Voyages & Découvertes

My Thoughts

Wednesday 8 July 2009 by Pinat Pierre

Germany, England, Austria, Belgium, Cape Verde, Corsica, Scotland, Spain, The United States of America, The Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Kosovo, Liberia, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uruguay, Vietnam.

I must obtain a new passport. The one I have is still valid for 5 more years, but it has no more page left ! By the way, it is the 3rd I got in 15 years. How luck I am ... ! At no cost, exchange this life with another.

I write you from Sierra Leone where I am spending a week of vacation. I spend half of the day in bed and later walk about or pedal a rented cycle in the capital Freetown. Streets are full of smiles and are very colourful. The war is over. People are hopeful for a bright future as they strive to rebuild their lives.

Body and Soul

And I feel connected to the people body and soul. Africa teaches me that happiness is not be found on no continent, in no articular country : all that one needs to be joyful first comes out of oneself. I belong to this people.

I feel I belong to these people, I speak their languages. I adopt their attitudes. Naturally, the feeling comes without forcing it.

In Liberia, most of my friends and workmates are survivors. They have experienced the unthinkable. They tell me untold stories. Today, they smile, sing and dance. Their faces once sad are magnificent. I have a profound respect for them.

For 5 years, West Africa has been feeding me, moulding me and making the person I am today. I feel short of words in expressing my gratitude.

But sometimes, Africa makes me mad ! I am hurt, deceived, disgusted with dishonesty, chronic corruption, fatalism, apathy and unacceptable fact: how can someone be hungry in such a fertile region of the world ? I don’t understand.

Bit it is okay. I try to accept what I cannot change.

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Pierre and his mates on a canoe

I am also aware that I am the first beneficiary of all this experience. I bring a stone toward my own edifice. My way to change the world.

The richest man

Of course, it is so easy for me to say this. After all, I am a rich man, working for the United Nations ! I have a salary, I am never hungry, I have a roof, a security guard and a house boy.

Bit I know where I come from and I keep my feet on ground. I do believe that it is miraculous to eat everyday, to have shelter and to be in good health.

I don’t have a refrigerator. But I have an icebox in which I keep ice every day. I don’t have running pipe water but I have a well that never goes dry. I don’t have a car but I have a motorcycle to go about in the town. There is no public electricity, but I have a little generator that I put on for few hours in the evening.

And most of all, I am surrounded by Liberian, maybe the most loveable people I met so far in my life.

What do I need ?

I am the richest man in the world.

(translated by Mehaud Eric)

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