Sierra Leone attack survivor dies in Kansas at age 21

Sierra Leone attack survivor dies in Kansas at age 21

Family members and friends, a few kneeling but most standing, wiped tears from cheeks chilled by the cold November air. Slowly, a growing blanket of dirt obscured the body, along with the sunflowers and red roses they dropped on it with love from above.A lifetime ago, Sierra Leone rebels had gashed open his 2 year old skull with a machete and cut a line across the back of his neck, trying to sever his head from his torso. They left him for dead at the edge of his village.Surviving became the first miracle. Living for several years with a hole in his skull that exposed his brain to grave danger became a second.Then in 2001, an American missionary rescued him from a war survivor camp. On the flight to America, the missionary had held a sleeping Salifu on his lap, the streak of a tear still visible on the boy cheek, as they flew toward Kansas City and surgeons who could extend his life by sealing that hole.So many times over the years, it seemed, adults had carried Salifu to safety.anyone had a right to self pity, it was Sal, an uncle, Bill Miller, said as dirt became a mound over the grave Wednesday in a wooded section of a Lawrence cemetery. he never was burdened by his circumstances. scannable fake id fact, for some time Salifu had been carrying others. Not physically, necessarily, but through his quiet way of showing others how to live right, how to make everyone feel special.In grade school, he had been the one to let the teacher know when a classmate was having a bad day. In middle school, he had befriended children others saw as outcasts.Not long ago, the part time community college student and full time automotive worker had promised to buy his mother a fancy car.Just when it seemed Salifu had grown big and mature enough to carry everyone, he left them instead.About 16 years ago, missionary Lonny Houk left his Raymore home to scour refugee camps and villages in Sierra Leone for children his Christian charity Feed My Lambs International could help.Among the many he spotted was Salifu Sesay, then about 4, a sweet little boy with a great big smile.When Houk returned to Africa months later to bring three children back to Kansas City on yearlong medical visas, he didn expect to make Salifu one of the three. But Houk couldn find a girl he had intended to rescue.Accompanied by a Kansas City Star reporter and photographer who chronicled exit challenges that lasted for weeks, Houk slipped cash into the hands of key government officials for paperwork to take the children from a country torn by a decade of civil war. fake id At that point, the capital of Freetown had become home to 300,000 refugees, 15,000 amputees, 2,500 abandoned children and more than 2,000 rape victims.Houk picked Salifu; a 14 year old girl, Hawa Kargbo, whose hands had been chopped off; and a 10 year old boy, Francis Ngandor, with severely burned arms and hands. All needed types of surgeries unavailable in West Africa.The day Houk needed to have final travel documents signed, gunfire echoed down Freetown streets. Rebels were attempting to break prisoners out of the jail.As people ran and screamed, Houk and the journalists heard bullets splat stucco walls of a nearby government building. Houk swept up Salifu in his arms. The newspaper reporter grabbed Francis. Everyone ran. fake drivers license Later that afternoon, still jittery from the day experiences, they finally reached the airport, paperwork in hand, and began a series of fights to Kansas City.In Olathe, Ann Vanasse waited.After seeing a poster about the medical missions and studying photographs Houk laid out in front of her, she had agreed to take in a girl, Emma, and a boy, Francis. They would live with her, her husband and their kids while going through surgeries and recovery before flying back to Africa about a year later.Instead of Emma, Salifu came off the plane on March 15, 2001.Vanasse who now goes by the last name Miller still remembers seeing him for the first time, clad in red shorts and black flip flops.She gathered him into her arms.life was never the same after that, she said.Early on, Salifu and Francis ate like they never would see food again, a result of hungry days in Africa. They could down six eggs and three to four cups of rice at a time.Those early days included lots of doctor visits. fake identity websites Eventually, Francis went to live with another family.A neurosurgeon at the University of Kansas Hospital repaired Salifu skull. A plastic surgeon worked on his forehead scar.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.