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Mariatu Kamara lived in the small village of Magborou in Sie
Transcript of Mariatu Kamara lived in the small village of Magborou in Sie
Mariatu Kamara lived in the small village of Magborou in Sierra Leone, Africa. A certain rebel group trying to overthrow the government had been going around and attacking the villages in Sierra Leone. One day while in hiding, Mariatu and a couple of adults were ordered to get a supply of food from their village. Mariatu, who was reluctant to go, was eventually forced to go but what awaited the small group was an attack from the Rebels. In a senseless act of violence, the rebel group burned down the village huts as well as kill the majority of the people there. Although Mariatu managed to keep her life, the Rebels cut off both of her hands as a “message” to the president of Sierra Leone.
Mariatu began her search for help and soon came across a village. A man from that village told her the way to a town called Port Loko where there is a clinic she may be able to be treated at. Once there, the nurses informed Mariatu that her wounds were severely infected and could not be treated there which meant that she would have to go to the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown,but would be transported there safely by soldiers. On a truck heading there is when she reunites with her cousins, Ibrahim and Mohamid, who she discovered also had their hands amputated by the rebels. Although she arrived safely in the hospital in Freetown , she was reunited with another one of her cousins, Adamsay, and is met with shocking news: she was pregnant.
Back to daily life
Mariatu’s wounds began to heal as did her cousins’. They soon took to begging on the streets in front of the hospital for they were poor and they took advantage of the fact that they were still children to earn some money off of passersby. Eventually their wounds had healed enough and they were required to move out of the hospital into a camp in the city,called Aberdeen, made for victims of the war. Their move did not change their daily begging activities.
Not long after moving in to Aberdeen, Mariatu gave birth to her son Abdul. The others went on to beg in the streets as usual but without Mariatu . Unfortunately, due to the environment of the camp and the small amounts of food, Abdul died from malnutrition. Days and weeks of crying and sadness passed. She did not have the strength to do anything until she met Aberdeen’s theatre troupe.
Through the theater troupe and news articles written about her, Mariatu’s story reached a man in Canada. He helped her family with supplies and money that they desperately needed as well as the idea of Mariatu going to Canada to live with him. However, it was only a small idea and a wish which was instead replaced by a move to England.
Mariatu never enjoyed England due to the lack of color in the city and the constant rain. Even though she was lonely and miserable, she was grateful for the opportunity to live a normal life build on it. The first step towards that was getting a pair of prosthetic hands. She tried everyday to get used to them but to no avail. She became easily frustrated with how difficult it was to control them and instead, preferred to use her arms for her daily activities. Long weeks rolled by until she made the final decision of going back to Sierra Leone and taking a chance at going to Canada even if there was a big possibility that she would never be able to leave Sierra Leone again.
After several weeks, her decision paid off and she was officially going to go to Canada and live with Bill. Troubles quickly arose and she instead lived with former Sierra Leoneans, Kadi and Abou. They also had several other children from Sierra Leone living with them because of the war. Everyone quickly took to Mariatu and thought of her as a sister and a daughter. Mariatu began going to school and getting opportunities she never would have gotten had she stayed in Africa.
By then, Mariatu lived without any sort of help from prosthetic hands. However, her new family thought it would be to her benefit to get a new pair anyway. Since those new prosthetics were much more advanced, it also meant it would cost more money. That led to a charity concert to raise enough money for her new hands in which many journalists and media attended.
Due to all of the attention given to her, more people became aware of the serious situation in Sierra Leone. After much thought and encouragement, Mariatu came to the conclusion of writing a book about her story. This new dream became a reality in 2007-2008. She traveled back to Sierra Leone to finish the book and visit her family. Going back gave her more strength and purpose to help her family and other people who have suffered from war. Mariatu is now working as a UNICEF representative to spread awareness around the world.