Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah is about women, a beautiful topic and about storytelling; another beautiful topic emerged in a horrendous scene. “Imperi was attacked on a Friday afternoon when everyone had returned from the market, from farms, and from school, to rest at home and pray.” Imperi is a town that was wiped out, caught up in its nations strife and warfare led by child soldiers. Imperi may be short for Imperial. Three elders, two men and a woman return to the carnage many years later to gather the bones and rebuild their homes and remember those lost, which is nearly everyone. Seven years later survivors return to Imperi from all over and travel for days to make the homeward journey. Tragedies are seen but not talked about. Orphans become the family of the childless elders. New families are made and original owners or new ones occupy the old homes when the building remains unclaimed. Even some child soldiers are among the new community and join the new guardians of the village.
“Good morning was sleep generous to you and your family? Has the world greeted you kindly this morning…?” was a morning greeting recited by two young children as they walked with their father around the village. Things had changed and this old greeting was met with silence, unlike the old days, before the war when it began stories of dreams and expectations. When we have to rebuild a village, we must start with education. This is the great lesson we have learned from war-ravaged lands and about the refuges. There must be a school to provide stability, consistency, safety, and learning for displaced children and to guarantee the future of that village. That is what happens in Imperi, a school and even an after school is created to help the village rebuild.
The village changes because of the mine and Imperi is lost to the mine. Going the city isn’t any better. This is a story of hope in a country that is hopeless. The people are lost to the corruption and to those who sell themselves. And no one is there to help. What a sad tale of woe.