Friday, April 8, 2011
Joseph, age 26, is one of our trusted guards that alternates between our apartment and the Hope Centre. You will always see him with a smile on his face, but behind that smile there are memories that continue to haunt him. In 1994, Rebel Forces came to his village near Lonesar 43 miles up-country. They demanded money of his father, but when he had none to offer they killed him. Jospeh's mother would have been shot as well, but he, his elder brother and his sister offered to serve the rebels in return for sparing their mom's life. After six weeks of repeated abuse and rape, Joseph's sister died in the bush. A few months later his brother escaped during a skirmish between rebels and army forces, however, he has not been heard from since, and is presumed dead. Joseph's back reveals scars from floggings and knife wounds from the rebels using him for sport. His main role was to carry weapons and other equipment for them. In 1996, a government soldier found Joseph after an indecisive battle between rebels and the army caused soldiers to scatter in all directions. Thankfully, the officer listened to Joseph's story and made arrangements for his transport to a hospital in Freetown. Since the days of his captivity, Joseph spent several years in secondary school with the help of a Catholic Priest and worked as a security guard for a company in Freetown, and now for the Hope Centre. When he is paid each month he either visits his mother to help with her support or sends funds. We love this young man dearly! What a privilege it has been to get to know him!