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Memories of my home: A Poem by Syerramia Willoughby

Memories of my home

Mountains that rise and rise, but never seem to peak
Torrential rain that doesn’t cease for weeks
The dry desert wind that draws all the moisture from my skin
This is the beauty of my home
It is in Africa.

The scorching sun that shrivels the green of the soil
The roads full of red dust that disguise the colour of my shoes
Over the road, bends a coconut tree under the weight of its’ luscious fruit
This is my home
It is in Africa

Odours pervade my senses, exotic food tempts my palate
The woman carrying her baby on the back and at the same time has
A tray of hot parched groundnuts balanced on her head.
These things remind me of my home.
It is in Africa

The shirtless kid playing with a cloth football
On a pot-hole ridden road, whose parents
Can’t afford to send him to primary school
This is the reality of my home
It is in Africa

Tin sheds where some people make their home
Outdoor latrines with buzzing flies ready to attack your anus
lanes made of sharp stones which tear bare feet
This is indeed my home
It is in Africa

Markets with overladen stalls of freshly caught fish
Plantains, yams, cassava and potato leaves; customers
Haggling for dear life, tradespeople on the lookout for a few more leones
These are my memories of my home
It is in Africa

Strolling on yellow grains of sand; the salty Atlantic ocean
Flows in and disinfects the feet as the sun dies its’ daily death
Tourists swirling about in the bamboo beach bars
This is my home
It is in Africa

Soldiers in ragged clothes armed with cutlasses and rusty AK-47s;
chopping protruding bits of human anatomy. Raping women:
whether grannies or teenagers long before the dawn of womanhood
I find it hard to believe it’s my home
It is in Africa

So while I curl up comfortably in this Western land
With no worries beyond what to wear tonight or gawping
At  the trivial gossip of some stranger’s sex life or drug habit
I should  remember my home
In Sierra Leone, West Africa

Syerramia Willoughby
Syerramia Willoughby
I grew up in Freetown, Sierra Leone and I work as a sports journalist for BBC World Service in London.


  1. Syerramia, This is beautiful. I was so happy to find you on BBC and then to find this poem. Do you still remember the Women as Leaders Seminar in Washington DC? Please look me up on Facebook. I’m trying to organize a virtual reunion. ~Mary

  2. Hi dear, this poem makes me not forget the harsh realities i see on the streets of my homeland. Hope all is well with you. I’ll get in touch on facebook. Keep on writing dear.
    cheers. korleki

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