donderdag 25 mei 2023

Cotton Tree don fordom

Translation from Dutch blog
The Cotton Tree is no more.

Late Wednesday evening I saw a message in Krio "Cotton Tree don fordom". I can understand snippets of Krio, but I don't know what "fordom" means. The word "don" indicates a past perfect tense. It did not bode well. My Sierra Leone-born roommate was already asleep and I didn't want to wake him up for this one word. An hour earlier, we were talking in the kitchen when my phone alerts rang with the news of Tina Turner's death. NOS, RTL,, New York Times, all at the same time. The special thing about Tina Turner is that she appealed to many generations. In my youth it was the hits of the duo Ike & Tina Turner, but my roommate, who is 35 years younger, also grew up with her hits and she still blares daily (not always to my pleasure) from the ceiling of the supermarket.

The Cotton Tree, the symbol of Sierra Leone and older than the country itself, has also appealed to many generations.

This morning I looked up the meaning of the Krio word, but it wasn't not really necessary anymore, because my timeline is filling up with pictures of the Cotton Tree. Fordom or fodom means "fallen". "Cotton Tree don formdom", the Cotton Tree has fallen. Hit by a storm on Wednesday May 24. 

The tree is first mentioned in 1787, but is older than that. It is "the tree that saw everything" and as long as the tree is there, Sierra Leone exists, is the thought. In 1792, a group of former slaves from America landed here. They walked to the tree that towered high above the shore, gathered around the tree and thanked God for their freedom. They settled on this place and called the city Freetown.

The tree stands in the middle of a busy roundabout and is - or was - surrounded by rather disfiguring political billboards. In 2014 I took a picture of the tree from the car. When we drove up, I immediately recognized this famous symbol of the country.

In January 2021 I wrote a blog [NL, EN] about the tree and the country, ending with : "The Cotton Tree, the symbol of a free people, is therefore not always in bloom and Sweet Salone is still struggling with its acquired freedom".

From my contacts with people in Sierra Leone, I notice that the country is sinking further and further economically and politically. No work, no food, no health care. It makes me very sad. How can I still help my friends? Elections will be held on June 24. Hopefully peacefully and hopefully in the realization that the people have to build the country together. I don't want to know what "Sweet Salone don fordom" means.
Blog 18-01-2021 Cotton Tree:
Nederlands / English

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