Friday, August 12th, 2011
“Everyone calls me ‘Ma,’ even the older folks, because I am a giver. I feed the hungry and help the needy. When you need help or a small loan, I don’t have money to give a big loan, you come to me.
“If you need me, you will find me vending on the streets in D.C. I have been out here almost every day since since 1988. I never thought I would get into vending, or even be in this country, but God has his reasons for putting me here.
“I am from Sierra Leone in West Africa and came here for a wedding on January 19, 1986. I was a teacher in Sierra Leone from a wealthy family. My father was filthy rich and worked as a distributor for Coca-Cola, beer, and other things. He had 40 children with eight wives, and he took care of us all. And, don’t think that is a lot because my grandfather had 50. I tell you, we in Africa are blessed!
“After the wedding, I decided to stay. Actually, I didn’t decide to stay, one thing led to another thing, you know how those things go, and I stayed. I know that God wanted me to stay here because he has a plan for every soul. I started working as a nurse, and then my sister who lives here got me vending. See, I have nine brothers and sisters here, and many of us are vendors. Just as God made the lawyers, the doctors, and the carpenters, he made the vendors.
“I started on 16th and L St. After 16 years there, the rents went up in the buildings and people starting moving away. It was bad for my business, so I started looking around for a new place. A friend of mine from Sierra Leone, told me about the Eastern Market Metro. I came here, but my friends on 16th Street were sad. They begged me to come back. I miss them all, and go back and visit my old friends who would buy from me, but I am happy here. I know that God wanted me to be in this spot.
“Now, I just feel so blessed everyday. While I was born a Muslim, I gave my life to Christ when I met the Mormons. They showed me my calling, which is to be a blessing to others and to be open to blessings from others. See, I am not worried about the world or the economy, I am just so happy to open my eyes every morning in this beautiful country.
“You see, America is the chosen land. This country feeds the world and heals the sick. I don’t care who will try and mess up America, they will not succeed. Do you know how many people are praying for America here and abroad? You will never defeat the prayer of so many.
“I feel blessed that I was one of the chosen few who could come to this country and live in Washington. And so, I try and be a blessing to others every day. That is why I give away everything that I have to those who need, and use my cart as a way to help and feed people.
“While people may call me ‘Ma,’ I am the one who feels blessed to have so many people out here who love and take care of me.”