I emigrated from Guinea to New York City in December 2011. Sometimes in New York our Guinean community goes to the park to celebrate the holiday. In that place, our leader speaks to as about our life. It’s not really the same, however, as my village in Guinea. There, we have a big tree at least 20 feet tall. Its flowers have two different colors, red and yellow. They smell so good; that smell can reach at least 30 feet. That tree is at least a hundred and forty-seven years old. It was planted by one person named Sory Mawdho around 1879.
In this beautiful place, all the people of the village meet the leader two times a week. He is the one who speaks to us about the history of our village, gives wisdom, and offers advice. We make sacrifices, celebrate marriages, and speak about our future under that tree. The one thing I miss a lot at that place is, however unhappy you feel, if you come to this place, you will be happy. You feel good even though you have pain. You don’t care, because everybody is happy, smiling, and forgiving each other.
That’s why we say in our language, “When an old man dies in Africa, it’s like a library burns down.” I miss having access to the old “libraries” in my country.
– Abdoulaye Barry