I came to the United States because there was a civil war in my country of Sierra Leone in West Africa. I came here for medical attention as a result of injuries sustained during this war. The government army rebels, a mercenary group, raided my home and burned it down. Then, after they had burned my home down, they caught me and chopped off my left hand and part of my right arm was cut off with a pick ax. I was fourteen years old when this terrible thing happened to me. Consequently, about one month later, my family and I were moved to an amputee camp, which was set up by a relief group because we were homeless.
Unfortunately, I was very ill and close to death. Since my parents didn’t have the money to take me to the hospital, my condition grew even worse. I had a very bad bone infection in my hand and leg; there wasn’t any medicine to cure my infection, and without immediate medical attention, I would have died. One day, a gentleman named Matthew Merones read about our civil war and the problems our people were having. He makes prostheses and decided to bring some of the children from the amputee camp where we were staying to Staten Island, New York to make us prostheses. I was one of the six fortunate children.
I arrived in the USA on September 21, 2000. Therefore, I came to the USA because I was injured in our civil war, and I needed immediate medical attention.
This essay beat out others to get published in Oakland Community College’s Speakeasy VII, A Journal of the Creative Arts.
Related Stories: Of Terror and Triumph: Journey from Sierra Leone, Part 1
Of Terror and Triumph: Journey from Sierra Leone, Part 2
A Conversation with Mariama Conteh-Elliott