Young Francis Mandewah dreamed of a better future, but saw no way out of his impoverished situation.... until one day when he met a man who would change his life forever. An African boy from the region made famous by the Hollywood film "BLOOD DIAMOND" is befriended by an American pilot. That friendship brings great opportunities and blessings that affirm the boy's faith in a God of miracles. But the boy's journey also brings many trials and tribulations that test his courage, strength and endurance. The Hollywood movie "BLOOD DIAMOND" starring Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for five Academy Awards. It brought attention to a rebel war in West Africa in which "blood" diamonds, also known as "conflict" diamonds, were used to finance warlords and their activities. Two decades before this war Thomas Johnson, a pilot from Minnesota, was employed by the National Diamond Mining Company in Sierra Leone, to fly boxes of gems and alluvial diamonds from Yengema to Freetown, where a British Airways jet would fly the gemstones to London. This American diamond transport pilot miraculously met and befriended young Francis Mandewah, an impoverished Sierra Leonean boy, and gave him generous support that opened a new life of opportunity, which would eventually take Francis to America. Along the way Francis had many harrowing experiences, including crossing the Sahara Desert, which almost cost him his life. His challenges continued in Europe and other places, including Mali, Algeria,Tunisia, Sicily-Italy, Greece, Turkey, France, England, and finally in America. In the end, Francis became aware that his real voice that has emerged through all his trials and tribulations is one of deep faith and gratitude for God's miracles and wonders in his life. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Francis Mandewah received his Masters degree in Public Administration from American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1991. A social justice advocate, he has 14 years experience as a probation and parole agent with Wisconsin Department of Corrections. He is a member of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Ferguson, Missouri, where he currently resides and works as a counselor for Community Education Centers, Inc., at Southwest Illinois Correctional Center in East Saint Louis, Illinois. www.francismandewah.com
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