Liberian boys faced unbelievable horrors running from forced armed service during the civil war. A comment from Dadob, a viewer of a KSL news story featuring Mitch Weight, weighed-in on his experience working with young Liberian men. Before Mitch’s scheduled trip to Liberia two weeks ago, he met with Jed Boal of KSL News who shared what he learned about Sahbu International. The article, along with a few comments from viewers following the news story, is found here on the KSL website. We recognize that there are many hardships in every community around the world, but we wanted to share Dadob’s comments, as he compares the need in Liberia based on his experience as an American:
“I worked with three twenty-something young men from Liberia, while working as a contractor in Iraq. The stories they told me were astonishing. They all spoke about their youth and a common thread came out. They all lived in different villages on the outskirts of Monrovia.The common thread was their childhood and early teens were full of stories about running from the rebels.
They would come home from school or be playing soccer and the locals in their village had a warning network that would alert them that the rebels were coming.
The young boys in the village would drop what they were doing and take off running, usually in an attempt to make it into the city (Monrovia) to elude capture and forced, armed service for the rebel cause. They would stay days or weeks on their own in the city eating out of trash cans or being helped by the city folk who saw this happen month-after-month and year-after-year; and knew the plight of these children. They all seemed proud of their running abilities, their speed, their stamina and that they could run for hours and not stop.
Jonathan, one of the boys, told me the rebels showed up at his school to take all the boys into service. When the math teacher intervened trying to buy the boys time to run, they shot this man in the head in front of the students and killed him.
Jonathan told me when he returned from the city, they had no more math program at his school. One story told to me, was that he and his friend fled the village but his friend was not as good of a runner as he was. Jonathan watched his friend be captured. (He said they were 10 at the time.) The next time he saw his friend was when the rebels came back and some locals were hiding Jonathan and he saw his best friend walking the streets in fatigues with an AK47. I, knowing nothing about Liberia, was always amazed at their individual stories.
Liberia sees itself as an American state and (the people) are prouder of that than most Americans I know. They have a female President and English was made one of two National Languages. I say anything, and I mean anything, we can do for these people is well deserved. They don’t take our money and try to kill us or threaten us. They are proud to be an American state, if only in their minds.
There are many more horrific stories these guys told me, and I don’t care what inner-city ghetto you claim to hail from, you haven’t seen squat. I’ve lived in the worst L.A. has to offer and these experiences would send “Joe Gangbanger” running home to mommy. I’ll tell you this, just working with these guys, if we are to help out others, let’s help out those that deserve it and have earned it. Liberians are at the top of that list.”
Sahbu is an education connection search tool to help individuals reach their educational goals both in the United States and Liberia.