Alice sits inside the spacious and well-organized town library, where she works from Monday to Saturday. An important collection of books rest behind her on a tall bookshelf, study materials that will help junior secondary school students pass the Basic Examination Certificate Exam (BECE). They include books on English, Krio, Temne, Mende, Limba and other local languages. Other books cover social studies, mathematics, integrated science, literature, plays, home economics, and agriculture. Alice discusses her work and dreams during a break in her duties.
I am employed by the district council, not by the library board, to assist at this branch. My duties are to take attendance and take care of the interior to make sure everything is intact and the place is clean. My work is manageable, but being inside the building for the whole day without spending money to buy snacks or meals is difficult. This should be part of our income to sustain us before the main salary is available.
They pay us late often. Sometimes six months can pass before I receive my salary. I feel strained and unable to buy food at the cookery. This is why my dream is to have my own garden where I can grow crops to eat or sell. Hopefully my farm would grow to a big size, more than one hundred heaps with several yams per heap. If possible maybe two hundred heaps. My garden would include groundnut too.
My dream will come true soon. I know a man in town who has some land for me to rent. The place is now available, but I’ll need to clear it first. I hope to start the project at the end of February once I can hire some field workers from a nearby village. At some point I will save enough money to buy the land for myself.