I get this question frequently, especially from my Liberian brothers and sisters. Why write this book? There are many reasons why I wrote the book, here are a few:
I wrote because I didn’t want to forget the story. At some point in my early twenties, I realized that I was beginning to forget the face of my beautiful mother, I began to forget her voice. It alarmed me initially, but I later recognized that it was a natural part of life. We forget things. I realized then, that I needed to start writing the story.
I wrote so the world wouldn’t forget Liberia, my beloved home land, where so many atrocities took place, where so many lives were lost, where so much happened. My urge to write grew out of a sense that the world would soon forget what happened in Liberia. The story needed to be told, and retold in order for it to survive in the memories of generations.
I wrote to give a bit of hope to Liberians and to those wanting to make a difference in Liberia. The book gives a window into Liberian culture and history for those who are thinking of making viable contributions to countries like Liberia who are moving through post war reconstruction. I wrote because, in my mind’s eye, I always see Liberia as what it could be.
I wrote to express sympathy and solidarity with those who are refugees around the world today. Hope is hard to find in a refugee camp. Hope is difficult to see when you are uprooted from the only home you’ve ever known. As refugees, we lost family, property, financial stability. Yet the unseen cost of war are much more, the loss of dignity, sense of belonging and independence.
I wrote to share what the Gospel of Jesus Christ did to change me. I went from an angry, often introverted, apathetic young man, to a joyful, purposeful and forgiving man. Only understanding the good news of forgiveness through Jesus could have set me on the path that I am on today. It is still difficult to express fully, but there is no denying that something changed me.
I wrote to bring awareness in the western world about war, beyond the newscasts and our social media newsfeeds. The plight of refugees is distant to many in the west and a story like mine helps put a face to the struggle of millions of people around the world. I also wrote on behalf of the most vulnerable in war, the children. Catching Ricebirds is a story of a boy who survived war, came to the west as a refugee and was drastically changed through the gospel of Jesus. I made a decision to never forget those who were hurt by war and the aggressors who hurt us. We all need healing.