The Horrors of War in Sierra Leone

Task 1: A person who suffers from cultural inequality - Stephanie Hoban

Chuku Manseray is a 16 year-old girl from Sierra Leone in West Africa, and she is the victim of cultural inequality. She now lives in the United States with her father because rebel soldiers burned her home. The rebel factions use children as soldiers because they are easily found and easily killed. The rebels took three of Chuku’s friends. She relates, “When they came, they just find kids like us, and just rape, just kill. When they catch you, they going to give you drugs, like they gonna inject you to become one of them” (Beyond the Fire). According to Chuku, one day a little boy holding a machine gun longer than himself came to Chuku’s house and demanded one million dollars from her family because the rebels knew that her father worked in the U.S. When Chuku’s family said that they could not give them the money, the boy soldier told them, “You wait for us here, we’re going to kill you here, we’re going to burn you, everybody going to die” (Beyond the Fire). Of course, Chuku and her family ran and hid in a neighbor’s house and had to watch while the rebels burned down her house. The family lost everything. Having nothing left, they took a boat to Guinea. She remembers that it took “six days on the water. We were just throwing up. I was sick. The boat was so full of people. You can’t even step your foot, you’re going to step on someone. Everybody just want to jump in the boat and go to a safe side” (Beyond the Fire). Her mother had to be left behind because the boat was too full, so Chuku went with her grandmother, cousin and sister. Eventually the Guinea government was persuaded to allow the boat to land. At the end, Chuku made it to the U.S. with financial help from her father. She was one of the lucky ones.

Rebel Soldiers in Central African Republic
Children soldiers

Works Cited

Beyond the Fire. Prod. Sesh Kannan. Perf. Chuku Manseray. Beyond the Fire: Teen Experiences of War. Free Range Graphics, 2004.

Web. 27 Oct. 2010.

Hdptcar. "Rebel in Northern Central Africa" Digital image. Humanitarian and Development Partnership Team in the Central
African Republic. Web. 28 Oct. 2010.

Wereldomroep, Radio Nederland. Sierra Leone. Digital image. N.p., 3 Dec. 1999. Web. 10 Oct. 2010.

Task 2: A person or group that tries to fight against this type of inequality - Stephanie Hoban

Dr. Christiana Thorpe has an admirable track record of helping the people of Sierra Leone overcome the cultural inequalities that they have faced everyday. Even as a young child, Dr. Thorpe helped those in need. Everyday she witnessed girls as young as 16 years old with two, even three children, all desperately hungry, so Dr. Thorpe, as poor as she herself was, would give them her lunch. Dr. Thorpe recalls, “I want[ed] to be in a place where I could concentrate in educating girls; to help them get out of this, what I will call, a form of slavery” (Davies-Venn). This type of selflessness coupled with fierce determination endured throughout her life. In fact, she even sacrificed her life as a nun in order to help the daughters of the poor. Since she had “pledged that she would not rest until the present 70 percent illiteracy rate among women in Sierra Leone dropped significantly…she walked out on the Convent, turning her back on the only world she had ever known” in order to be able to fulfill her pledge (Davies-Venn). Since that moment, she has worked tirelessly for the women of Sierra Leone. She has established schools, helped war refugees, and focused on women’s rights. However, it is an uphill battle because the “cultural strain on the girl is such that as soon a she enters puberty it's time to look for a man to get married. She's also a source of income, because she brings in dowry to the family. So these are things that kept girls from continuing their education” (Davies-Venn). Dr. Thorpe continues to work for Sierra Leone and female equality even today.
Works Cited
Davies-Venn. "Profile: Sierra Leone's Chief National Electoral Commissioner Dr. Christiana Thorpe." - World News From World Newspapers. 17 Oct. 2007. Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

"German Africa Prize Goes to Christiana Thorpe - Portrait." YouTube. African Reports Channel, 25 Sept. 2009. Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

Lockyer, Peter. "Woman and Child in Juring." N.p., 5 Dec. 2006. Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

Task 3: Connect the literature to a real life person - by Stephanie Hoban

Dr. Christiana Thorpe is very similar to Elizabeth Cady Stanton because both women have fought their whole lives for the rights of women in their country. Thorpe believes that women are in a form of slavery because they have so few options in life. Stanton, over 100 years earlier agrees. “The strongest reason why we ask [to give] woman a voice in the government under which she lives is because [she has a] birthright to self-sovereignty, because, as an individual, she must rely on herself” (Stanton). In her career Thorpe has seen what happens to women who do not have self-sovereignty and are at the mercy of the men in their lives, first their fathers and their husbands. The situation in Sierra Leone for women is similar to those of women in the U.S. 100 years earlier. “[She is] robbed of her natural rights, handicapped by law and custom at every turn, yet compelled to fight her own battles, and in the emergencies of life to fall back on herself for protection” (Stanton). Even as a child Dr. Thorpe could see what happens to girls who are denied the ability to develop their own natural abilities; they become mothers, but with no options to be anything else. Stanton argues that women can be so much more. In fact, “the most timid women have shown a courage and heroism in saving their husbands and children that has surprised everybody” (Stanton). And that description fits both Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Christiana Thorpe who showed courage and heroism saving the lives of other women.


Work Cited
Boy's, Geoffrey. Suffragette Poster. Digital image. 2009 WEA Sussex Churches The Last Hundred Years, 27 Jan. 2007.

Web. 10 Oct. 2010.

Knight, Elizabeth, and Sol Julty. ""Let Us All Speak Our Minds"" Songs of the Suffragettes. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 1958. MP3.

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady. ""Solitude of Self"" Women's Rights. National Park Service: US Dept of

the Interior. Web. 28 Oct. 2010.