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BOOK FOREWORD BY SISTER ROSANNE RUSTEMEYER–  Development Director, Province of Africa, School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND)  /  Former Executive Director–US Catholic Mission Association 

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A REMARKABLE TRUE STORY FROM THE REGION MADE FAMOUS BY THE MOVIE "BLOOD DIAMOND"– Young Francis Mandewah dreamed of a better future, but saw no way out of his impoverished situation, until one day when he met a man who would change his life and affirm his faith in a God of miracles. 

Friendship: A True Story of Adventure, Goodwill, and Endurance shares the remarkable life journey of an African boy from the region made famous by the movie “Blood Diamond” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, which was nominated for five Academy Awards. That movie brought attention to a rebel war in West Africa in which “blood” diamonds, also known as “conflict” diamonds, were used to finance warlords and their activities. Two decades before the rebel war Thomas Johnson, a pilot from Minnesota, was employed to fly boxes of gems and alluvial diamonds in Sierra Leone from Yengema to Freetown, where a British Airways jet would fly the gemstones to London. This pilot met and befriended young Francis Mandewah, an impoverished Sierra Leonean boy, and gave him generous support that opened a new life of opportunity, which would eventually take Francis to America. 

“On my way home I walked in a haze. I was in shock over the miracle that had just happened in my life. That night as I settled down to sleep on my mat on the floor of my cousin’s house, I lay in the dark and prayed, 'Dear God, I can’t take any more heartbreak. Please let this be real. What did I do to deserve such a blessing? I promise to do well in school and make You proud. Please don’t let me die in my sleep tonight.’”


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