Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mariatu Kamara - The Bite of the Mango

I first came across Ms. Kamara's book via the condensed version in the December 2009 Reader's Digest. Make no mistake, this is an extremely disturbing story. Be forewarned that if you read it and become aware of what happened to Ms. Kamara, and to many others in Sierra Leone and elsewhere, you may never again be able to live in ignorance of the human suffering that exists in the world.

I won't repeat the story, in part because it is very troubling and in part because you should read it as told by Ms. Kamara herself. She deserves the royalty. The book is for ages 14 and up and is intended, in part, for high school students, although it is also very much for adults. To read the story in her own words also allows the tremendous and unqualified triumph of the human spirit that is Mariatu Kamara to shine through.

According to reports I have read, Ms. Kamara is presently studying to be a counselor to people who have suffered as children from the atrocities of war. She is also a Special Representative for UNICEF and speaks to audiences and schools about her experiences.

For myself, reading this story brought home the realization that I have, over the years, missed opportunities to help and to give compassion to those who so need it. I wish I knew 30 years ago what I know now after reading the story of this beautiful and remarkable woman. Buy the book and donate it to your child or grandchild's school library. And, don't miss an opportunity to speak out for human rights, justice, and compassion!

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