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Book 26 of 80

April 27, 2010

I’ve wanted to read A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah for a while now. I’m fairly certain it will be devastating. But when choosing a book from Sierra Leone, I had either this one or something about blood diamonds. And I’ve seen the movie Blood Diamond…not a lot of uplifting stuff in that one.

And while this book may not be a raucous fun-filled adventure, that fact that Beah wrote this book while working as a children’s advocate provides a glimmer of hope for these lost children of Africa’s civil wars. According to the book blurb, Beah got caught up in the war as a 12 year-old and then rescued from UNICEF workers at the age of 16. That puts Beah around the age of many of my students. I hurt for many of them and I’m sure I’ll hurt for the pain Beah felt during these years fighting in Sierra Leone.

Most people who have read this book rave about its poignancy.

It also looks like a book I can devour in one or two sittings. So, maybe I’ll break my “one book a week” streak that I’ve for a little bit here.

I will not be breaking my “crying a lot” streak — since in the first 12 pages I have already had to hold back tears during three separate passages. Oy vey — Africa, you’re killing me here!

As a side note, to keep everyone up to speed with my “Giving to Africa”, I found something super cool through World Vision. It’s called Micro (a microfinance project) and it’s an organization that gives loans to people to help them sustain/start up businesses in their country. What is cool about this is that you personally can help fund a loan and then receive email updates about how that person is doing. The website says that most of loans are for women in developing countries that do not have the collateral or financial history for a bank loan. Once that person repays the loan to Micro, your money is then redistributed to help pay for other loans. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. World Vision is one of the best non-profits out there for helping  you experience and see where your money is going and who you, specifically, are helping. One of the countries currently working with Micro is Rwanda — while I won’t read a book from there for a little bit, I’ve decided to help fund a loan through this site.

Is anyone willing to do this with me? Maybe several of us can join together to help someone fund a loan completely! (Most for Rwanda are — fully funded — in the $450-500 range.) Visit the site and check it out for yourself. I’ll post a link tomorrow with the person whose loan I’ve decided to fund. (IF there is solid interest, I can open up a fundraising group — where we can compel each other to fully fund a loan in 30 days.)

I’m really hoping together we can fulfill an entire loan — Around the World readers making a difference! It’s my biggest desire. Thank you, in advance, for considering it!

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