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For my Friend Lincon

Organized by: Abraham Jarwee

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THE STORY:

....we watched men with guns, searching for us and the other hidden ones." I was quiet, not moving. I felt my Grandmother near and was comforted. The sweet smells of the deep forest and the bad ones were inhaled together as we watched men with guns, searching for us and the other hidden ones. The rebels, we called them. Gunfire in the distance had warned us, and we fled our village, seeking refuge in the forest again. Since I had been handed to my Mother after birth and then to my Grandmother, war had been the rhythm of my life, a civil war I would not understand until much later. This conflict would continue throughout my childhood and into my teenage years. I closed my eyes at the sounds of shouts and struggle. The robbing and beatings would come next. I had seen this. The killing, I knew of as well. I wanted to live. I wanted to go to school. In this time of war though, education was secondary to survival. I didn’t want to be hurt or be taken from my Grandmother and forced to be a small soldier with a big gun. I wanted to go home and catch a big catfish for our dinner and swim in the river. Just as I knew war, I knew hunger. It was with me often, and I was hungry now. I hoped the rumbling of my stomach would not betray us. In our rush, there had been no time to pack. We had no food, and there would be no clean drinking water here. Even when I wasn’t hiding, food was often scarce. Sometimes, for days I would have nothing to eat. I had eaten leaves gathered from the forest before, and I knew I could do so again. I have eaten things to stay alive that even the craziest man would refuse. I did it though, because Grandmother had nothing else. She’s a quiet and loving woman who has never liked a conflict. We traveled together during the war, she as hungry as I, walking for days with few supplies, seeking safety and refuge by joining people in other villages. Many of those we saw along the way carried heavy loads on their heads and small children on their backs, often in the rain. As parents would yell to their children who were walking, telling them to hurry, those little ones would cry, and I knew they were hungry and tired like me. I wished to stretch my cramped legs now and to pull the thorns from my bare feet. I had no shoes, and sometimes as a child, no clothes. The mosquitoes were thick around me. I couldn’t hide from them, and they added to my misery. As darkness fell, a temporary peace returned. The rebels had tired of their game for now. The danger remained though, so we would not return home for a time. Thunder signaled trials of a different kind. I quickly tended to my feet and helped Grandmother create a shelter for us and the other children, using palm tarches we gathered. We lay together in the blackness on a blanket she had thought to bring as the rain began to pour from the heavens. My name is Abraham Lincoln Jarwee. I am simply called Lincoln. On the first day of the first month of a new century, I was born. The year was 1990. I was named for a man who spoke for the freedom of slaves and who believed that all men are created equally. His name was given to me by my uncle, an uneducated man who had lived in a small village his entire life, and yet had come to know of the good will and leadership of this great American president. I feel the weight of the name I bear. I am now 24 years old. I am humble and teachable, willing to submit to good things. My survival to this point is miraculous to me. I feel sadness as I remember these experiences, but I tell myself that I must face sorrow and hardship with courage. Someone once told me they had noticed that I like to smile. I suppose that is true. Who am I to complain, and to whom would I send my complaints? I am as happy as I choose to be. I’m in darkness once again, in West Africa. To be precise, I’m in a tiny room in Monrovia, Liberia, not yet able to sleep. I am sending my words more than 6000 miles to my friend, another grandmother, living in the United States. She knows me well, but still asks many questions. “What is a palm tarch?” I explain, and she tells me that she calls them palm fronds or branches. “How does a fishing basket work?” I tell her that we make them from palm tarches and that once a fish finds the way in, there is no escape. She says she’d like to see a fishing basket, but that she doesn’t eat fish often. I find this surprising. “Have you eaten anything today?” It seems that the grandmothers I know are all alike in their concern for my well-being. I often eat at least one meal, mostly rice, each day. Two is better, but not always possible. I remind my friend that sometimes an adult must go hungry so that children can eat. With the upheaval of war, there is always a cost on a personal level. For me, part of that cost was my education. I longed for peace and stability so I could learn. Even at a young age, I was curious about the world around me. I owned no books and had little access to them through others. I wanted to know more, but those who could teach me were consumed with their own survival and time spent in school was infrequent. The few school buildings in my village were poor, and the teachers were often untrained at best, and uninterested in my progress, at worst. I recognized that if I were to learn, it would have to be simply because I felt it would be of value to me to do so. There were few who cared enough to be certain this happened. When I was 13, I left my Grandmother in Tubmanville to live with an aunt in Monrovia, the capital city, and attend school. I knew I needed more of an education than I had the opportunity for in the village. I sold used clothing, walking from one community to the next, to earn money to pay my school fees. I continued this when the school day was over, which was difficult because I was tired and needed to study. My mind became more open at this point in my life, and I often thought of the importance of becoming someone good in society. I wanted to learn and improve every day. After my 16th birthday, my friends Samuel and Mai Sayon, who also lived in Monrovia, invited me to stay with their family and help them with the housework. Since that day, their four young children have come to love me and to see me as their brother. I love this family and am very grateful to them. I graduated from Sarah Barclay High School in 2010. It was not an easy goal to reach. I have since served a church mission for several years in Ghana. Since my return to Monrovia and to the Sayon family, I spend my days doing chores and serving others when I can, while remaining hopeful that I will find employment and opportunities to further my education. Often, before the sun is up, I am fetching water, a long walk with a wheelbarrow from the small house we're renting on the outskirts of the city. I heat water each morning so the children can have a warm bath. I wash all the clothes by hand in a big tub and hang them to dry. I iron, clean the house, help the children, and sometimes I cook. I am paid with the love of a family, a roof over my head, and food when I am hungry, if possible. When the sun has set, it is my mind that is busy, thinking and planning until sleep takes me away. I know that with work, dreams can become a reality. As a man now, it is my great desire to find a way to support myself and at some point, a family of my own. While my parents gave me life, they could not give me money. There was none to give. I have very little, but I am optimistic by nature and since I do not want my future children to suffer as I have, I must plan carefully and work hard. Liberia is still very much devastated because of the war. Jobs are few and often are given to those with more training and qualifications than I currently have, or to the ones who can pay bribes. Bribery is nearly as common in Liberia as are mosquitoes. I don’t care for either, but both are a reality here. To be able to further my education I am searching for a loan, a scholarship, or a sponsor to help me pay for a university education in the US or if that’s not possible, here in Liberia. If you feel you could help me, even in a small way, it will be greatly appreciated since this goal is currently beyond my reach. I have also considered opening a small business not far from where I live to earn money for my education, but even that takes more funds than I now have, to begin. It is difficult to ask for help, so I rarely do. I will work hard if given the chance. Thank you. Sincerely, Abraham Lincoln Jarwee My young friend Lincoln has been doing everything within his power to reach his goals for quite some time now, and yet, the opportunities that would bless his life are still far beyond his means. When he came to me recently, asking for help in writing and sharing part of his story that I'm familiar with, I told him I'd be pleased to. The result of our joint effort is the letter you just read. Lincoln's positive attitude as he faces an uncertain future, continues to impress me. He's kind, lives his life carefully, and has chosen to avoid habits that could cause him harm. He seems like an old soul, blessed with wisdom beyond his years. Facing the harsh realities of life at a tender age has taught him to value what is often taken for granted. To come to the US and attend a university here, he would need a student visa. To qualify for one, he must have a sponsor who’s willing to pay his tuition for one year. However, by the terms of a student visa, he would only be allowed to work on campus for 20 hours during the two semesters he’s attending school and for 40 hours on his break semester. The money that could be earned from an on campus job, within those limitations would not be enough, in most cases, to cover his tuition for future semesters so he would need help beyond that first year. He currently doesn’t have a particular university in mind, although he’s interested in medical and computer technology fields of study. A degree obtained in the US would be well respected when he returns home to Liberia, and it’s likely he would find a job to support himself and his future family. Lincoln is aware of the enormity of the costs of a college education in the US. The numbers we discussed were quite shocking for one who spends about a dollar a day for food. Our search together for international scholarships that he meets the requirements for has helped us both understand that there is fierce competition for the limited number available, and so far, he hasn't been one of the fortunate few. He knows he’s not the only one who needs help to reach a dream. The church that Lincoln and I are members of, does offer a program that allows students in developing countries the opportunity secure a loan to attend school in their home countries. Unfortunately for Lincoln, this program is not available in Liberia. He’s also considering attending a college of technology in Monrovia. He has taken the necessary exams for registration. The degree program consists of 75 credit hours that can be completed at a pace the student feels is necessary financially. Each credit hour is 19 dollars for a total of 1425.00 in US dollars. There are 40 or so dollars of registration fees per semester as well. If you’re in a position to help Lincoln with either of these options, even a little, or with starting a small business, please let me know. My e-mail address is lynhopkins817@gmail.com. I'd be happy to answer any of your questions. If you’d prefer a phone call, send me a note and I'll make that happen. I do live in the US. I know the needs around all of us are great and sometimes best wishes and prayers are all that can be offered. Those are certainly appreciated as well. If you'd like to send Lincoln a note of encouragement, I can pass it along, or you're welcome to click on the envelope icon on the right side of Lincoln's blog and send it directly to him. Have a wonderful week and thank you, from both Lincoln and I, for your time. Sincerely, Carrie Hopkins 08/11/2014 11:43AM A. Lincoln Jarwee "And upon these I write the things of my soul...." 2 Nephi 4:15 HomeMy TestimonyWhat I BelieveMy StoryMonrovia, Liberia Wednesday, June 25, 2014 "....we watched men with guns, searching for us and the other hidden ones." I was quiet, not moving. I felt my Grandmother near and was comforted. The sweet smells of the deep forest and the bad ones were inhaled together as we watched men with guns, searching for us and the other hidden ones. The rebels, we called them. Gunfire in the distance had warned us, and we fled our village, seeking refuge in the forest again. Since I had been handed to my Mother after birth and then to my Grandmother, war had been the rhythm of my life, a civil war I would not understand until much later. This conflict would continue throughout my childhood and into my teenage years. I closed my eyes at the sounds of shouts and struggle. The robbing and beatings would come next. I had seen this. The killing, I knew of as well. I wanted to live. I wanted to go to school. In this time of war though, education was secondary to survival. I didn’t want to be hurt or be taken from my Grandmother and forced to be a small soldier with a big gun. I wanted to go home and catch a big catfish for our dinner and swim in the river. Just as I knew war, I knew hunger. It was with me often, and I was hungry now. I hoped the rumbling of my stomach would not betray us. In our rush, there had been no time to pack. We had no food, and there would be no clean drinking water here. Even when I wasn’t hiding, food was often scarce. Sometimes, for days I would have nothing to eat. I had eaten leaves gathered from the forest before, and I knew I could do so again. I have eaten things to stay alive that even the craziest man would refuse. I did it though, because Grandmother had nothing else. She’s a quiet and loving woman who has never liked a conflict. We traveled together during the war, she as hungry as I, walking for days with few supplies, seeking safety and refuge by joining people in other villages. Many of those we saw along the way carried heavy loads on their heads and small children on their backs, often in the rain. As parents would yell to their children who were walking, telling them to hurry, those little ones would cry, and I knew they were hungry and tired like me. I wished to stretch my cramped legs now and to pull the thorns from my bare feet. I had no shoes, and sometimes as a child, no clothes. The mosquitoes were thick around me. I couldn’t hide from them, and they added to my misery. As darkness fell, a temporary peace returned. The rebels had tired of their game for now. The danger remained though, so we would not return home for a time. Thunder signaled trials of a different kind. I quickly tended to my feet and helped Grandmother create a shelter for us and the other children, using palm tarches we gathered. We lay together in the blackness on a blanket she had thought to bring as the rain began to pour from the heavens. My name is Abraham Lincoln Jarwee. I am simply called Lincoln. On the first day of the first month of a new century, I was born. The year was 1990. I was named for a man who spoke for the freedom of slaves and who believed that all men are created equally. His name was given to me by my uncle, an uneducated man who had lived in a small village his entire life, and yet had come to know of the good will and leadership of this great American president. I feel the weight of the name I bear. I am now 24 years old. I am humble and teachable, willing to submit to good things. My survival to this point is miraculous to me. I feel sadness as I remember these experiences, but I tell myself that I must face sorrow and hardship with courage. Someone once told me they had noticed that I like to smile. I suppose that is true. Who am I to complain, and to whom would I send my complaints? I am as happy as I choose to be. I’m in darkness once again, in West Africa. To be precise, I’m in a tiny room in Monrovia, Liberia, not yet able to sleep. I am sending my words more than 6000 miles to my friend, another grandmother, living in the United States. She knows me well, but still asks many questions. “What is a palm tarch?” I explain, and she tells me that she calls them palm fronds or branches. “How does a fishing basket work?” I tell her that we make them from palm tarches and that once a fish finds the way in, there is no escape. She says she’d like to see a fishing basket, but that she doesn’t eat fish often. I find this surprising. “Have you eaten anything today?” It seems that the grandmothers I know are all alike in their concern for my well-being. I often eat at least one meal, mostly rice, each day. Two is better, but not always possible. I remind my friend that sometimes an adult must go hungry so that children can eat. With the upheaval of war, there is always a cost on a personal level. For me, part of that cost was my education. I longed for peace and stability so I could learn. Even at a young age, I was curious about the world around me. I owned no books and had little access to them through others. I wanted to know more, but those who could teach me were consumed with their own survival and time spent in school was infrequent. The few school buildings in my village were poor, and the teachers were often untrained at best, and uninterested in my progress, at worst. I recognized that if I were to learn, it would have to be simply because I felt it would be of value to me to do so. There were few who cared enough to be certain this happened. When I was 13, I left my Grandmother in Tubmanville to live with an aunt in Monrovia, the capital city, and attend school. I knew I needed more of an education than I had the opportunity for in the village. I sold used clothing, walking from one community to the next, to earn money to pay my school fees. I continued this when the school day was over, which was difficult because I was tired and needed to study. My mind became more open at this point in my life, and I often thought of the importance of becoming someone good in society. I wanted to learn and improve every day. After my 16th birthday, my friends Samuel and Mai Sayon, who also lived in Monrovia, invited me to stay with their family and help them with the housework. Since that day, their four young children have come to love me and to see me as their brother. I love this family and am very grateful to them. I graduated from Sarah Barclay High School in 2010. It was not an easy goal to reach. I have since served a church mission for several years in Ghana. Since my return to Monrovia and to the Sayon family, I spend my days doing chores and serving others when I can, while remaining hopeful that I will find employment and opportunities to further my education. Often, before the sun is up, I am fetching water, a long walk with a wheelbarrow from the small house we're renting on the outskirts of the city. I heat water each morning so the children can have a warm bath. I wash all the clothes by hand in a big tub and hang them to dry. I iron, clean the house, help the children, and sometimes I cook. I am paid with the love of a family, a roof over my head, and food when I am hungry, if possible. When the sun has set, it is my mind that is busy, thinking and planning until sleep takes me away. I know that with work, dreams can become a reality. As a man now, it is my great desire to find a way to support myself and at some point, a family of my own. While my parents gave me life, they could not give me money. There was none to give. I have very little, but I am optimistic by nature and since I do not want my future children to suffer as I have, I must plan carefully and work hard. Liberia is still very much devastated because of the war. Jobs are few and often are given to those with more training and qualifications than I currently have, or to the ones who can pay bribes. Bribery is nearly as common in Liberia as are mosquitoes. I don’t care for either, but both are a reality here. To be able to further my education I am searching for a loan, a scholarship, or a sponsor to help me pay for a university education in the US or if that’s not possible, here in Liberia. If you feel you could help me, even in a small way, it will be greatly appreciated since this goal is currently beyond my reach. I have also considered opening a small business not far from where I live to earn money for my education, but even that takes more funds than I now have, to begin. It is difficult to ask for help, so I rarely do. I will work hard if given the chance. Thank you. Sincerely, Abraham Lincoln Jarwee My young friend Lincoln has been doing everything within his power to reach his goals for quite some time now, and yet, the opportunities that would bless his life are still far beyond his means. When he came to me recently, asking for help in writing and sharing part of his story that I'm familiar with, I told him I'd be pleased to. The result of our joint effort is the letter you just read. Lincoln's positive attitude as he faces an uncertain future, continues to impress me. He's kind, lives his life carefully, and has chosen to avoid habits that could cause him harm. He seems like an old soul, blessed with wisdom beyond his years. Facing the harsh realities of life at a tender age has taught him to value what is often taken for granted. To come to the US and attend a university here, he would need a student visa. To qualify for one, he must have a sponsor who’s willing to pay his tuition for one year. However, by the terms of a student visa, he would only be allowed to work on campus for 20 hours during the two semesters he’s attending school and for 40 hours on his break semester. The money that could be earned from an on campus job, within those limitations would not be enough, in most cases, to cover his tuition for future semesters so he would need help beyond that first year. He currently doesn’t have a particular university in mind, although he’s interested in medical and computer technology fields of study. A degree obtained in the US would be well respected when he returns home to Liberia, and it’s likely he would find a job to support himself and his future family. Lincoln is aware of the enormity of the costs of a college education in the US. The numbers we discussed were quite shocking for one who spends about a dollar a day for food. Our search together for international scholarships that he meets the requirements for has helped us both understand that there is fierce competition for the limited number available, and so far, he hasn't been one of the fortunate few. He knows he’s not the only one who needs help to reach a dream. The church that Lincoln and I are members of, does offer a program that allows students in developing countries the opportunity secure a loan to attend school in their home countries. Unfortunately for Lincoln, this program is not available in Liberia. He’s also considering attending a college of technology in Monrovia. He has taken the necessary exams for registration. The degree program consists of 75 credit hours that can be completed at a pace the student feels is necessary financially. Each credit hour is 19 dollars for a total of 1425.00 in US dollars. There are 40 or so dollars of registration fees per semester as well. If you’re in a position to help Lincoln with either of these options, even a little, or with starting a small business, please let me know. My e-mail address is lynhopkins817@gmail.com. I'd be happy to answer any of your questions. If you’d prefer a phone call, send me a note and I'll make that happen. I do live in the US. I know the needs around all of us are great and sometimes best wishes and prayers are all that can be offered. Those are certainly appreciated as well. If you'd like to send Lincoln a note of encouragement, I can pass it along, or you're welcome to click on the envelope icon on the right side of Lincoln's blog and send it directly to him. Have a wonderful week and thank you, from both Lincoln and I, for your time. Sincerely, Carrie Hopkins

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