Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Senensi Edward Lahai

Senensi Edward Lahai - a schoolboy and neighbor dressed in his school uniform. He attended Holy Trinity Secondary School in Kenema

Senensi lived at Mama Hokey's house on Dama Road and shared a room and bed with two brothers who were also at secondary school named Momo and Mansaray Vandi.  Smaller than most of his peers, Senensi was very bright, and very good in English. I was not his teacher but suspect that he did very well in school.  I estimate that his age in 1968-70 was about 15 but of this I was never sure. Senensi was gregarious and had some wonderful insights into life as a young boy. Yet, in many respects, he was much older acting then his years. He was not physically very fit, and was less able then his peers to do hard work. What I enjoyed most about Senensi was his cheerful personality. Always with a smile on his face, and always with a funny story or a funny observation. He enjoyed coming by our house to visit, and to tell me stories of the area, or to occasionally teach me a Mende saying.  I never met his parents or family members - and unfortunately learned little about his life. Yet, for him there were no work demands in Mama Hokey's house. Senensi was also a talker and communicator rather than an athlete. His stamina was seemingly less than those around him, but intellectually he could hold his own with anyone. He liked visiting us and I suspect was very comfortable with us. I suspect that he was the one who put the other boys up to teaching me a Mende vulgarity. This was done in a typically adolescent mischievous way - and after he and the others got their punishment for this, he was able to still joke about it. To some degree the joke had been played on me - and he had set it all up.[for the full story about this see the posting below entitled "Mama Hokey."] As with a lot of folks from that period I have not heard from him since 1970. I may have received one letter - but at this time have no idea if he survived the war. Here was a boy who, if he remained healthy, and could pay the school fees, was going to go far. I only hope this came to pass. I would love to know what has happened to him.

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