Monday, February 29, 2016

Snapshot 4 - Matthew Glenn

Music has always been a big part of my life. It is a way to express yourself, no matter how you are feeling. If the emotion in a song is strong enough, it is absolutely mood changing. Behind every song there is a story being told. Some are easy to be found, others take some time. Growing up it seemed that music was always playing. For me it is a way to clear my head, a stress reliever, gives me a better understanding of things and is a motivator. To narrow down my favorite type of music would be impossible. I listen to all kinds, as long as it sounds great.

The artist that has been imbedded into my head forever is Sarah McLachlan. Not because she is my favorite artist, but more because of a certain song. The reason for her specifically is because the emotion she conveys through her music. I was fourteen years old when I had first heard her music and it came over me like a ton of bricks. Before then, I don't remember hearing her, but I am sure I had.

When I was fourteen, my grandfather passed away after battling a great deal of illnesses. He was a very great man and accomplished many things, before his time was cut short. At his funeral there were many songs played, but the one that caught my attention the most was "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan. I remember sitting in a crowded room, but this song sounded as if it was blaring. To be honest it is the best and the worst song I have ever heard. It sounds the way velvet feels, but at the same time it makes me cringe because it's a reminder of a horrible time. The lyrics say "in the arms of the angel, fly away from here, from this dark cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear, you are pulled from the wreckage, of your silent reverie, you're in the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort here". Those lyrics are important to me because it describes the way my grandfather felt before his time was up. He had been ill for a while and he sensed he was not going to recover. His illness felt endless and he was ready to go when the time came because he wasn't comfortable any longer.

Sarah McLachlan preforming "Angel"

Alex Abrams- Snapshot 4 on Music or Poetry

Growing up I always turned to music. Music helped me understand life perspectives. I have always looked at music as poetry whether it rhymed or not. Every song has a meaning whether people don't like it or not. It was really hard to pick what type of music I like. I am the type of person to listen to everything. I have a very wide range of music I listen to. If the music and words make me feel the rhythm in my heart, then I will listen to it forever. I listen to different artists from Pink Floyd to The Ronettes and Elvis Presley to Three Days Grace. I am not picky what so ever. I love all music. It has made such an impact on my life.

One particular person that I remember listening to growing up was Conway Twitty. Conway has one of the best tones I have ever heard. His voice flutters like a butterflies wings. The way he changes his volume in different parts of his music really makes a person sit back in their seat. He is one of my all time favorite singer with the wonderful memories beginning with my papa and I.

From the time I was in diapers, my papa (grandpa) would sing to me. He still sings to me and I just enjoy every moment of it. I remember one song that usually got stuck in my head more than others which was "Before The Next Teardrops Falls". My papa is and will always be my shoulder to cry on. He can be stubborn and make funny faces with his dentures taken out, but he has made such a huge impact in my life. The lyrics in this song mean, no matter what heart break comes and goes, that special person will always be there to pick you back up. That special person will always be there during these heartbreaking moments. When I would cry, my papa would always make things better by singing to me. He would always tell me, "Whoever broke your heart is stupid." After laughter's he would always just let me cry and let me know that he will always be there before the next teardrop falls. Like we always say, "There is no cure for stupid." Here are some lyrics that still make me teary eye till this day.

Meaningful lyrics to the song, Before The Next Teardrop Falls 

"It's your happiness that matters most of all"

"I'll be there before the next teardrop falls."

"And if he ever leaves you blue, just remember that I love you."

These lyrics basically tell the song. It is such a beautiful song. You can be a special person to anyone. You could be a friend, a sister/brother, aunt/uncle, boyfriend/girlfriend, or in my case, you could be a papa. This song has so much meaning although it has very few lyrics. I hope you enjoy the song and actually listen to the lyrics. Below is the link of the song. Enjoy (:

My papa sounds just like him. It is crazy! 

Matthew Rimmer Snapshot 4: Music or Poetry (Music for me)

The type of music that means the most to me would honestly be Christian Rock music. More specifically the Christian Rock band Skillet. The reason this type of music and this band means the most to me is because I feel as if I can truly relate their songs to my life. Whenever I needed to “escape” from everyone/everything I would plug in my earbuds to listen to Skillet with the volume turned up all the way and block out the world around me.
To be completely honest I like every song that Skillet has produced. As a result it is really hard for me to pick just one song of theirs to discuss. However, since I can only discuss one I want to try and pick one that I think will land a good impression. The one song that I have chosen to discuss will be, One Day Too Late (which I have provided a lyric video to you , doesn't belong to me though, if you want to give it a listening shot This song is one of my top favorites and I chose it because I strongly believe in the meaning to this song (which just the title alone should give it away). To be straight forward I think all of the lines are important.  But if I had to pick and choose the lines that means the most they would be the following.
Tick tock hear the clock countdown,Wish the minute hand could be rewound
Feel the moment slip into the past, Like sand through an hourglass
Make a change, make the world a better place, Cause tomorrow could be one day too late
Tick tock hear my life pass by, I can't erase and I can't rewind
Your time is running out, You're never gonna get it back, Make the most of every moment, Stop saving the best for last
The reason I find these lines to mean the most are because they really sum up the meaning to the song. The main reason why this song is one of my favorites and why I chose to discuss it is because it speaks the truth. Tomorrow really could be one day too late and we never seem to give that fact a second thought. We as people ignorantly say “oh there’s always tomorrow” but tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to us and we don’t really seem to realize/understand that. Anything can happen at any moment to snatch tomorrow away from us.
So I made it my ritual to listen to this song every morning.
This is the Christian Rock Band Skillet. They are 99% of what I listen to in all honesty. I recommend giving them a try.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Journal 6 by Kendell Miller

     Other than Ishmael, Uncle Tommy is who i think is the most important character. I think that he is the most important because of his huge impact on Ishmael life. This is shown when Tommy dies. You see how much Tommy's life and death really impacted Ishmael. Tommy is the one who, I think, really made Ishmael into who he was. The walks that Ishmael and Tommy made Ishmael want to open up about his past and what he'd been through.
     I think that Ishmael's rehabilitation is amazing. When he first arrived to Benin Home he was very violent and dangerous. But by the time he got out you didn't see an evidence of that violence. Even when the fighting hits Freetown he mentions that he can't go back to what he used to be. He didn't see himself as a soldier anymore he saw himself as a civilian. He didn't want to go back to what he used to be so he left. When given the choice to go back to what he had previously known he chose to move on. He chose to not be that violent person anymore.
     The main thing I learned from this book is that you can really move on from anything. You can recover from even the worst of situations. Ishmael lost his family and his childhood and he still recovered. He didn't turn back to the violent life that he had once loved. He decided to move on and become someone completely different, someone better. "I had to leave, because I was afraid that if I stayed in Freetown any longer, I was going to end up being a soldier again or my former friends would kill me if I refused" (Beah 209).
     I liked the story told at the end of the book but I wish that it would have ended differently. I wish that Ishmael would continue to tell if how his life was when he got to New York. I would also like to know what happened to his family back in Freetown. What happened to his aunt and his cousins.
     I learned outside the book that Ishmael had another book and that he works with UNICEF which are the people that once helped him.

Journal 6 Miranda

The most important character in the book besides Ishmael was Gasemu, his childhood friend. Gasemu was a brother to him and they fought together through the war always checking in on each other to ensure no fatal injuries or harm had done. Page ninety-nine is where they say goodbye to each other as Gasemu was badly injured in battle and lost large amounts of blood. Ishmael states "For a few minutes I tried to imagine what it felt like for Gasemu when his fingers vibrated to let the last air out of his body" Showing that Ishmael was trying to understand what Gasemu was feeling when he died. This was the end of his innocence and childhood, this is when he began to not trust the world because he's seen what it does.

I feel that Ishmael is being rehabilitated as he is learning how to trust again by trusting Esther, and being able to go to America and having the opportunity to speak the truth about Sierra Leone because that has been his life growing up through the war. I believe rehabilitation is possible after war, it will be a long and strenuous process but if there are people that are willing to help veterans through the process then it is possible to try. If he needed to move into my neighborhood I would be fine about his presence,  as long as he did not have any weaponry in the household or that he could obtain incase another nightmare or flashback were to happen. It would be beneficial for him to be in a supportive, positive and hopeful neighborhood.( If there is such a thing.)

One lesson I can take from this book is that hope is everywhere, even if it seems all hope is lost. Ishmael finally got out of the bad situation that he was in by being moved to his uncles house, and the opportunity to go speak in the United States of America while he was being rehabilitated from war and learning to trust again as Esther never gave up on him.

One thing i learned outside of the book is Ishmael also has another book called "Radiance of Tomorrow" Which was published in 2014 which is about two friends who return to their village Imperi after war. 

Reflection on a long way home by Miguel

     I think the lieutenant is one of the more important influences in the book. He recruits these children he trains them to survive. While to most people may assume he is a bad character for even recruiting cold soldiers, I think he is a necessary flawed character. I wanted to write evil but I know he really isn't evil. He meant the most to me because he was a good leader the boys knew they could sort of trust him. It's shown in the book by how much they initially try to fight UN trying to take then back to civilization. Yet when the lieutenant tells them to stand down their fight is over and thank you for your service, they listen.
     I personally don't think you can actually rehabilitate someone one hundred percent. You can try by all means maybe brain wash someone's into thinking they're rehabilitated but you never know what will trigger something within this young man and cause him to relive a moment from his past. He gets flashbacks at a dance of all places you just can't know if he'll get one while driving in traffic, or in a meeting at work. I don't think it's possible. I wouldn't see any harm in letting the man move into my neighborhood. There are plenty of people that are worse than a partially rehabilitated child soldier. There are drug dealers and producers making meth labs poisoning neighborhoods destroying lives of people with fewer inhibitions than some of us. I worry more about those types of people than I ever would a damaged man who might never try to harm me.
     My best take away from the book is that no matter that there will always be good people willing to give you a chance. "The chief explained to everyone that there had been a misunderstanding and that we were only children looking for safety. (68)" while they did have to have a performance of dance to convince him. The back ground story with the young man treating the boys injured feet trying to help them knowing if they were caught in his hut he would surely be in trouble. I thought it was a good thing to show kindness when you normally would be to scared to.

The information I found interesting was that when the UK intervened to push back they accomplished their goal with only 200 troops.

Matthew Rimmer, Journal #6: A Long Way Gone Reflection

  1.     . I would have to say that the character that meant the most to me other than Ishmael would honestly be Esther. I view her as being the driving force behind Ishmael’s change of life. Unlike the other staff Esther took the time to reach out to Ishmael. Despite the many times he disregarded her she still always tried to reach out to him. The biggest reason I view Esther as the second most important character is because of when Ishmael told her about his experiences in the war. He had hoped that telling her would finally drive her away, but instead it only caused her to care more. 
  2.     . I view Ishmael’s rehabilitation as being successful. The reason I view his rehabilitation as being successful is because no matter what obstacle had presented itself to him he always rose to overcome it. When he first arrived at the Benin Home he hated everything about being there. He would always create trouble along with violence and treat the other people like they were below him. But with the help of his friends and eventually Esther he changed for the better.  He at first longed to go back to the battlefield but when the war reached Freetown he told himself he couldn’t go back to that life. So as a result to all of this I strongly believe rehabilitation is possible. To be honest I would be indifferent if Ishmael would move into my neighborhood. This is because it’s not like I set aside the time to ask myself if I do/don’t want someone moving into my neighborhood, besides it would be out of my control anyways. So why stress over it? But, if I had to choose I wouldn’t mind him moving into my neighborhood. This is because due to reading his book I know to some extent about him as a person and about his life. However, I personally think the better question to ask is, "Would you accept him moving into your neighborhood?”
  3.     . There are many lessons that can be taken from this book. However, the main lesson that I learned from this book is that no matter how dark a person’s past is there will always be a brighter light in their future if they choose to see and seek it. “We can be rehabilitated” (169). The one thing that I want to remember the most about this book is the fact that Ishmael Beah didn’t like to be told that the things that happened to him were not his fault. The reason I want to remember this the most is because to me it seemed like Beah didn’t want people to just look at him and be like oh it’s okay. I feel that even though Beah kept to himself at first he wanted people to know of the things that he did and that he wanted people to understand that he is his own person but not just another child soldier that is troubled. 
  4.     . The one thing that I want to know more about is Laura. Beah told us that she became his mother later on and how it came to be but I want to know more about her as a person. I found that Laura Simms is an award-winning storyteller, recording artist, teacher, writer, and humanitarian based in New York City.  Her work has bestowed honor and recognition since 1968. Currently she is the artistic director of the iconic storytelling program in Central Park: The Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center. She continues to perform and teach internationally. (Here is the link that I found if you want to know more about her and her work, 
Laura Simms, Ishmael Beah's adoptive mother.

Journal 6 Nick

Esther meant the most to me secondly to Ishmael. Esther was the beacon of light in the darkness for Ishmael. She was there to break him free of his chains that bound him and to set him free from the prison of his past. When Ishmael had made it to the Benin Home for rehabilitation he was not well. Esther would return smiles to him even when he had done something that was not socially acceptable. She was the spear head that perceived through the darkness and let Ishmael free himself. She did not do all the work however, she opened him up enough to trust someone and to become friends with someone and learn to love again.

I found Ishmael's recovery and rehabilitation a miracle. To be so broken and traumatized by war at such a young age is tragic. The severity of some of the problems such as PTSD that arouse because of of the war were caused mostly due to his age. I completely believe that it was possible for him to be rehabilitated. With enough time and the proper help I feel that any problems can be conquered.

If Ishmael were to be going through rehabilitation and he was to move into my neighborhood I would at first be hesitant for the safety of those around me but would be completely be supportive. I would first want to know how stable he was doing the in recent weeks and his improvements to ensure the safety of those in the community but I would be there to support him when he came to my neighborhood. I would be welcoming to him if the opportunity would arise and I would dedicate a lot of time to helping him with his recovery and coming back into social life.

The most important message that I took from the book was the will to strive forward and to clench on to hope in bad times. Ishmael's dad told him once, " If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen" (Beah 54). This line really spoke to me and lets us know that there is still light at the end of the tunnel, all you have to do is keep walking to get to the other side. Ishmael's struggles to stay alive and to keep the desire to keep going shows us just how difficult it can be to keep hope in situations like that. To compare it to our lives it seems as if we have it easy but even we loose hope and that's why I connected with this lesson the most because it apply to all people. He taught us to never loose hope even in times of great disparity.

Ishmael taught me many things. Just to say one, he opened my eyes to the world outside of my own. He let me briefly capture the horrors of war inside of another country. He left me with a need to know more about where they are today and their past. To see if they were able to recover properly form the chaos that was caused by the RUF and the civil war.

Sierra Leone has great potential as a country with the valuable minerals such as gold and diamonds and iron. As well as the possibility to agriculturally prosperous. Their economy could be very diverse and become very profitable however with the lack of education and markets prevents their growth. The possibility is there however expansion will not happen for quite some time. The gross national income per capita is $737 and most are extremely poor. The current president is Ernest Bai Koroma. Who is in his second term serving eight of his ten total years.

Ernest Bai Koroma, current president.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Thoughts

Naomi Hillman
English 1109
Mike Lohre

                                       My Thoughts 

Uncle Tommy has to be the character that meant the most to me. I say Uncle Tommy because he offered Beah his home, meaning that he took him in. Uncle Tommy is Beah fathers brother. He is a carpenter in Freetown who struggled to raise his children and the children of relatives who can’t care for them. He’s kind and gregarious man who loves to help others. Judging from Uncle Tommy character he is a sweet man who loves his family.
I feel that Beah handled it very well (I mean he didn’t kill his Uncle and Family). He moved in with his Uncle and kept to himself most of the time. Would I want Beah in my neighborhood? Yes then No. I say yes because I’d love to know more about his childhood, if he’s willing to tell me. If I were his friend I’d want to be there for him. I also say no for the simple fact that he’s a soldier so that could cause trouble for the neighborhood. Some neighbors like a peaceful and quiet neighborhood.
A lesson I can take away is the use of drugs these kids used. After the war in chapter 16 Beah said,” During that same week, the drugs were wearing off. I craved cocaine and marijuana so badly that I would roll a plain sheet of paper and smoke it.” His friends were demanding their drugs back because the drugs they during the war were wearing off. There lieutenant gave them a drug to make them stronger and more faster. This proves to never give children drugs because at a young age they could become addicted.
My curiosity is Beah where about. After reading A Long Way Gone I wonder about what he is doing today. Is he in any movies or TV shows? What is Ishmael Beah doing today? Back in 2014 USA Today said that he’s written his first novel called, Radiance of Tomorrow, which is about the aftermath of war in an African Village. As far as his living statues Beah now lives at a Turkish restaurant in downtown Manhattan. 

Minzesheimer, Bob. "Ishmael Beah, from Boy Solider to Novelist." USA Today. Gannett, 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2016. 

                                                                 Picture from 2014

Christine Mailey-Journal Six

Christine Mailey-Journal Six-Reflections

 I believe Esther has had the biggest influence on me during the reading.   She is able to get Ishmael to confide in her.  Ishmael is able to trust someone again,  he has not been able to trust anyone since the war.  Esther also helps Ishmael to come to terms with his involvement in the war.  Ishmael is very ashamed of the terrible things he had to do when he was a child soldier.  Esther repeatedly told him that none of that was his fault, he was just a boy.

I think Ishmael showed rehabilitation could take place.  He was chosen from many boys to speak on his involvement in the war and his rehabilitation.  I think it is possible for rehabilitation to work.
Although, it would be a little worrisome to have someone like Beah as a neighbor, I would have to trust he has taken all of the necessary steps to be a part of society again.  Let's face it, we really don't know all of the dangers we live among in our daily lives.  I think people should be given a second chance at life to prove themselves.

I think Beah's perseverance is remarkable.  When faced with such enormous hurdles, he never gave up.  Your family and friends may be your biggest support system, but there will be times when you have to count on yourself for your survival and outcome.  When Beah was little his father used to say, "If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen.  If there is nothing good left in the destiny of a person, he or she will die (pg. 54)." 
I wanted to know more about Beah's outcome.  I felt like, we became so involved in his life throughout the book, I wanted to know Beah was ok.

Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980. He moved to the United States in 1998 and finished his last two years of high school at the United Nations International School in New York. In 2004 he graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in political science. He is a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Division Advisory Committee and has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities (CETO) at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, and many other NGO panels on children affected by the war. His work has appeared in VespertinePress and LIT magazine. He lives in New York City.

Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone: memoirs of a boy soldier

Journal Six: Reflections on A Long Way Gone

1. A character, other than Ishmael, that had the most meaning to me was Esther. Esther was a kind woman that made a huge impact on Ishmael. When Ishmael first enter the Benin Home, he doesn't trust anyone, especially civilians. During his stay in the Benin Home, Esther was able help Ishmael open up what has been eating him alive, and that was facing the fact that none of what happened was Ishmael's fault. The connection that Esther had with Ishmael was very comforting. Ishmael was able to trust her and believe that he can be rehabilitated and that he is just a child. In chapter 20, I saw a side to Ishmael that I have wanted to see throughout the book. When talking to the ECOSOC, he writes, "I have been rehabilitated now, so don't be afraid of me. I am not a soldier anymore; I am a child" (199). To me, I felt this showed a side of Esther, something that she always reminded that Ishmael can be better and will be better.

2. I feel that Ishmael rehabilitation had really worked with him. I believe it is possible to do with the help of chapter 21. Everything that Ishmael had worked so hard for, by changing his ways of what he has done as a child soldier had returned to him in Freetown once again. Without fighting back and becoming a child soldier, he fought in a different route. That route led him to escaping Sierra Leone without being violent to make a better life for himself. I would strongly trust and believe that Ishmael would be safe around my neighborhood because he did a huge step by walking away from the war instead of being in it. I feel as if Ishmael is strong enough and more open by realizing he may not be able to forget his war memories, but he can make the rest of his life better and create long lasting memories of happiness. 

3. A lesson I can take away from this book is, " When times get rough, never give up". Ishmael was a fighter throughout this whole book. He was able to overcome any obstacle that came his way whether it hurt him to change. Ishmael went through people dying around him, killing others, withdrawing from drugs, and finding a way to cope with flashbacks that still haunt him today. I want to remember that no matter what life can hit you with, you must make the best of it, because your life can change as long as you make it change. A quote that I will never forget from this book would be, " We can be rehabilitated" (169). I feel as if this quote that has four words mean so much to me. Anyone can be rehabilitated, no matter what background or story you come from.

4. After reading the book, I wanted to know more about Ishmael. I wanted to know if he is trying to help those in need that were or are still involved with fighting in war as a child. I wanted to know if he was finally enjoying life and was there anything that he was doing that could influence those to be rehabilitated just like him. Doing research outside the book, I have found that Ishmael is a part of varieties of institutions that require helping with the youth. Here are the things that he is involved with today. UNICEF Ambassador and advocate for Children Affected by War, a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Advisory Committee, Advisory board member of the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Violence, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, former visiting scholar at the Center for Conflict resolution, Columbia University, visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Center for the study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights, Rutgers University, Co-Founder of The Network for Young People Affected by War (NYPAW) and president of The Ishmael Beah Foundation. It is so nice to see Ishmael is doing everything to be a better person for himself and help those who need that boost like Esther had gave to him. 

Ishmael working hard with the UNICEF

Journal 6: Carmen Curtis

I feel like one of the most important characters in this book that made a real impact was Saidu. Though he hadn't been in the book or talked about his death was a big hit for me. He had been threw a lot but still didn't act as if he was worse off than any of the boys. His story of his first encounter with the rebels had impacted me so much. I could tell that he had suffered and couldn't imagine the pain that he must have felt.  I feel like his death was the turning point where Ishmael's circumstances just kept getting worse and worse. Sadu's death was the first real grievance that Ishmael had to deal with in this book. Yes, Ishmael had seen people die in front of his eyes but not anyone that he had truly called his friend or even anyone he had really known. Saidu was the one to first admit that he felt as though he was losing himself. This Statement had really hit home with everyone once we started to see Ishmael lose himself almost to the point of no return.

I feel like Ishmaels rehabilitation was such a great moment in the book. I almost cried out of happiness several times. It had shown us that even in the darkest of times there is hope for everyone as long as there are people that are willing to help. I would love for someone like him to move into my neighborhood as long as he has been rehabilitated I feel like  he would be a great asset to the community. He could speak to the people and show them that there can be hope in any situation and that we are a very lucky to live in a country that has never had to deal with anything a serious as this at a rate this large.

The main lesson that I will take from this book is that we should never judge people by their past because we weren't in their shoes to experience it ourselves therefore we cant just condemn someone when we have no idea of the struggles they have been threw to get to the point that they are at now. We can say that what he had done was wrong but we can also say that he had no idea what he was doing. He had been manipulated and had been on some serious drugs that had kept him from being in the right state of mind. He was just a child that was doing as he was told to do. "I would always tell people that I believe children have the resilience to outlive their sufferings, if given a chance."

I wish I had gotten to know more about his life in new York and more about what had happened o everyone he had known after the war finally ended. If by any chance he is still in contact with anyone from Africa and if so who?

In 2004 he graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in political science. Beah as also joined many Peace groups to help grow awareness of the touble children are still faceing. He now lives in Nouakchott, Mauritania with his wife and children.

Journal Six By Tiff

The Most important character in the book that meant the most to me would have to be Esther. She treated Ishmael's wounds and encouraged him to talk about his experiences with her When Esther brought him a cassette of rap music and a Walkman, Ishmael has a breakthrough moment in his therapy. He begins telling her his stories and processing his pain. Esther's unconditional love and perseverance bring Ishmael back to the boy he had been before the war. Though his war experiences have altered him, he learns to trust Esther and reach out to others for help as well. Esther told Ishmael that you can’t blame yourself for what happened when you were a child you were just a kid.

I think Ishmael rehabilitation shows that if he can go through war fight his way though it like a real person and not being able to just be a kid and still come out of the war and go in to rehab then it shows anybody can do it you have to want to do it though you can’t just go in to rehab and not want to change that would be pointless you have to go in there with the faith encouragement from a friend and strength and  say to yourself "I want to do this I can do this" it’s going to make me a better person. it is possible for people to be rehabilitated you just have to want to chance and want to make yourself better. I think it would be difficult to let Ishmael move in to my neighborhood because for one I don’t trust someone easily i would have to make sure that he is back with the society after being away for so long. but i would differently give him a chance to proves he belongs here.

The lesson I can take out of this book is would be that no matter how kind and gentle a people are; they might also be capable of brutality. also that people can survive hopeless situations by holding onto their memories. I want to remember is that if someone needs an encouraging word or just a helping hand i will stand up and take that hand and help them out no matter what goes on I will stop what i am doing and lead a helping hand. on page 167 Ishmael says to Esther.  
                   "I feel as if there is nothing left for me to be alive for. I have no family; it is just me. No one will be able to tell me stories about my childhood."

What i want to know more about Ishmael and the book is What does Ishmael do when he gets back to New York from after begin there once then going back to Freetown then coming back again to New York? does he ever get in to the Rap Music Industry. Does Ishmael ever go back to Freetown since he is in New York. Something I have learned outside of the book is Beah has received numerous humanitarian and writing awards.  Also, He appears in Bling: A Planet Rock, a 2007 documentary that draws attention to the diamond conflict.

                                             Ishmael at a long way gone book signing. Feburary 2009

Journal #6- John Hunter Bayer

Other than Ismael, the character that meant most to me in the book is Esther. Esther is the biggest impact on Ismael's life during his rehabilitation. She connected to him so much by talking to him, giving him gifts from his past, but most importantly, she treated him like a human being. She didn't see the child solider who is willing to go on a bloody rampage because he is ordered to, but sees who Ismael used to be. It's obvious that Ismael has been impacted by Esther, and thanks to her loving and caring nature towards him, that he got his life back.

I believe that Ismael's rehabilitation was very important. It's thanks to it that he could have a normal life again. He was a bloodthirsty child solider jacked up on drugs and violence. It's obvious that rehabilitation is possible. It's the patient that shows if it works, and it clearly get Ishmael his life back. I would be willing to let Ishmael in my neighborhood because he wants to have a normal life, and explains this in the later chapters of the book.

 The one thing I will always remember from reading this book is the struggle of conflict. It happens in almost every chapter; from the civil war with the rebels and the government, or the internal conflict the Ishmael struggles with. One quote from Ishmael says "That didn't make me immune from the guilt that I felt for what I had done. Nonetheless, it lightened the burdensome memories and gave me strength to think about things." (pg. 166.)

The book makes me think about what happened to Ishmael after the events of the book. After a little research, I have learned about how the UNICEF helped him escape Freetown and sent to New York to live with his foster mother. He attended the United Nations International School. After high school he enrolled at Oberlin College and graduated in 2004 with a degree in Political Science. He turned his life around and fulfilled his dream of living in New York.

Image result for ishmael beah
Ishmael Beah, with his book A Long Way Gone

Monday, February 22, 2016

Journal Six - Matthew Glenn

A character other than Ishmael that I felt was important in this story was Laura Simms. Although she was not talked about much in the story, she was the reason Beah had been able to leave Freetown and move to New York City. She provided a safe haven for him in a time of need and aided him while he started a new life. Even though the story doesn't tell of when Beah reaches New York to live, in chapter 20 he briefly shares how they will become close in the years to follow, he says, "When she became my mother years later,"(pg 197). He also says, "I didn't know Laura's house was going to be my future home."(pg 200).

At first it seemed that rehabilitation was not possible. From disobeying the rules, to violent outburst, Ishmael made it clear that he did not like taking orders from civilians. After some time he overcame those obstacles and was a different person. As the expression goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it. Ishmael was given the resources to start his rehabilitation, but at first refused. Eventually, he came around to the idea and began changing. I do believe that rehabilitation is possible, but I also believe that someone must decide to begin the healing process their self.

I would not have any issues if Ishmael was moving into my neighborhood. Even though he had trouble at first with rehabilitation, Ishmael made a drastic life change and could control his anger much better than before.

I feel a great lesson to be taken from A Long Way Gone would be that our past doesn't define our future. When life is not going in your favor, find the courage to change what you can. In chapter 21 Ishmael says, "I had to leave, because I was afraid if I stayed in Freetown any longer, I was going to end up being a soldier again or my former army friends would kill me if I refused."(pg 209). At that point his future in Freetown was uncertain, and the possible outcomes were not looking good. Ishmael found the courage to leave and start a new life in New York City.

When the end of the book came, I was left wondering about what happened after Ishmael moved to New York City. I was curious what type of work he has done since moving and the challenges he faced after arriving in NYC to live. What I have been able to find is that once Ishmael made it to NYC, he attended the United Nations International School, then earned a degree in Political Science from Oberlin College. By 2007 Beah became the UNICEF's Advocate for Children Affected by War and also started the Ishmael Beah foundation to help children of war. Beah co-founded the Network of Young People Affected by War in 2008 and is Vice-Chair of Narrative 4.

Journal Six - Alyssa

Esther has always been the most important character in the book to me. I love how much she helps Ishmael through everything he's been through. Even all of those times that he would not allow her to say anything about the things he told her was going on in his life. Most of the time she was there to just have someone to listen to. So he was not just venting to air. That is the most important thing for anyone to have in their life. I think the reason I like Esther so much is because I want to be like her. Maybe not in the sense of exactly helping people with PTSD, specifically. But I just want to help people over come awful things that have happened in their life. She makes me feel like the things I want to do will not be wasted.

Ishmael makes rehabilitation pretty obviously possible for other people to be rehabilitated. If Ishmael can do it, anyone can do it. But the thing is, they have to want to do it. Like there's a joke that I've always heard. How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Well, the answer is one, but the light bulb has to want to change. This applies to Ishmael, because he wanted to change and he  wanted to do well. Anyone else can be rehabilitated, but they have to want to be rehabilitated or it will not get them anywhere. I would be happy taking Ishmael into my neighborhood. If I could, I would happily accept him into my family like Laura did or like his uncle did. I feel like Ishmael has tried so hard to make a difference in his life, he needs someone else to complete that difference. They can only complete that by giving him love and bringing him into their family or by bringing him into their neighborhood and welcoming him. I have a close friend who has been in the Air Force and he is once of the nicest people I have ever met. He was actually in the reserves when 9/11 happened. I gave him a chance to get to know him and I feel everyone else deserves that chance too. I know a few people who plan to go into the army or who are already in the army, and they are very nice people.

On page 217 Ishmael writes; "I was scared and worried about what turmoil the next day might bring. Nonetheless, I was happy to have made it out of Freetown, to have escaped the possibility of becoming a soldier again." This is a good lesson in the book. To me, I thought it meant that you have to go out and try to change what you're not happy with. Ishmael was terrified of having to become a child soldier again after everything he went through to get over the trauma of the war. There are so many people who complain about being unhappy and talk about wanting to change, but they don't do anything to change the thing making them unhappy. Ishmael actually took the chance of being killed and he was humiliated several times to get out of being forced into being a child soldier again. I don't want to be stuck doing what makes me unhappy. I want to try and change whatever makes me unhappy by any means.

This is a picture of Ishmael and his wife Priscillia.
When he left off with telling about going to see Laura, I wanted to know more about his experience with Laura. I wanted to know more about the major shift between living in Freetown and going to New York to live with someone that he only knew through meeting in public once and then several times through phone calls and such. I want to know so much about how Laura feels about him. Obviously she has to care a lot about him to allow him to come stay with her. She answered in a very quick way, she didn't even have to think about the answer. In the text it seemed like he was even surprised about the answer and wanted her to think about this more. After finishing the book, I was curious if by some chance that Ishmael and Esther might have tried things out after this book was published. I was highly hoping they did. I was very surprised to find out that he has been married to Priscillia Kounkou since 2013.

Reflection on A Long Way Gone

A long Way Gone has been the first book to really grab my attention in years. Ishmael Beah did a very good job keeping all the events interesting, and tying everything together in detail. I think many characters are important in this book, for me personally i like Uncle Tommy. I believe Uncle Tommy has made a big impact on me because of his heart and how badly he wanted to help Ishmael with all of his problems. Uncle Tommy truly cared for Ishmael and was ecstatic to help Beah "You are my son. I don't have much, but i will give you a place to sleep, food, and my love" This to me explains his love and true desire to help out Ishmael. I think i would bring someone in like this as well. I  have a big heart and feel for everyone who is going through problems in life.
I don't feel like Ishmael can completely forget and erase these catastrophic events that has occurred throughout his life all of these years. Day in and day out Ishmael has feared his life may be taken at any point. Rebels invading different villages in their path and anyone included. Ishmael has seen countless numbers of people lose their lives, that can create some nasty life changing flashbacks that impact him in negative ways. If Ishmael moved into my neighborhood i would feel very sketchy about it. I would fear Ishmael could snap like a rubber band at any moment, which would be scary considering all the possible things that could be racing through his mind. But at the same time it would be very interesting hearing Ishmael's stories and experiences, I'm not sure if the risk factors over throw the interesting stories Ishmael would tell.  
As i continued to read this book i tried to put myself in Ishmael's shoes but i just couldn't imagine being in the situations he was in. As Beah showed great imagery throughout the story one that caught my attention was "a bullet hit a tree directly above my head and fell on the ground next to me. From where i lay i saw the red bullets flying into the sky"(35) ive never before shot a gun and Ishmael is fearing for his life as bullets fly over his head. This happens to Ishmael many times over the years and almost becomes second nature. I learned to never take my life for granted because things could be a lot worse than what they are. After reading this book i want to know more about how Ishmael does when it comes to recovering from all of the war events and other life threatening events as well. How does the new job turn out for Ishmael? does he enjoy it over a duration of time? those are the kinds of things i want to know more about. From reading this book i know it's easy to say but, i learned a lot more about PTSD and the bad effects it has an people in a family.

(The problems PTSD can cause for families are countless)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Hatred And Rage

Naomi Hillman
English 1109
Febuary 15,2016
Mike Lohre

Hatred and Rage

From reading the first two pages of chapter 16 the boys are being very reckless towards the civilians.The boys were unhappy because the villagers too away there guns and drugs. This made Beach furious because the drugs that he took were wearing off. The drugs that they took, they now need it since it gives them a boost to fight. Somethings that happened in the chapter is that the boys started being ruthless. Everyday and night they would fight some staff members and each other. They fought too much to where Beach had gotten glass inside his hand. He went to the hospital. A nurse patched him up asking him to come back tomorrow, but he refused. The next day Beach kept passing out, ending back at the hospital. Each day he passed and the nurse once again tried to help Beach but, he refused. Wasn’t long before he had to stay in the hospital. The nurse gave him a glass of water. Like the little brat he drank the water the threw the glass on the wall.
The theme from reading chapter 16 so far would have to be rage. These boys are so ruthless that they stabbed a poor man in the foot, then started beating up themselves. These boys don’t care about the rules anymore. They go around bullying anyone they see, ready to pick a fight. These boys are full with rage and hatred that they take their anger out on everyone else.

Journal 5- One Step Forward from Miguel

Ishmael has been in recovery for a few months at the start of the chapter. He is obviously starting to realize that he will not be going back to war no matter how much he wants to. They start showing some of the humanity returning to these boys. After the nurse brings Ishmael a coke, Ishmael and Alhaji flirt with the idea that she may like Ishmael. He quickly puts that idea out by saying "I don't think she likes me the way you are thinking about it. (152)" I think that even if she did like him he still had a distrust for her. She spends a lot of time in the chapter trying to get to know Ishmael. She doesn't force him to talk. She does a great deal for him, to bond with him in a manner he hadn't had since before the war. She took him to Freetown and bought him gifts. She bought him a walkman with a Run DMC cassette which allowed him to start to ease into his past. He remembered about how he used to sing and dance with his friends before the war. The music allows him to start trusting her. He shares a lot of detailed information with Esther, the nurse, of the ordeals that he had been through with the Army. How he had gotten wounded in the war. He shared with her some of the vivid information of the atrocities that he committed as a child soldier. At the end of the chapter he takes the first step forward to recovery. He tells esther about his dream about his family. After Esther tells him none of these things one last time he finally is starting to believe it. He writes, I began that day to believe it...That didn't make me immune for the guilt that I felt for what I had done. Nonetheless, it lightened my burdensome memories and gave me strength to think about things. This chapter is the true start to his recovery. He finally starts to be human again, he is the tinman who found his heart. 

Journal 5-Chapter 17 Alexandra Abrams

In chapter 17, Beah describes about his experience of being shot. Esther asked Ishmael what had happened with his wounds and where did the wounds come from. Beah tells the story of the day he had been shot during an attack where things went wrong. After speaking of his experience, a new character, Leslie arrives at the center. Leslie, Esther, Alhaji, and Beah, drive to the Freetown to take Ishmael to the hospital. During their trip, Alhaji and Ishmael are gifted with gifts that both Leslie and Esther had bought for them. One thing that really made Ishmael really happy was when Esther had given him a Bob Marley cassette. Returning back to the center, Ishmael ended up realizing that he was looking forward to Esther's arrival in the afternoons. When all happiness is over, Ishmael falls asleep and has a terrible nightmare about his family. Struggling through that night made Ishmael really bothered. On the next visit to see Esther she could see that he was very bothered about something. Although Beah doesn't quite trust Esther, he quotes," I only liked talking to her because I felt that she didn't judge me for what I have been a part of; she looked at me with the same inviting eyes and welcoming smile that said I was a child" (166). 

I think the theme in this chapter is trust. Trust is really hard for Ishmael to comprehend. Beah has grown a bond with Esther that I believe he is very shielded with who he wants to trust with his unspoken tragedy. Being a young child in the war causes extreme PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder). When a child is growing with pure knowledge and then forced to fight in a war, it makes the child forget the good times of being a child which is then changing the mind of the child remembering nothing but war experiences. This has in fact not changed in the century we are living in now today. More children are being exposed to war and killed because most of the children aren't able to hold up the gun by themselves. When being involved into war, not only children, but adults as well have had extreme trust issues with others trying to help them overcome PTSD. Ishmael really does enjoy seeing Esther, but that lack of trust is still in between the two. All Ishmael had the knowledge of was to trust his people and no one else. When experiencing PTSD, trust is hard ton build, especially when a child has been taken away their innocent by risking their lives in a war that they shouldn't fight. 

Growing up I have always had trust issues with people. I am continuing till this day gradually understanding how to control my own experiences in life. Myself, has been through a hard patch in my life. Many of these challenges I face today is by overcoming the past and working hard to make a better future. I have a hard time believing people when they say I am their friend. I don't honestly know what the meaning of a friend is. Until I entered college I have opened up a lot more with two of the most important people in my life that aren't my family or my fiance. PTSD is common in just people who have fought in war, but those who have been neglected, abused, or any tragedy that still haunts the innocents life today. Taking away someones innocent can destroy a person to where they are afraid to communicate with anyone that will abandon their trust. Using this information, we can secure others by creating a safe zone where the person feels the most comfort. We can see this in adolescents in patient facilities or adult facilities. Also, counseling can help create a copping skill that can develop trust with good people that are willing to help those in the need of time. Developing PTSD and trust is a challenge. Knowing that you are feeling watched and unsafe at times isn't bad. Growing from this experience can only make someone stronger and be prepared for any obstacle that comes their way. 

Overcoming a tragedy makes you the strongest person alive

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Journal 5 - Miranda "Addiction struggles"

I chose chapter 16, one topic that stood out to me was in the beginning of the chapter when Ishmael was talking about how the drugs were wearing off , and began to experience withdrawals from the cocaine and Marijuana that he previously had unlimited access too. Then tells how he searched his pockets for "crumbs" of the drugs that were once there. It shows how absolutely desperate  he is and how the withdrawals are increasing. He then breaks into the "mini-hospital" and steals pain relievers to try and make his drug cravings subside by mixing white, yellow and red pill capsules even though the mixture had no effect on them. They then began to beat up people within the neighborhood and hospital staff out of anger as a side effect of not having the drugs they were accustomed too and began to be violent and fight among each other as a way of passing time between meals.

This section of the chapter shows the boys are becoming more violent toward each other along with beating up the staff. Ishmael refers to the staff as "civilians" which is what they used to be to them and a conflict occurs when he has no power over them. He has nothing in which to harm them with, he has no weapons to use against them. This cause him to become more violent as a result of not being in power,not being able to openly fire on anything and everything within his sight and not having drugs. Throughout the next few pages he talks about destroying glass windows with their fists, until it got stuck in the glass and had to go to the hospital where he then refused treatment for his wounded hand, fainting from a migraine, and vomiting. As the chapter continues he and other boy soldiers began to experience PTSD around the end of their second month and he explains that when he saw water it turned into blood. At night he explained that other boys had nightmares, sweating, screaming and punching themselves in the head as a way to try and get the images of war out of their heads that had continued to taunt them. Due to PTSD that they were still experiencing from the trauma of war they would wake up within the grasses outside near the soccer field with no remembrance of how they got there through the night.
This is related to our culture in many ways one being the drug withdrawal and symptoms that the boys experienced in the book. Shaking, sweating, migranes, not being able to sleep through the night, violence. 

This happens to formers drug addicts that are in recovery as they are weaned off of the need for drugs, not only cocaine and Marijuana as mentioned in the book, but also caffeine withdrawals have the same side effects headache, craving, and anger in some cases as your body begins to react to not having the drug or caffeine it was accustomed to. Even I used to be completely addicted to Coca-Cola and would drink a minimum of two 16 Oz bottles every day, and experienced headaches, anger and restlessness due to the craving for caffeine. Having my own experience with withdraw from caffeine allowed me through relate (on a smaller scale) to what Ishmael experienced with being weaned off cocaine and Marijuana and learning how to interact with people in day to day life, including refreshing his English and mathematics skills.

Matthew Rimmer English 1109 10:30-12:30 Journal 5: Chapter 17 (Trust) Summary

In this chapter the nurse Esther tries to create a connection to Ishmael Beah as he visits the compound's infirmary more often. Alhaji jokes with Beah by saying that the nurse likes him. Beah disagrees with him but wonders what her intentions are. Esther tells Beah that she wants to be his friend but only if he wants her to be. After some time of coming and going to the infirmary she gives him a cassette player along with some rap tapes as a gift. One day while Beah is listening to his tapes he tells Esther how he acquired the wounds on his legs and foot hoping to scare her away. However, this fails and she tells him none of what happened is his fault, which angers him. Esther and a field-worker Leslie takes Beah along with Alhaji to the city for a check up. Esther buys a jersey for Alhaji while Leslie buys some tapes for Beah. Beah then learns the lyrics of the songs so he can sing them with Esther. During the night Beah has a horrible nightmare about the war and his family so the next day he goes to Esther to talk about it. Once again she tells him it is not his fault but this time he takes it to heart and finally believes this. One night Beah is walking with Esther while observing the moon and talking about what they see in the moon. Beah recalls a story his grandmother tells him about how the moon will speak to anyone who will listen and he desperately wishes that the moon would talk to him.

I would say the biggest theme in this chapter would be trust. At the beginning Beah does not trust Esther even though she shows him a bit of trust. As time goes in he realizes that what happened to him was not is fault thanks to Esther. He begins to open up to Esther and decides to trust her to an extent. He tells her about his times in the war and the nightmares he has. Ishmael had built a wall of distrust around himself deciding not to trust anyone. However, as he is shown trust he slowly begins to tear down his wall and trusts back. He even accepts Esther as his temporary sister. This just goes to show that no matter what happens there will always be someone that you can trust.

>Connection To Life
I can personally relate to Ishmael Beah when it comes to hardly or not even trusting someone. However, my experiences with trusting cannot even begin to be measured up against Beah's. Throughout my entire school years I would always end up having my trust in people destroyed. I would "make" friends but then after awhile they would stab me in the back. They became the ones who would always ridicule me and try to put me down. This went on all the way until I graduated. So as a result I built a wall of distrust around me, not letting anyone get close to me. However, I would open myself up to people who proved that they truly wanted to be my friends and not my enemies. Whenever I made true friends I learned that not everyone is out to get you and that there are people that you truly can trust. Now a days it feels like there is no more trust in the world.  I mean pretty much everyone will question the intentions and motives of everyone else. I believe that even though it may take time we as people should try to better trust others.

Trust Issues: Journal five, Carmen

During chapter 18 Beah is asked to be the spokesperson for the rehabilitation center he tells people that there is hope and that people of the war can be helped. he meets up with his childhood friend Mohamed. we also find out that leslie found Beah's uncle and Beah's uncle is going to take Beah in as his own. Beah learns to trust his uncle and is happy that he finally gets his chance to be a child.

I feel like the theme of this chapter is the trust that Beah shows with everyone. He gets to know his uncle with open mind. He understand that this is his chance to make it out of the center and start over. Though he is hesitant in the beginning he keeps an open mind and this leads to him being welcomed into his new family with open arms. this hesitant action is only is because Beah has been taught to trust no one but his gun. This change is hard for him but he feels like this man could be his salvation. The children in this family do not know of his past but are his cousins that also ended up with his uncle after the war.

The theme of this chapter can connect to me in many ways but the one memory that comes to me the strongest is that after losing my aunt four years ago my entire family was frightened to let anyone into our home. My aunt had been murdered by a drug lord and he threatened our lives as well. One time a person connected to him broke into my home when my mother wasn't home but never came upstairs to where my sister and I were hiding with our friends. After this incident my sister and I had to keep weapons in our room in case something like this happened again. Nothing ever happened like that again but I still question why people may want in my house and get scared whenever I hear the doorknob jiggle on the front door. I understand why Beah is hesitant to trust this man that he doesn't know.

Its so sad how small these kids were no wonder they have PTSD.

Journal #5- John Hunter Bayer

In chapter 17 of A Long Way Gone, Ishmael begins to make more trips the hospital after a couple months after his last visit. The chapter explains his visit with him getting a gift from Esther. It is rap music in a cassette for him. The next events of the chapter is Beah having a flashback to when he was hospitalized during his time in the government military. He talks about getting shot and feeling numb, to demanding drugs to ease the pain. The chapter then follows Beah and Esther to their trip to the city. After the trip to the city, Beah explains how he begins to enjoy his trips to the hospital to visit Esther.

I think this theme of this chapter is the friend he makes in Esther. This whole chapter shows how Esther is trying to connect to Ishmael by giving him gifts of items he enjoyed in his past, or listening to his war stories. She wants to help him by understanding who he once was and know what he has been through. She is very consistent in this chapter and is almost with Ishmael the whole time. This chapter is trying to explain how Esther is becoming a big part of his life and will help him gain back what he has lost.

The theme of this chapter can connect to alot of moments in my life. but i think the best moment that fits this was when my friend had to come back to normal life after being in a mental hospital for a month. He was isolated for a long time and had to get used to life again where he left off. No one didnt know how to help him except for me. I was Esther to him while he was Beah to me. I greatly understand what its like to see some people get used to there old life.
Image result for cassette and tape players
A cassette Player, like the one given to Beah from Esther.