6,525 miles away from my dorm room in Washington DC is Sierra Leone where I grew up. I saw my first murder at 5. The Revolutionary United Fronts came to my house and killed my parents in front of me. In a split of a second my world completely changed. They took me to become a child soldier, and from the age of 5 to 9, I was trained to be a killer instead of going to school. I learned to refill a bullet chamber instead of an ink cartridge. I mastered how to spray walls with lead before I could lather paper with ink. I grew up where the only thing I feared wasn’t God but children high on drugs wielding AK 47’s taller than they were and forced to kill or be killed. I was one of those children. You see, the issue of education is important to me, because education is that which has saved as well as liberated me. It offered me the freedom to explore and share my wartime stories with the world so that others will learn from them. It is my belief that you can give a man the world and that world could crumble, but if you give that man an education he will rebuild his world. I’m passionate about education because it is my desire to learn that has brought me this far.
A few weeks ago, I was accepted into the World Teach Program. As a volunteer, I will spend a year in Colombia teaching English. This was only a was a dream for me, but now, my dream is becoming a reality. I am asking friends, family and professional contacts to help me fund this trip abroad. As part of your donation I will pledge the following: I am currently working on my memoir, which will be published not too long after the completion of my service in Colombia. The first 30 people who donate a minimum of $100, will receive a first edition, signed copy with a personalize note. The first 50 people to donate a minimum of $25 and above will receive a postcard from Colombia. All donations are welcome big or small. I will also be keeping a bi-monthly blog of my trip and the people I meet along the way. Please help this trip become a reality.
As a sign of good faith, below is an excerpt of a chapter I have recently finished working on:
Who am I ? What am I? Am I an object? Or an illusion? Am I visible or invisible? Can you hear me? Can you feel me? Can you see me? Come closer. What do you see? Look beyond my smile or the birth defect on my left cheek that you have so graciously called a cute dimple. Do you see anything else? Focus on my eyes only. Still nothing? No, not the Mohamed that played soccer with or against your kids in high school. You are only looking at the tear film of my eyes, look past that. No, not the Mohamed that went to prom with your daughter, those are the cornea of my eyes. Stay with me. Don’t look at the sclera of my eyes because that will only show you the Mohamed that went to the same University as you or your child, or the Mohamed that raised his hand in your World History 1500-Present class and asked a question about the Berlin Conference of 1884. Wrong Mohamed again. If you are seeing the Mohamed that applied for the same internships or jobs as you, that is because you are only looking at the iris of my eyes. Keep going. What else do you see? Please do not tell me you see the Mohamed that at 13 ½ years of age decided to stay in New York City with $40 in his pocket and thought that was enough to last him a month. Because that would again mean you have now shifted your focus to the lacrimal caruncle of my eyes. You are almost there. Don’t give up quite yet. Just a little bit more until you reach the center. Do you see the black hole? Yes, that’s it, the pupils. Watch closely as it opens up and lets in light. Yes you are right, it’s still dark. That is because no matter how much light is let in, it will always remain dark. The same reason I can’t seem to understand or bring to light a past that is so eerie. It’s easier to explain the things that you can see, but what about the things that are protected by so many layers? How about my past? It’s getting dark and quiet, but continue to watch closely, because my eyes are trying to tell you my story. My pupils are dilating and soon, there will no more light to let in. Don’t be scared of the twilight, for it is only there my story would be told.
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