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Showing posts with the label civil war

Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

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Schools in Sierra Leone reopened today, having been closed since the Ebola outbreak in July. According to an NPR report, "more than one-third of the 10,000+ deaths have been in Sierra Leone."

When this year's harsh winter closed schools for several days in a row, some parents joked about how grueling it was to be trapped at home with stir-crazy children. Very few of us reading this blog can imagine what it's like to experience nine months of closed schools, especially amid a health crisis claiming thousands of lives.

Not that long ago, in 1991, Sierra Leone faced another horrifying crisis: civil war. A month ago, I had the opportunity to listen to a survivor of that war. Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, was forced to become a soldier in Sierra Leone at the age of thirteen.

Ishmael visited my children's school, where his book is required reading for the ninth graders. Students, teachers, alumni, and parents packed the gym to hear …