Many of you know I have a long relationship with a boy named Moses Pewee. In Liberia, I’ve witnessed many very strong family ties that extend beyond nuclear bonds to children that simply need a home and seamlessly get absorbed into the fabric of family workings. Then there are extremes of brokenness where basic parent-child bonds don’t appear to exist. Moses’s life story is indicative of family dysfunction born of brokenness, and in my opinion, basic selfishness.
At one time, both of his biological parents (his “born ma” and “born pa”) separated and found new significant others. His mom lived in the bush with a man who didn’t want Moses and his brother around, and the same was true for his father and his new partner. Neither wanted to care for Moses. Rejected by both sets, Moses was raised by his grandparents who struggled to support a multigenerational household with few income-producing skills exacerbated by declining health. Over the past year, both Old Ma and Old Pa Sibley died. Without elders to lead (more accurately Old Ma to cook and clean), most in the household departed – just 15-year old Moses and his twenty-something cousin remained to fend for themselves.
Over the last few months, relatives began returning (I’m sure because prospect of a free house was so enticing) and now there is a loosely knit cluster of relations inhabiting the family home. This includes Moses’s biological father and his “new woman”. All would seem positive for Moses as he now has a dad back to care for him. Unfortunately, this is not the case. His father has no work and can’t support him with food, clothing or school fees. Moses says the new wife dislikes him and has made life difficult – “she don’t love me”. Moses is now living with a friend.