Once upon a time, there was a lady who always boarded a specific Poda Poda from King Memorial Church and will disembark at the Kissy Road Cemetery main entrance. She was a familiar face to the driver and apprentice. No matter how full their vehicle was, they will leave a seat for her. They had built that type of a relationship with her and looked forward to her climbing onboard with her pleasant smile. Her presence in the Poda Poda always made traffic flawed smoothly for this driver. They were never stopped by the police and her lovely disposition rubbed off on everyone in the vehicle. Along the way, this lady constantly reached into her goody bag to give alms to the beggars.
For every stop the driver made, those who had gone all day begging without receiving anything knew that as long as this lady was in route, they’ll receive something. Her grace was felt in the vehicle coupled with her giving spirit that made it possible for many to buy a plate of cookery for the day. Even inside the Poda Poda passengers without the full fare, knew that as long as she is onboard the driver and apprentice would not rough them up for not paying the exact amount. It was a certainty that this lady would pay their way after a long day of hustling and bustling around PZ. Everyone in the vehicle including the operators would say “Goodbye see you tomorrow” as she disembarks at the main entrance of the Kissy Road Cemetery.
The driver always found a reason to delay at the gates in order to watch her disappear once inside the graveyard. The driver did not pay attention to those inside his Poda Poda shouting at him because they want to get home; he’ll watch and wait to make sure this lady is safe before driving off. The passengers eventually joined the driver and would also watch and wait until the lady is out of sight before continuing their route. Those coming all the way from the west end trying to get home in the east end of Freetown, also knew that at the entrance of the Kissy Road Cemetery, they would have to watch and wait until this strange lady gracefully and leisurely walk into the graveyard.
One day, it dawned on the driver that this lady is possibly homeless. He quietly thought, “Why does it always have to be at this very spot that I drop her?” Furthermore, “Although she is benevolent, is she living among the dead? Is she sleeping in the graveyard insde somebody’s tomb?” The driver could not make sense of the behavior of his special passenger. He loves having her onboard because his drive was always hassle-free from the King Memorial Church to the entrance of the Kissy Road Cemetery. If she was without a roof over her head, the driver wanted to know. He was determined to find out and talk to his vehicle owner-the boss to give this lady one room in his big compound around Kissy Dockyard. But the only way to find out the truth about her situation is to ask her directly. So when the lady boarded the Poda Poda the next day the driver asked as he dropped her off, “Wait! We’ve watched you always getting off right here and go into this graveyard. Is the Kissy Road Cemetery your home?”
With a pleasant smile the lady responded, “NO.” She then continued, “This graveyard is not my home. My home is on the other side of the graveyard. The hills that you can lift your head up and see, that’s where my home is.” She did not stop there but went on, “But you see, I have to go through the graveyard to get to my home on the other side. I have to walk this path through the cemetery to get to my home up yonder.” The driver was astounded at the lady’s response. The entire entourage stood in reverence and silence as the lady went through the graveyard to get to her home on the other side; the hills in full view.
Mammy Alice’s home is not in the graveyard. Her eternal place of rest is on the other side of the cemetery. As the entire nation stand in reverence and silence with President Koroma and family watching her go through the cemetery this weekend, our heads are lifted up to the hills from whence cometh our help. We look on knowing the believer’s help comes from the God who is our strength. We wait in anticipation of that great day of resurrection for the family reunion of believers. As she strolls through the transit point called the graveyard, we trust that the God of refuge who is a present help in trouble will comfort President Koroma, his siblings, and the mourning nation. Mammy Alice’s time has come to go through the cemetery to get to her heavenly home on the other side. As she gracefully strolls along, please join me is saying, farewell Mammy Alice on the journey to your heavenly home on the other side. Amen!
Blessings & Peace,
Rev. Kemoh Sulimani
Pastor Alliance Fellowship