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A Piece of My Mind
March 1, 2000

A Mother's Prayer

JAMA. 2000;283(9):1109-1110. doi:10.1001/jama.283.9.1109

Our children (reportedly ages 7 and 8 years) are refugees from Sierra Leone, West Africa. The country and its people have been ravaged by a brutal civil war for more than a decade, but we know nothing of the particular circumstances of our girls. To the best of our knowledge, both children arrived at the Child Survival Center in Makeni, Sierra Leone, in 1997. I remember when we learned that their orphanage was burned down in a rebel attack, and then there was no word of the 17 children or the orphanage staff for several months. We had all but given up the children for dead. Imagine our elation when we learned they had arrived at a refugee camp in Guinea after a 90-mile trek through their war-torn country. All 17 children with their caretakers had escaped into the bush with only the clothing on their backs.

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