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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.
Two decades before the rebel war Thomas Johnson, a pilot from Minnesota, was employed to fly boxes of gems and alluvial diamonds in Sierra Leone from Yengema to Freetown, where a British Airways jet would fly the gemstones to London. This pilot 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 Italy, Greece, 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.
Compellingly humble and refreshingly far from the pseudo catharsis offered by the dearth of celebrity redemption autobiographies, Friendship: A True Story of Adventure, Goodwill, and Endurance proves a powerful and intense read that is hard to forget. On many levels, it’s an ode to the potential for both good and ill, in all of us, whilst embodying hope against overwhelming odds and Mandewah tells his story with the kind of conviction that touches the heart, drawing us wholly into his narrative. It’s an often a desperate path that Mandewah has travelled and his story is one that seizes you almost immediately, but his prose speak to his courage and resilience. It may make a daunting read at times, but it’s also an essential look at man's ability to succeed whilst acknowledging those who have proved pivotal in one man achieving his personal goals.
An admirable and intimate memoir that will linger in the memory of its readers, Friendship: A True Story of Adventure, Goodwill is certainly deserving of your attention and strongly recommended.
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