Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 June 2014
I have sometimes wondered whether some hidden hand was fiddling with my birth calendar, because each twelve month period simply speeds away.
Only yesterday, I was joking with friends and family members that we were to wait until the age of 85, when I would ask my distinguished nephew to join my children and throw a big party at the Bank of Sierra Leone complex.
That would follow a prayer and thanksgiving service for God’s Grace and Mercy for the previous 84 years.
In Psalm 90, the Psalmist reminds us that “Our days may come to seventy years or eighty, if our strength endures.”
The King James and other revised versions put it in poetic language. There, reference is made to three scores and ten.
But whatever the Version, God’s Grace has enabled me to come this far – 84, and I pray that His continuing Grace would enable me to celebrate the 85th in grand style.
John Newton was a slave trader and one of those who were responsible for shipping our forefathers across the Atlantic, under the most inhuman conditions, until he saw God after he had himself become a captive.
He then wrote this hymn with those beautiful words: “Amazing Grace.” There was another equally beautiful hymn to his credit: “How Sweet the Name of Jesus sounds In a believer’s ear.”
In the second verse of Amazing Grace, Newton wrote: “God’s Grace has brought me safe thus far and He will lead me home.”
Years back, Olu Gordon of Peep newspaper and Mohamed Daudis Koroma of the African Champion newspaper, had taken delight in ridiculing and insulting me.
They must have thought that they were making a great point in telling their readers that I was actually over a hundred, at the time that I boasted of being 80.
But neither they, nor any of their colleagues – including Ernest Koroma’s frail and hungry looking minister of sports, took up my challenge to walk from the National School of Nursing on Lightfoot-Boston Street to the Lumley Beach round-about.
Mind you, I didn’t say run but merely said WALK. Well the much younger Mohamed Daudis and Olu are no longer around.
Poor Mohamed published at one time that I had been flown out in a wheelchair, and admitted in the Intensive Care Unit of a London hospital.
It is now a well known history about who was flown out to London on a stretcher and came back in a casket.
Olu had published that I didn’t know my birthday because there was no registration of births and deaths in my part of the country, at the time of my birth.
If he only knew that when my father the late Paramount chief Momoh Banya of Luawa chiefdom in the Kailahun district asked for a government school and a hospital for Kailahun – the chiefdom headquarters, the Governor turned down both his requests.
My father went ahead and built a Dispensary where births and deaths were registered.
What I am saying here is that our life and our destiny are in God’s Hands, and it is not for us to make a mockery of others for whatever reason.
This also reminds me of William Cowper’s hymn: “God moves in a mysterious way – His wonders to perform.”
When I took a long break from writing this column, many thought that I had retired permanently; the lady publisher even called me a liar. And that was just one of her insulting languages directed at me, all because I had said that I intended to end the column, but had not done so.
The truth is that I had spent the whole of 2013 and part of this year, in trying to put together the story of my life and experience, in the form of memoirs.
The manuscript is now with a prospective and well known publisher, and I hope that we can get it out this year.
Many readers and friends have also suggested that I publish a selection of the “Best of Puawui” from the numerous publications.
I intend to do so, but I have often asked and I now extend the invitation generally, that it is for readers to tell me which articles they think deserve to be published as a pamphlet or even a book.
So that is Puawui’s challenge to his readers at 84.
I shall be travelling up to Kenema later today. It is such a beautiful experience to drive even as far as Pendembu these days, that is until one enters Kenema, along the main Blama Road, from the Ahmadiyah school junction into Hangha road at the Clock Tower, and on to the I D A Bridge.
More on that awful stretch of road through the heart of the city later.
I hope all my readers would have a nice day, as they join me in spirit in giving thanks to God on JUNE 10.
Refreshing read, God bless you and may he keep you for many more years.