Ishmael Beah a Long Way Gone

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Reconnecting with rap and reggae music during his rehabilitation at Benin Home is no small point Beah makes. Listening to Run-D.M.C., one of the early pioneers of new school hip hop (It’s Like That, - {That’s Just the Way It Is} ) was a bridge to artists, beats and rhymes Beah’s childhood rap and dance group enjoyed and performed, such as Eric B and Rakim (I Know You Got Soul). This bridge became a link between fond memories of pre-war childhood and being able to increasingly live more fully in the present. After about five months at the center, Beah was returning more quickly to his former self. Beah’s creative juices started flowing. At an event for the center, he delivered a monologue from Julius Caesar followed by a performance of a play he wrote with Esther’s encouragement about the redemption of a former child soldier. This helped to make Beah admired at the center and the director, Mr. Kamara asked him if he would be willing to become a spokesperson for the center. A week later, he was speaking at events in Freetown about ending child soldiering and the role of rehabilitation. “ ‘We can be rehabilitated,’ I would emphasize, and point to myself as an example. I would always tell people that I believe children have the resilience to outlive their suffering, if given a chance.” After eight months in Benin Home, Ishmael Beah was repatriated back into society and went to live with his uncle from his father’s side of the family, a carpenter in Freetown. His uncle and wife and four children welcomed him with open arms and Beah went to live in their home. From the verandah, there was a beautiful view of the city and the ships in the harbor. He kept in touch with Esther and Leslie and was reunited with his childhood friend Mohamed. He also resumed school, St. Edward’s Secondary School in Freetown. Life was returning to normal and long talks with his uncle and routine family life were restorative. In a competitive process, Beah was selected to serve as a...
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