend Mickel Fahn coming in. “Hi brother what’s up? What are you looking at up so?” Mickel asks, but his question remains unanswered as his friend seems not to be paying attention. Mickel gets close to Peter Fahn and puts his hand on Peter’s shoulder. Peter leaps up in indignation. “What the hell you are doing?” He shouted before looking at the person who put hand on his shoulder. “Oh I am sorry brother.” He says to Mickel.
Very surprised by this strange attitude of his friend, Mickel takes a step back, contemplates his friend, and asks: “What is the matter? What is happening to you, is everybody home ok, do you have any problem with your wife?” Peter walks to his friend, puts his hand around him, and says “how many question do you want me to answer brother?”
Peter invites Mickel to take sit. “Brother, there is no problem home, my wife and I we are fine and my health is ok. But there is a problem right now that is bigger than all those you named in your question; 26 is around the corner and yet, I don’t know how I am going to get what I ought to do for my kids. That is my problem brother. I have thought about it the whole night, now in day light I am still dreaming about it. It is not easy bro.”
After listening attentively and carefully to his friend, Mickel remains silent for a moment. His face begins to express sorrow and fretfulness for his friend. “Brother, take it easy before you get pressure. I understand how you feel because I am going through the same problem but you have to take it easy and see how best you can find a way out of it.”
“How do I find this way out brother? You know very well that we have only few days more to the D day, and we have not yet received our salaries. The Lebanese store where I usually go for loan has turned me down; I have no other hope brother. This government is trying to create problem in my home because if I don’t buy anything for my kids my wife will sanction me.” Peter Kahn.
This statement of Peter does not go down well with Mickel who angrily reacts by saying, “while will you wait for your salary when you had 11 months since last year to plan for this particular event? Why will you people always want to shift blame on the government? Is it the government that told you not to economize to enable you pay gifts for your kids? Come on man I don’t recognize you brother.
What is the wrong doing of the government here? You have five children and I have six but as you can see I am not feeling sorry for with myself because I have been keeping a small amount every month since last year in preparation of July 26 and Christmas seasons. As I talk to you I have already bought my children’s July 26 gifts.”
Peter Kahn becomes quiet suddenly. He keeps looking at his friend without saying a word. At that juncture, I decide to pack and leave. Getting out of Peter’s office, I receive a call from a friend who has gone to Waterside to buy gifts for his kids.
At Waterside, all discussions are centered on the same season. “Why are you walking so sad? Are you bereaved?” Miatta, 21, who has come for shopping, asks her friend Alice that she has just met. “I am ok physically Friend but morally I am not. Johnson has not given me money for the children’s gifts. I can no longer still home and look at the children staring at me all day long. I am frustrated Friend.” Alice replies.
“Oh Friend, I am so sorry. But you see, some time you have to blame yourself for this. As wife you should have encouraged your husband months before the season to be keeping some money for the day. Now you will be forced to wait for government to pay salaries before you buy gifts for your kids. Since January my husband and I have been keeping some money for July 26, this is why I am not crying like you today.” Miatta concludes.