Sunday, October 7, 2007

Week three; part one
A Long Way Gone
By: Ishmael Beah
Week three; part one

1. The boy’s travels got long. Each of them desperately wants their families to be with them. Through all of the almost-deaths that they have survived, their minds are slowly dying. Although their life was mostly filled with fear and anger, they have had some good times too, including the time they went hunting. They assisted one village in their hunting, and then joined in a ceremony at night. They left the next morning with a gallon of water and meat to eat later. They often told stories to keep each other entertained. Sleeping was never easy for Ishmael. He is always fighting memories of times with his family, like his naming ceremony, or other joyful events in his previous life. Every boy that Ishmael was traveling with had lost their families in Mattru Jong when the rebels attacked. The boys, unable to sleep in the scary night, decided to walk at night and take turns sleeping during the day. At night, when they were walking they heard footsteps and immediately hid in the brush. When the men left, the boys found Saidu, their friend, passed out. Waking up shortly after, he still gave the boys quite a scare. The next village they arrived in had great news for all of them, especially Ishmael. Someone in the town recognized Ishmael, and told him that his family, mom, dad, and brothers, were in the next town. She said that many families from Mattru Jong fled there, so they all had a good chance of finding their families. The boys stayed the night in the village, with plans to leave early the next morning. But when they woke up, they found Saidu lifeless. They buried him before leaving to find their families. They were approaching the town when they came across Gasemu, a family friend of Ishmaels from Mattru Jong. Gasemu asked the boys to help him carry bananas to the village. As they were walking, Gasemu told Ishmael that his family was there, and praying for his safety and to see him. They got to the border of the village, when guns started going off. They found the village completely destroyed, with no sign of Ishmael’s family, and no sign of survivors or of someone escaping. Ishmael blamed not seeing his family on Gasemu, and took out his anger physically on him, and then all of them started to fight. But once they heard footsteps of rebels coming to see their destruction, they all hid. With one little movement from the boys, the rebels started shooting at them. Running as fast as they could to escape the bullets, Gasemu got hit, but had to keep running. As soon as the rebels stopped shooting, they assisted Gasemu, who told them what path to take to get to safety, then died shortly after.
2. Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980. In 1991, Sierra Leone became involved in a devastating civil war. Ishmael’s family was killed along with many others, while he was captured to become a boy soldier in 1993. He fought for three years when he was finally saved and put into a rehabilitation home and given a foster home in New York. Ishmael finished high school, then completed his Bachelor of arts and political science at Oberlin college.

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