Jonathan’s Story: Hope in Sierra Leone
Frozen in fear, Jonathan used his 6’1” frame to make his daughter, hanging on his back, invisible as he knelt in front of “Killer,” the aptly-named rebel leader who had been sent to destroy Jonathan’s compound – and kill everyone there.
Behind him, the house where he was sheltering 60 people had been set on fire and was quickly burning, but Killer’s gun was the only thing Jonathan’s petrified brain could comprehend.
“This is it,” he thought. His death, and his daughter’s, and the 60 people he was hiding in the quickly burning compound behind him, was eminent.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a voice that neither Killer nor Jonathan recognized spoke: “I have been ordered to secure the house of this Captain.” Out of the darkness, an unknown man approached. And Killer backed down. Almost as quickly as it had started, it was over. The fire was put out. The rebel soldiers, many of them just boys, followed Killer back into the night.
Empowering the future generations
Now, 30 years later, Jonathan uses his 6’1” frame to shoulder the network of people he has established around him to tackle the most pressing issues his community faces:
He is advising and directing groups of counselors working with the forgotten HIV/AIDS community. He is running a health clinic for patients of all ages trapped by diseases long eradicated except in places of extreme poverty. He is digging water wells in a local, sustainable fashion that remained the only Ebola-free source of sustenance for a community of more than 1,000 people.
He recruits other men and women to help educate locals on issues ranging from values to leadership, emotional health to collective development. He’s growing a network of African leaders and sparking real, tangible, possible change right where they are.
Amidst the plagues of war, multiple Ebola outbreaks, and political changes that Sierra Leone has experienced over the last three decades, Jonathan uses his own life’s story to offer hope and relief to others. Community by community, person by person, Jonathan is redefining Sierra Leone from a place of fear and uncertainty to one of beauty and hope.
This is the power of African Leadership; of country networks led and driven by men and women who know what it’s like to live through a night like Jonathan did 30 years ago.