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A Long Way Gone: Chapters 7-8 October 12, 2007

Posted by Michelle in A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael B.


1. Michelle - October 12, 2007

More random thoughts:

“I became frustrated with living in fear. I felt as if I was always waiting for death to come to me, so I decided to go somewhere where at least there was peace. Kaloko was afraid to leave… I said goodbye to everyone and headed west.” What a brave boy to leave friends, human contact, and move on.

“As soon as I left the hiding area and was on the path, I felt as if I was being wrapped in a blanket of sorrow. It came over me instantly. I started to cry. I didn’t know why.” Uh, well, maybe it was because he was alone. In a war. His family is presumably dead. He narrowly missed death himself, more than once. Fear of thoughts of the past, fear of the future. Grief. Sorrow. Uncertainty.

But I love that he can still laugh. “I couldn’t even climb past the middle of the trunk…. this made me laugh uncontrollably.” I think the ability to do this is some of what made him a survivor.

I’m saddened for all the time he had no contact with humans — 5 days, 30 days… to be alone with just your thoughts, fears, memories. I’m sure that has a profound effect on you. Then to be shunned by your fellow man. Understandable (on the part of those who were fearful) but sad.

I also wonder how a person can survive such high levels of stress for so long. To be alone, running from people, guns, machete, only to face the possibility of dying via snake bite, pig attack, or poisoned fruit. Of course, I don’t know the rest of his journey, but I’m amazed that in the end he has responded so well. That he had taken the initiative to educate America and, frankly, hasn’t lost his mind.

2. Ashleigh - October 13, 2007

These were such sad chapters. His loneliness. Time in the forest. Something that really got to me was when he wrote:

One things about being lonesome is that you think too much, especially when there isn’t much else you can do. I didn’t like this and I tried to stop myself from thinking, but nothing seemed to work. I decided to just ignore every thought that came to my head, because it brought too much sadness. Apart from eating and drinking water and once every other day taking a bath, I spent most of my time fighting myself mentally…. I became restless and was afraid to sleep for fear that my suppressed thoughts would appear in my head.

So even though he was physically safe from the rebels for awhile, he still wasn’t at peace. He had to fight his own thoughts. I felt so bad for him. But it did get me thinking about how as Christians we would be able to face that situation differently because we would be able to pray and talk to the Lord. We’d have His presence with us so that we would never really be alone.

Also, I was touched by the kindness of the old man in chapter 8 who took the time to feed the boys and talk to them.

3. heatherelle - October 15, 2007

He does have an amazing resilience and stamina, Michelle. I don’t know what keeps him going, except the fear and the will to survive. I was thinking that it’s one thing to have fear of something hypothetical — dark alleyways, not locking my door at night, etc. Then you are battling your imagination. But it must be something different altogether to be battling real images. “I had seen heads cut off by machetes, smashed by cement bricks, and rivers filled with so much blood that the water had ceased flowing. Each time my mind replayed these scenes, I increased my pace. Sometimes I closed my eyes hard to avoid thinking, but the eye of my mind refused to be closed and continued to plague me with images. My body twitched with fear…”

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