A Tribute to Kadija Sho-Sawyer

18 December 2008 at 00:13 | 1326 views

By Karamoh Kabba, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Kadija Jalloh was a self-motivated, self-determined, unassuming and kindest young woman I’ve ever known. I first met Kadija and Dr. Michel Sho-sawyer in 2006, at their Youth for Sierra Leone Improvement (YSLI) event in Maryland they were National Chairman and Maryland chapter President respectively.

The greatest emotional impact I have ever sustained as a person, was not only being privy to the beginning of the ending, but the ending of this fine young woman who had given her whole life to youth focused community service and in the process influenced my life.

On Saturday, 6 December 2008, we departed from The Timbuk-Vision Sierra Leone Limited at 10 Walpole Street and set out for Bo, where Michel was to open a Diaspora investment establishment.

Kadija was a short-term youth activist and feminist whose unwavering commitment to come to Sierra Leone, to be with her less-than-two-weeks old wedded husband, Michel, and to be a part of Sierra Leone’s 2025 Vision and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) efforts that led to her death.

Like in the words of Michel’s boss, Hon. Alhaji Alpha Kanu - Minister of Presidential and Public Affairs, “Kadija traveled thousands of miles to fulfill an appointment with God, but more so to see you before that,” Minister Kanu somberly told Michel’s by his hospital bed at Choithram’s ICU ward where Michel was being treated for injuries sustained in the ghastly accident that killed his wife.

Kadija was faithful to her desire as activist, Christian and wife before her death. Michel had become the Director of Diaspora Affairs at State House and Kadija answered to the call of the Most High through her effort to join and support Michel in God’s miracle.

Minister Kanu’s analogy of the King, who had sent his servant in Samaria to hide from the Angel of Death before going to the market place to rebuke the Angel upon his servant’s complaint that the Angel was threatening to take his life to learn from the Angel, “I am shock at your rebuking me for threatening your servant. I was surprised to see your servant at the market in the first place. We have an appointment tomorrow at Samaria,” is befitting to the double tragedy that saw the death of Kadija and Ade Sho-sawyer, Michel’s wife and uncle. Indeed, Kadija had traveled thousands of miles to fulfill an appointment with the Angel on the BO/Freetown highway on that blessed day.

Kadija was faithful and dedicated to community service, wonderful blessings to anyone and certainly, to the nation she wanted to serve so well.

On, she wrote, “I have so much work to do, but of course my brain has perfect timing and just will not allow me to take my mind off of Salone. Man... I miss Sierra Leone so much, I can’t wait to go home again because it seems like forever since I last visited. (January 2005!) Anyway, until then...I will just listen to my SL music and prepare for Independence Day weekend. Don’t forget to keep Sierra Leone in your prayers!”

Kadija was a tremendous example of a woman with a servant’s heart. At her early age, she was part of a crew of servants for the improvement of the lives of women and youth in Sierra Leone. Some of her legacies include the many branches of YSLI in the United States and in Sierra Leone. Most prominent is the computer-learning center YSLI provided for youths in Makeni, Bombali district.

Kadija was always very faithful in doing the small things that made others feel good and better such as encouraging her peer groups to stay the course, saying sorry and motivating others even when they were down. I have never seen her sweat - all this time, I have seen her with Michel, only, till their marriage about two weeks ago before her death on that blessed day.

Kadija had an encouraging behavior, especially amongst her peers, she had a faith-filled disposition on life at all times and toward other people. I recall one time a conversation that was headed toward negativity toward another member of YSLI. Kadija was visibly uncomfortable with what she had called “unfortunate development” and reminded her friends of the importance of keeping their conversations civil and uplifting.

At age 22, you would be shock that at my age, I have adopted many of Kadija’s pacifist approach when faced with looming confrontation because, she always demonstrated cooperative spirit that turned bad situation to jokes and laughter. Undoubtedly some of the good changes in my own life were possible because of this young woman whose body I first saw in mortal all we hope or we selfishly hoped not for - but to learn that God’s command precedes our human wishes.

But like in the words of the great Martin Luther King, whose life was also cut short by our creator in his work as an activist, “As I stand here and look out upon the thousands of Negro faces, and the thousands of white faces intermingled like the waters of a river, I see only one face - the face of the future.” Indeed, Kadija, in her work as an activist saw a united Sierra Leone across tribes, religion, ethnicity and creed. Kadija’s wishes and legacies must be preserved through the KJSS foundation Michel and friends of hers will launch soon.

Kadija, until my turn comes to depart this dreadful earth, we know you have secured yourself a place in Heaven, your legacy will only help us forge my own way to you where you are rested beside God only if I have learned something from you, and until my own turn comes to depart this dreadful earth, you will always be in my memory.

Your brother and great friend,

Karamoh Kabba.