Why is the value of an object not fully appreciated until its gone?
When I returned from my three years in the Peace Corps, I had many artifacts and memorabilia. But with retirement and downsizing in my future, I began to unload some of my treasures that I had kept for almost 50 years. One was a goatskin handbag that I purchased for about $3 in Bamako, Mali in 1972. I proudly carried it on my West Africa vacation that included a riverboat journey up the Niger River. The memories of that adventure are as vivid as the ornate silver inlay on that door in Timbuktu.
About 8 years ago I parted with many artifacts at my garage sale including my goatskin handbag. The $10 in my hand was a meaningless reward for that handmade gem that carried my soul across West Africa. I was left with mixed emotions – happy with more space in my closet, yet empty with only this photo as a treasured memory.
Then Friends of Liberia (FOL), a non profit organization, held an auction of treasures collected from those who lived and worked in Africa. My heart skipped a beat, when low and behold, there was a handbag – just like mine.
Memories flooded my mind of that famous journey: when I was nearly abandoned by the riverboat in Timbuktu, flew on a plane with an open cook fire, escorted by two soldiers with AK47s as they deported me from Niger, and so many other adventures. Without hesitation, I snatched up that precious handbag…for just $35.
I have displayed it as it should be – in its museum-like shadow box. It has found its home in my Internationally-decorated office. I guarantee you, I won’t let this one go!!! Its priceless.