Monday, February 22, 2016

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.


  1. I like the research you did to find out the events after the book. Good job

  2. great job on the caption i was surprised about the same thing thing how cool

  3. I was interested in his experience with Laura as well, and what kind of challenges he faced moving so far away.

  4. Like the quote it really shows him fighting for his life still and for his freedom.

  5. I like that you included the part about Laura and how she cares so much to let him stay with her without any hesitations.


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