After a horrific and evil occurrence, such as the Sierra Leonean war, come generous organizations that prove that humanity can be restored. A Long Way Gone and The Bite of the Mango illustrate amazing survival stories of two twelve-year-old children during the war. Ishmael Beah is forced to become a child soldier and commit horrific acts of violence. Mariatu Kamara gets raped and pregnant by her neighbor and gets her hands cut off by rebels. With help from The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), Kamara and Beah are able to escape the terror of Sierra Leone and start new lives. While Kamara has a negative attitude towards the social workers and organization representatives who are trying to help her, Beah is very grateful. Although Kamara and Beah are given similar opportunities to improve their lives after the war, Kamara shows herself to be less appreciative of them.
UNICEF is a United States funded organization that provides health care and immunizations, clean food and water, emergency relief, and other services to save and improve the lives of children (Marketwired 1). By age 16, UNICEF removes Beah from the front lines of the war. He is taken to a rehabilitation center that attempts to put an end to his violent nature. It takes him a while to get used to being off the drugs that were given to him by his commanders; however, Beah recovers with the assistance of the patient staff and nurses. He is a prime example of how child soldiers can return to a normal life once they are removed from conflict and receive help and treatment from groups specializing in protecting children (Felton 1). If it were not for UNICEF, Beah would not have been able to regain his humanity, let alone escape the war.
Beah meets a social worker from Children Associated with War (CAW) named Leslie at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown. Leslie offers Beah some news that will change his life forever:
“This is important.” He studied the pad he held in his hand and continued. “There is an interview for two children to be sent to the United Nations in New York, in America, to talk about the lives of children in Sierra Leone and what can be done about it. Mr. Kamara, the director of your former rehabilitation center, recommended that you go for the interview. Here is the address, if you are interested.” He tore the paper off and handed it to me. (Beah 185)
Beah gets the opportunity to travel to America to tell his story. Even though he is not used to such a cold and different environment like New York, he does not complain because he knows how lucky he is to be there. When he gets back to Freetown, Beah reflects on his trip and keeps contact with an NGO facilitator named Laura Simms in New York who later adopts him. Beah is open-minded and realizes how fortunate he is to have the ability to leave a war torn country.
ECOMOG is a military operation...