A Long Way Gone

By Laurina Wong

Sierra Leone

Has anyone read, “A Long Way Gone” by Ishmael Beah?  If you haven’t, I highly recommend it.  It’s about a young soldier boy trying to survive in the midst of war-torn Sierra Leone in the early 1990’s. It’s the first book I’ve read in months, and I can’t seem to put it down!  The story reminds me of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, except much more grotesque and with enough shock to numb all senses of compassion.  Oh, and it’s non-fiction.

As I turned the pages of the book, I no longer saw people as living beings with feelings and emotions; rather, I began to see them as mere objects placed on Earth who could be trampled on and had their lives easily terminated without any regard. The pains of the victims and the cries of the dying slowly faded into the background as I became engrossed with the fate of the author.

Imagine how it must be for the author and other Sierra Leoneans who were growing up during the war. How it must feel, growing up in an environment where rampant violence and a blatant disregard for lives are tolerated. No one should have to grow up in an environment where people have no empathy for one another.  After reading this book, I realized how fortunate we were to grow up in the United States, and was inspired to lend a helping hand to a country torn apart by a civil war.

After reading this book, I looked through UniversalGiving’s website and saw many donation opportunities relating to helping Sierra Leone. For example, for as little as $10, you can supply a mosquito bed net to save a child from dying from malaria. Or, you can also donate as much as you want to sponsor a disabled children’s home/orphanage and the funds will go towards providing shelter, food, education and healthcare for the children. Just how empowering is that, knowing that you are in a position to help, especially after reading a book on the war-torn country.

UniversalGiving offers many more volunteering and donation opportunities pertaining to Sierra Leone. Just click on our site and take a look! Which one looks most interesting to you?

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