Thursday, August 12, 2010
A Long Way Gone
This is your first reading assignment. We have been ready a lot in preparation for our sabbatical- notably, White Man's Burden which examines the failure of traditional models of charity in Africa. Maybe we'll report in later or at least update our sidebar.
I also stocked up some books in the Kindle that my folks gave me. Though I love the smell and feel of books, I don't really like packing and hauling them and the Kindle was an awesome gift for this trip. I've uploaded some books on African history and the couple written by Ghanaians that were available to be downloaded. I was eager to begin reading but was automatically drawn to the Gongwer's bookshelves while staying with them in Accra. And that's where I found A Long Way Gone. This memoir was written by Ishmael Beah as the heartbreaking story of his life as a child soldier in Sierra Leone. I cried many times along the way at the horrors of war and Ishmael's tender manner of describing the loss of his family.
Here he quotes his father: "If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen." A comment that mirrors much of what our friends say about the hope that resides in Africans.
It is not an easy read, but an illuminating story of one of the estimated 300,000 AK-47 wielding - and often drug-addicted - child soliders in different conflicts around the world.