The Inquisitive One

I continued:

“He was mean and violent when he had too much. He walked out early in marriage but would visit Mama once or twice a year—drunken and demanding sexual satisfaction. By the time his visits ceased, Mama had another baby—who died during birth—and a broken jaw from his blows.”

Digressing from the topic, I wanted to know more about what happened to Xiao-he in the then war-ravaged Sierra Leone. 

 “So were you aware there was an on-going civil war in that country before going there?”

“Yes. Before I left for that country, the news coming from those three countries—Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia—all in West Africa wasn’t good. I’d been doing business with all these three countries until they became a scene of fierce waves of internecine bloodshed…”

“And you still decided to go there?”


“So you weren’t afraid of being killed?”

“I was, but I knew as a foreigner, I would probably not be targeted.”

“So what exactly happened?”

“I arrived at that village at half past noon, after a five-hour drive through Sierra Leone’s axle-breaking roads. It was only about 100 kilometers away from the capital—Freetown—where I started my journey. I was gripped by anxious thoughts that often rattled me to tears on the five-hour long commute to that village. I couldn’t anticipate what awaited me over there. Upon arrival, I quickly noticed how the village had turned into a corpse-littered wasteland with derelict buildings and furrowed alleys.

” I…”

Was it your first time there.” I interrupted.

“No. I’d been there together with my business partner on three other occasions.

“As I…”

Were you traveling alone?” I interrupted again.

“No, I was with…”

“Another Chinese?” I interrupted him again.

At this time, Xiao-he became impatient with my interruptions and cautioned me.

 To be continued…