+ Name: Jebess Keikula
+ Age: 33+
+ Home Base: Bo, Sierra Leone
+ Current Location: Freetown
+ Occupation: I didn’t finish my school because of financial constraints, from 1992 I have been working as security, now for NGO and before for an American mine company.
+ Ethnicity: Mende tribe
+ Religion: Christian
+ Have Children: I have one daughter she’s now three years.
+ Want Children: As an African I only want two.
+ Last great book I read: I like to read bibles, newspapers, history books. The Short History of Sierra Leone.
+ Most humbling moment:
On January 6 year 1999, a humble time for me when we were at the barracks. On the fifth of January all the younger boys in the barracks were captured by the ECOMOG soldiers and were packed up to Signal at Wilberforce (the headquarters of communication). We are packed there we don’t know the reason why. It’s because of the war. They thought we would join the rebels, so they keep us. So the 6th January we have a bomb blast and the rebels are fighting towards the city.
We were all packed there and 200 of us at the age of 15-18, and the ECOMOG soldiers say they won’t leave us. We are there when these rebel boys come up to Congo Cross and burn the statehouse. We were there 12 days, 4 days complete without water. I don’t know where my parents are, my sister, my mother …I don’t know where they are for now, all the town was mix up. So I really lose hope. I say “oh I am going to die”, we were only praying to God Almighty at that place.
So later, after the 12 days, the ECOMOG guys and the Kamajors fight the rebels and they retreat far back at Waterloo. Then they release us. But they told us that you will not move from the barracks until you have a paper or any document.
Things are hard for us in Freetown, so much money for a cup of rice. So one day I decide to go up the mountain behind Hill Station to find plum, fetch wood -- so I can sell and get some living. So another day I get into the bush early in the morning, sat on top of the tree shaking these plums so I get 2 dozen of it to get some money -- and I saw some ECOMOG soldiers – they shout on me “who is there!” and I say “I am” They say “Come over here” and I come.
But by then I was having my ID card my canteen number. So they ask me why I am here at this time. I tell them to fetch some plums. They say “why are you so early” they tell me I am a rebel, I say, “no I am not a rebel.” They search my pocket they take off my wallet and some ID card there and some other document. They say “oh this guy is from the barracks” they asked me who is the ECOMOG commander of the garrison by then and I said “Commander Tanco.” Okay, I followed them to go in the bush up the mountain until we reach at this place Malama there was a checkpoint there.
I was feeling so uncomfortably I was feeling like this life is so bad for me. They told me to go back home. So there they leave me they give me 1000 Leones and I go back to the barrack.
So that was a great humble moment for me.
When they catch me up, I say oh I am gonna die, because they were armed.
+ Celebrity I resemble most:
In 1994 there was a second in command, Sarge Musa, he was a famous man in Sierra Lone anyway – brave, intelligent.
+ Best or worst lie I've ever told:
I can remember when I went in holiday there was an insect called grasshopper, during our time, the dry season, so many grasshoppers they came a lot in all of the chiefdom. So one day I reach one village and I tell the people “I see the grasshopper has banged the convoy and the driver has died away.” I say “go and see.”
+ If I could be anywhere at the moment:
Because we are now in the commercial world, America.
+ Song or album that puts me in the mood:
My wife is a Mandingo she loves Mandingo songs anyway, for me I like reggae songs, funky – Lucky Dube, Bob Marley.
+ Five items I can’t live without:
1. a watch – I’m in security, I can keep my time
2. my daughter, even I’m sitting here I think of my daughter
3. my radio, news
4. my pen
5. my work (more than my wife – if I leave the job, no wife. Even without money you can’t get no wife)
+ Fill in the blanks:
My watch is sexy;
my eyes are sexier.
+ In my bedroom, you'll find:
Toys (stuffed animals) on my bed, some flowers, drinking rubbers (bottles), two box (luggage), fifteen gallon container contains rice, chairs, small table where we place our food to eat, and another container contain books, flags, milk, cocoa, sugar.
+ Why you should get to know me:
One, because of my name. I can say for the whole of the area we are living, I am the only person who have that name so even the children feel like I’m a comedian – they all feel though know me “Jabess, Jabess.” And also because of my behavior to my other guys, my friends you know, friendly.
+ More about what I’m looking for:
I’m looking for better living, money, so I can do for me and my family.