Diamond dialogue…

Abdulai is a computer teacher in The Gambia.

Abdulai said, “Ask a Sierra Leonean and he will tell you about the dangers of the diamond. It is a commodity that never enriches the owner, only the outsider.”

“My parents migrated from the North to the East of Sierra Leone in search of diamonds before I was born. They ended up dying with no future for us. My dad taught me to comprehend one thing. He said, ‘Abdul, do not to go near the diamond fields because you are an educationist. If you get the taste of what diamonds bring you will not continue your education.’

“My father said, ‘If I die there is nothing to fight for except my three wifes and many children. The only asset I will leave for you is your education, so I will educate you.'”

“Diamonds left so many people like my brothers, uncles and sisters uneducated. I want to thank God that I never got involved as my dad advised. Some of my relatives are still pursuing the wealth that diamonds bring.

“I remember when I was in Sierrra Leone a friend of mine told me one day, ‘I am not happy for the war in Liberia. But because of the war I got my beloved wife who is a refugee from Liberia. I would never have met her if there was no war.'”

Abdul said, “Because of the war in Sierra Leone I lost both my parents. But they would still have died if there was no war. We believe in destiny and try to shelve the past so that it doesn’t make the present or future blink.”

“It is true, I could not have met people like you. With no war in Sierra Leone I would not be in the Gambia. I was able to bring youths together so that they can realise a hopefull and brighter future in The Gambia, a dream that I could not realise in Sierra Leone. I am so proud to see some of these boys and girls working and earning a living and contributing to the welfare of their parents and country. All this is happening because of Diamonds, Marc.”

“I remember you once told me ‘I will not fix your computers but i will teach you how to fix them.’ These words were all I needed to shape my future.”

I replied. “I don’t understand, Abdulai,” I said. “Great things could have happened anywhere because you seek to do good work. I still don’t think I need to buy a diamond for a wedding. I cannot think of a less necessary item in all the world than a diamond. Surely traditions that create suffering in any part of the world are not a good thing!”

He said, “We must talk about the present but be thankful for the past. The war in Sierra Leone left me a refugee. No one would want a repetition of what has happened in Sierra Leone. But as I said, good things come from it, like our friendship.”

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