Friday, March 16, 2012

The Freedom Struggle

A Jinkins James Advanture
Seated and determined to complete the 10th grade at the Victory Chapel Academy this year, Jinkins Janmes, 21, narrated how he became a rock crusher to support his education and himself. “My aunty Rita brought me to Monrovia from Douplay in Nimba County to attend school in 2005. She paid my tuition for just one semester and told me I was responsible for myself. That was how I got into this struggle,” He explained to the Insight. In 2007, two years after selling doughnut for his aunty, Mr. James gained his freedom from Ms. Rita who was only providing him with shelter and less than enough food to survive, as he sold her pastery from one point of Paynesville to another. According to him, since then he had been trying to achieve academic education the best way he could by venturing different types of business. Taking up time from crushing a stockpile of huge igneous rocks, Mr. James futher explained that he sold earrings and later became a masoner-helper to raise money to attend the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC), where he study tiles laying and masonery, while he lived with friends. Though crushing rocks without the approprieate mechinery is a difficult task, the young James said it was better because he can now pay his own rental, buy clothe and food, and most importantly pay his own tuition. “Thank God I left Aunty Rita’s House, today I can take care of myself and things that I need. You may ask while I am bursting rocks instead of doing masonery, the answer is simple. It gives me fast money than working as a masoner helper,” he said. Asked if he had the opportunity to work with the cico during the renovation to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Congo Town about 1.5km away from his Kpelle Town home, Mr. James said he did not work along with the company because they were offering low wage. “In a week’s time, If business is not good, I make about three thousand dollars (L$3,000) from selling rocks; if business is good I make up to five thousand dollars (L$5,000). While should I leave that to go work for seventeen dollars (US$17) weekly,” Mr. James asked. He said with the rock crushing he was sure that he would not drop from school because people around the country are untaking construction that required crushed rocks which means he would not run out of money to meet his needs. Mr. Jinkins James considered himself as an underprivilaged young person who have made significant strides despite the oppression he suffered from his aunty who decieved his parents that she was bring him to go to school. “I will like to tell people up country to know who they are giving their children to because I am a victim who is still hoping to make my people happy the day I meet them,” he warned. The act of some rural parents letting their children come to Monrovia with an aunty or uncle in order to acquire education goes a long way back into history. During the early 1890s and before then, settlers visited the hinterland of Liberia and adopted children of the aborigines; some of those children became prominent people in the society then and today. However, many more like Jinkins James became mere house helpers who did not find their way “back to their roots.”

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