Bite of the Mango Isu Log

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By Jared Warren


The second half of “The Bite Of The Mango” featuring Mariatu Kamara

shifts the theme from desperation, fear, suffering, and children at war to the

brighter side of the spectrum, hope, sanctity, and freedom. To jog the memory

the last section of the book ends on a horrifying note, Maritu’s baby, which was

“planted” against her will, died after suffering many common newborn ailments.

The second section starts with Mariatu joining a theatre troupe looking for a way

to express and hopefully relieve her built up anxiety and false guilt over the

recent events involving the newborn. Although this troupe has no real relation to

the rest of the story in terms of main events, it seems to have built her

character, after the event her decisions seem implemented with more

confidence, and the troupe also gives her a light, friendly, social outlet other than

her home at camp. Soon after the play, Mariatu is contacted by a social worker

named Comfort (ironically) and is informed a man named Bill from Canada has

read her story in the paper and wishes to support her. After a brief geography

and history lesson, Comfort informs Mariatu that a package is coming from

Canada with clothes, and money. Mariatu is very excited and hopefully looks

forward to the arrival of the package, and perhaps even the next step, being

brought to Canada by Bill. Weeks go by and the package arrives with what was

stated, nice new western styled clothes and 150,000 leones (50$). She is also

told another, similar package has been sent again, by Bill. However, Mariatu is

contacted once again by a social worker, this time, her name is Yabom. Yabom

informs her that a man in London, named David wishes to fly Mariatu to England,

and enable her with prosthetic hands. Mariatu agrees and leaves for London,

although she has a bad feeling about not informing them about Bill, and her

hopes of Canada. While staying in London, Mariatu is miserable. She is not

enjoying the rain, she feels it is very “grey” and overall, she is uncomfortable.

While waiting for her prosthesis, she explores the sights and attempts to learn

some English. Before her final prosthesis is complete she is given a large, clunky,

metal one which absolutely frustrates her to hell and back. She hates wearing it,

because she feels like a freak and feels she can do better without it. One night,

however, Yabom asks Mariatu who Bill is. Afraid she has been caught she tells

the details of him, and Canada, and in return, is informed Bill wants her to come

to Canada. Mariatu is very pleased and after a small blow-up and an apology to

David Yabom agrees to help her. She flies back to Sierra Leone to get her visitors

visa, and heads out to Canada, this time with Comfort. She immediately falls in

love with the colour, the fresh air, and the friendliness of Canada, and really likes

Bill. She is taken to Kadi and Abou’s house, a couple that is hosting a Sierra

Leonean dinner, and Mariatu feels right at home. However one morning Bill

wakes Mariatu up very early and drives her to Kadi’s house and drops her off

with a hug. Mariatu has a feeling she will never see Bill again, and she is right. It

turns out that Comfort was threatening to take Mariatu back to Sierra Leone if

she couldn’t stay herself. Afraid for her safety, Bill dropped her off in good hands

to protect her. While at Kadi’s, Mariatu goes to school under the ESL program,

and graduates high school with progressively impressive marks. Her story is

spread and she gets a refugee status to stay in Canada. Once she becomes well

off she goes back to Sierra Leone to see her family and bring supplies. To her

shock the locale is in even worse state. The money raised during the war was

kept by the government and now that the war was over,...
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