Staring 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)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fined a Pomeroon coconut company $1 million for dumping shells and husks into the tributaries of the Pomeroon River.Charity wharf which sits on the Pomeroon riverFat Boy Coconut Ventures, which is managed by Alphonso and Sons Enterprise, has reportedly dumped an estimated 15,000 coconut shells into the canals that flow into the Pomeroon River.Residents along the communities in the Pomeroon River have condemned the daily dumping of the shells and husks. As such, the EPA has been called in to address the issue for the past two years.The shells and husks are a major contributor to flooding and more so, it poses a hazard to the waterways, since residents rely on the river for their livelihood.Officers of the EPA had since visited the area and had warned of the consequences if they do not desist from dumping the waste.This reportedly continued and as such, the sanctions were imposed. The company has agreed to pay the fine within 30 days, which comes to an end on July 31.The company has now embarked on a new initiative to recycle the coconut shells. This comes weeks after the agency hosted a two-day meet the public event which was specially organised in recognition of the fact that most of the agency’s business was conducted by business persons and complainants.The event was part of the agency’s 23rd anniversary celebration and the World Environment Day and was deemed a huge success since more than one hundred people visited the booth and interacted with agents of the EPA.The EPA, as the country’s leading regulatory agency, has the responsibility to ensure that the public is informed about environmental issues to promote public participation in matters of environmental management and biodiversity conservation.