They used their rap and hip-hop skills to remain popular between missions. To these two gentle-hearted boys killing became a way of life. At the age of sixteen Ishmael and Alhaji were chosen to be removed from the fighting by UNICEF. Upon arriving at the rehabilitation center two boys were killed with hidden knives and guns because they were rebels. The others didn’t care that they too, were forced to fight. This didn’t come as a surprise to the workers; the kids had been doing it for most of their lives.
Ishmael entered therapy with kind young women named, Esther. After many months of vigorous therapy Ishmael opened up and finally accepted his new life. With the help of Esther and many other individuals, Ishmael found an uncle of whom his father rarely spoke about and went to live with him and his family. He was enjoying meeting his long lost relatives when he was invited to go to a conference in San Francisco for kids who survived terrifying things and wanted to educate others about it. He was chosen out of millions of kids to speak about child soldiers.
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He immediately agreed at sent his forms away to the conference officials telling them he was coming. He had problems getting a passport but that was quickly taken care of by the workers from his old rehabilitation center in an effort to help him. He attended the conference and met a kind, rich, woman who helped him and a few friends he met adjust to the city and the constant action that they weren’t used to. When he got back from San Francisco he was shocked to realize that the rebels had taken over the city.
Terrified that he would be recognized and killed or that he would have to fight once again Ishmael looked for a way out of the city. He found one and risked being one of the many shot just for being on the street. Ishmael contacted the woman he had met at the conference and she agreed to let him live with her until he could find a way to make money. Ishmael was one of the lucky people who got out of the war, some kids weren’t as fortunate. A Long Way Gone is a true story about a real boy. It’s horrifying that kids as young as nine are being forced into a war they want no part of in order to survive.