A Time to Work and a Time to Rest
Much of my book (What Life has taught me) has dealt with what life has taught me. At 78 I am glad to claim that I am still learning in the school of life and sometimes hardly receiving passing marks. Those who feel that they have nothing more to learn, or are tired of learning, are most probably tired of living. I am certainly not a member of that club, but I am aware of the limitations resulting from increasing age.
The leadership of a country like Sierra Leone is a very demanding job, combining responsibility for the day-to-day affairs of the country and planning for the future with diplomatic work and the performance of ceremonial functions.
Moreover, the African tradition being what it is, our people expect their leader to be also the father of the nation, to hear personally complaints and suggestions, to settle disputes, including personal ones, to attend functions, to relieve cases of hardship and often to represent the country abroad.
The President of Sierra Leone must be a politician, an economist, a judge, a diplomat, and a compassionate welfare officer, all rolled into one.Though I can claim a good experience in all these areas and, Thank God, a clean bill of health, I realise that at my age the mind and the body cannot be as agile and resilient as I should like them to be. I can no longer put up with constant late nights and very long sessions at my office. Long debates, long flights and long hours of reading are beginning to tire me.
While I am still anxious to learn from life, the 50 odd years I have spent in politics and public affairs, including the years devoted to the trade union movement, have made it difficult, if not impossible, to find time for the many other interests which I developed over the decades, some practical, some rather academic. I mentioned earlier that I should like to learn a little more about the history, the traditions and the culture of my mother’s tribe — the Vai people who were probably the first in Black Africa, outside Ethiopia, to devise their own alphabet and system of writing. I should also like to take advantage of my practical experience of development in an emergent country to analyse in greater depth the problems involved; to identify not only the shortest but also the safest and most acceptable road to development.
Finally, I should also like more time to rest, relax, read and meditate, and to look at closer range, with a private eye, not in an official capacity, at what goes on in Sierra Leone, in Africa and in the world.
|Sierra Leone Remembered :: Amazon Esther Megill had an extraordinary life experience in Sierra Leone as a medical technologist-extraordinary in the work she did, in the work|