Komba Sessay, aka Injection, first wandered into the WAYout hub 18 months ago. He had lived on the streets for 12 years. His hand was blown off by a bomb when he was five years old. His mother couldn’t take care of him and he left Kono diamond mining area for Freetown, to fend for himself. He couldn’t carry loads or sweep like many of the street youth do so he stole as his ‘hustle’. The 17 year old, who wandered into WAYout, had no confidence. He kept his arm hidden inside his tattered shirt and stood with his head hung low, waiting to see if anyone would talk to him. It took us a while to find out what he wanted to do but eventually he admitted he had a song written called ‘Diamond Briefcase‘ and he wanted to know if we would record it. We did.
Komba then said he wanted to go and see his mother, who he hadn’t seen since he left Kono, but first he wanted two tracks to take with him. The second track is called ‘Don’t Worry Mama’ and it had a few grown men with a tear in their eye. The chorus was basically- don’t worry mama, I am ok, I will make it one day. WAYout gave him the transport money to get home and he left. He came back 8 weeks later, cliche though it may be, with his head held high. He was so pleased to have seen his mother and his track, ‘Diamond Briefcase’ (featuring Star Geezy), had won a hip hop/rap contest in Kono.
Komba moved from the Central street area to live with the Black Street Family, very near WAYout, and so we started to see him everyday. He nagged us to record a third track and said once he had it he was going back home to his mother. She had seen his potential and decided he should go to school and Komba agreed to that. But he wasn’t going to go without the third track and a video for Diamond Briefcase. Another Black Street member and regular at WAYout, Drama, made the video for him and one afternoon WAYout found itself occupied by respectable, middle aged people who turned out to be Komba’s uncles and aunts who had all come in to see the video. You could see Komba visibly straighten with pride and confidence as they all looked amazed that this one handed, street thief, who had stood in the WAYout doorway only 18 months earlier- barefoot, hungry, ashamed, asking if we would help him- was capable of producing anything at all.
Once again WAYout gave Komba the money for transport back to Kono and he left for his mother’s in September 2013.
Now the story may not end there. Komba may be back. It could be that he doesn’t take to school-finds he has missed too much and it’s a struggle. It could be his mother finds it hard to support him and it could be he misses his friends back in Freetown. That is the nature of the journey off the streets. It is very hard for these young people to know what they want or what will work for them until they try it. But WAYout is used to the bouncing back and forth and finds on each ‘bounce’, there is a little more confidence, a little more direction, a little more likelihood that this time it will work out.