- 11 Posts
- Age 18
It wasn’t like I didn’t know it would happen, but rather, that it would happen sooner than later.
The green pastures used to fill the valley, thousands of flowers of different colors could be easily seen in the infinite green background. I remember being totally carefree at 7 years old running in the valley with my friends while we played with a paper-made soccer ball. Things used to be so different back in those days.
Now I’m 16 years old and I’m not a child anymore. I’m aware of everything that happens around me. I realize how drastically the weather changed in just a few years, less than a decade, making the green, never-ending pastures suddenly disappear. It wasn’t like one day it was here and the next it was gone, but if we compare it to the millions of years that the Earth has existed, it disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Here in Sierra Leone, the biggest sector of economic activity is Agriculture; this is the reason why my dad has a used to have a big plantation of rice. It was one of the biggest in the valley and that made my dad proud. He had inherited it from his father, whom had inherited it from his father and so on. It was going to be mine, since I’m the firstborn, but he didn’t expect it to suddenly be gone.
The weather had started to change several years ago before I was born. My father remembers that when he was little, his father used to say that the harvest of the year wasn’t as good and big as the year before. And the story repeated itself now and then until it became a usual thing: every year the harvest was smaller and of less quality than the previous one due to the warming of the valley, erosion and a few droughts; but the plantation still gave some rice that my family could sell.
That’s why when I saw that there was another drought this year, I still thought that we were going to make it. We may have less money than the year before and with more debts, but if I got another shift in the hardware store, I knew I could help my family in a way. But this year’s drought was stronger than expected. The harvest was so little that it barely made enough profit to live on. My father decided to put the land for sale to pay the debts and with the rest of the money is making us all move to Guinea and start a new life, hoping to be luckier this time.
Tomorrow is our last day here in the valley, and I know it will be one of the most difficult we’ve ever lived. Saying goodbye to everything we have ever known won’t be easy. Even being forced to face an unknown future, I have hope. After all, I’ll always keep dreaming of seeing my valley green again.
This is the reality that thousands of families are facing every single year in the most affected countries due to climate change, like Mozambique, Dominica and Malawi, just to mention a few. It is not fair for those families that are paying the price of global warming by being forced to move from where they live.Only with the hope of finding a better future, they have no choice, but to leave everything they have and move to a new place, not knowing what to expect. We need to realize that this is happening and the only way to stop it is by addressing climate change. If we all work together, we will definitely stop it’s damaging effects, and no more families will be forced to let their dreams and hopes go away.