Recapping Her Return

first_imgStaring at a scene she had never seen before, the realization of what was happening and about to happen in her life hit her like a blow.”Oh God, I can’t handle this. I want to go home,” Tina Swen mourned.On November 2014, Tina landed on the soil of Liberia after spending19 years of her life in America. Now 20 years-old and in total ignorance to Africa and its culture; Tina knew that her life was now over.According to the tall and athletic basketball player, when she was 14 years of age, she had a friend she had known for a very short period that would change her life forever. Because of that friend she says she has left her comfort zone and now finds herself back in Africa.”I told her that I’d always have her back, so she used me into getting even with old enemies, which led me into doing time and eventually getting sent back,” Tina said, shrugging her shoulders.It seems as if Tina’s memory of her childhood friend still haunts her. You can see the tears catching in the corner of her eyes when she has to recall her story.”She ruined my life eternally. Now I am here in the middle of nowhere, around people I don’t know nor understand,” she says in confusion.Tina spent 10 years in jail for assault, she says; and though she learned her lesson behind bars, she thinks there’s still another lesson to learn.” I spent too much time behind bars to know if I’ve truly changed. The real lesson at hand is being back here in the middle of nowhere. What will I do, who will look out for me; how will I survive,” she asked.A challenge that many deportees face when returning back home is not having stability. Some become so fruastrated with their siuation that they relapse and fall victim to crime, violence and drugs.”I don’t know what’s going to happen to me tomorrow, let alone after this interview is done. When you’re gone and I’m faced with loneliness, I guess I have to do what I gotta do to survive out here,” she suggested.As of now, there aren’t any safe homes for deportees or returnees who return back to Liberia. According to Tina, she was not given any money by Homeland security upon her release at the airport.”I don’t have anything, only a few bar’s of soap, lotion and the clothes I wore to go to court following 10 years of jail term. I’m depending on you to help me find a home cause without you, I’m done; lost,” she said, tears streaming down her face.Meanwhile, Tina says after going through what she has been through in the past 10 years of her life, she has a lot of psychological difficulties.”I was 14 years-old when I went to prison and it was in there that I got raped, turned out and inititated into lesbianism. I left my girl back home who took care of me and even brought me the things that I came back here with,” Tina added, ” People saw me at the airport and called me all kinds of names because of how I look and act. It’s disturbing being out here, I’ll need help to cope with this,” she said.Tina’s future is unclear and knowing how to trace her relatives has become a problem. In 1990 she says, her mother was reported missing after she stopped communicating with her relatives abroad.”When we came to America in the 80s, my mom used to call us all the time, along with my older brother. But around 1990, the calls stopped coming and we never heard from them again,” she said, adding that “…when I got locked up, well, my father turned his back on me because he was scared immagration would deport him because of my behavior.”Tina stands alone, dressed in a pair of baggy jeans, a prison t-shirt and a head full of braided hair, Tina needs help.” I’m looking all around this place hoping that someone will look into my eyes and see the good in me and take me in. For the past week, I’ve been sleeping around the airport in a shed with this old lady. I pay her but this is’nt life. I paid for the crime I committed and did 10 years of my life behind bars. Why am I doing time all over again? Why am I back here?” she wailed.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

€1,500 DONATIONS ORDERED FOR DUO IN ‘GAY SHIRT’ NIGHTCLUB PUNCH-UP

first_imgTWO men who fought inside a Co Donegal nightclub in a row over a ‘gay shirt’ have been ordered to hand over €750 each by a judge.One of the men suffered a broken jaw and the other man bruising after a punch-up at The Grill in Letterkenny on August 15, 2012.Both had contested charges against them at a previous hearing at Letterkenny District Court. The court heard an investigation was launched when Michael McDevitt, Drury Road, Kerrykeel, made a formal complaint of assault to officers at Letterkenny on August 24, 2012.He had suffered a serious blow in the incident nine days earlier and was later transferred from Letterkenny General Hospital to Altnagelvin in Derry where he underwent surgery to repair a broken jaw.A metal plate and six bolts had to be inserted into his jaw.Adam O’Donnell, a 22-year-old apprentice toolmaker from Castlewray, Letterkenny, later admitted punching McDevitt, but insisted it was in self defence, and only to protect his younger brother Mark who had been accosted by McDevitt who had made references to his clothes and his “gay shirt.”After hearing evidence from both men, Judge Paul Kelly convicted McDevitt of disorderly conduct in a public place, relating to his comments to Mark O’Donnell.He also convicted both McDevitt and Adam O’Donnell on assault charges, the latter on assault causing harm.Inspector Michael Harrison told the trial that on the evidence given to the court it was clear that Adam O’Donnell saw that his brother was frightened and he went to look after him.Michael McDevitt was throwing insults at the young man Mark, he said, and his brother went over and intervened and an altercation took place.Judge Paul Kelly agreed. He said the disorder in a public place – the insults to Mark O’Donnell – was proved.He said there was some type of lunge by McDevitt on Adam O’Donnell in which he received a minor injury. Adam had retaliated resulting in life-changing injuries for Mr McDevitt, a 20-year-old driver with Marine Harvest in Kerrykeel.Judge Paul Kelly said the incident was started by McDevitt “who must have been in a state of considerable intoxication” having consumed two pints of bulmers  and a half a bottle of vodka before going to The Grill and then six vodkas and two Jagemeisters on the premises.“He subjected Mark O’Donnell to extremely offensive insults and his brother Adam had intervened. The incident escalated almost instantly and I am satisfied they struck each other,” said the judge.Today ‘favourable’ probation reports were handed in to Judge Kelly.Solicitors Niall Sheridan, for O’Donnell, and Ciaran McLaughlin for McDevitt, pleaded that both men had suffered as a result of the incident.They asked that no conviction be recorded and that the men be given a chance.Both men did not want the other to “suffer any further punitive” actions, said Mr Sheridan.Judge Paul Kelly said the fight was “an all too common tale around here.”He added: “The Courts are constantly dealing with cases fuelled by drink where young men get too much on board and the next thing there is violence and serious injury.”The judge said the courts would always deal in a certain way with young men on first offences but that both of them had contested the charges at a trial.However he said in the circumstances he would order each man to pay €750 into court.He said €250 would be used to pay State expenses in the case and €500 would be donated to the Donegal Youth Service.Judge Kelly ordered that the fees be paid by September 15 and that both men should appear in court again on that date.€1,500 DONATIONS ORDERED FOR DUO IN ‘GAY SHIRT’ NIGHTCLUB PUNCH-UP was last modified: June 16th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Adam O’DonnellassaultLetterkenny CourtMichael McDevittThe Grilllast_img read more