The Long Journey of Francis Mandewah

Bruce Von Stiers

Francis Mandewah has written a book about his life. From being a child in Sierra Leone to world travels, to finally ending up in the U.S. Midwest, Francis has led quite a life. This book about his life is titled Friendship with a subtitle of A True Story of Adventure, Goodwill and Endurance.

In the first part of the book, Francis describes his childhood. His father died when he was an infant. He had older siblings who died tragically. Francis' childhood was filled with hard work, from shooing away birds from the rice fields to climbing trees to pick fruit. His family owned a small plantation that produced crops such as coffee, bananas, okra and kola nuts. Francis tells on having no electricity or running water in the homes of the village. And that there were communal latrines stationed throughout the village.

Going to school proved problematic so Francis was sent away to live with a cousin to attend a better school. Things didn't go so well for Francis at his cousin's. A chance meeting with an American named Tom turned things around.

Francis' story takes him through a couple of countries in Africa and then onto Italy. In between he is blessed by the graceful nature of Tom and others. Beyond friendships, Francis is given money, lodging and other gifts as he grows and matures.

Francis takes the reader through friendships and relationships he had during the course of his life and travels. You get to learn about the Italian family who takes him in and the German woman who goes on travels with Francis and ultimately wants a relationship. Francis moves the story from Europe to America, where he studies and obtains college degrees.

The old saying of “you can't go home again” is proved out as Francis describes a trip back to Sierra Leone over a decade after he left. He describes how much things had changed. And not for the better. Then he mentions the civil war that took many lives in that country after his visit there.

Throughout the book Francis goes into intricate details on specific incidents of his life. But on others he mentions only briefly. Francis mentions in passing his first American girlfriend, who he subsequently marries and divorces. He also lightly touches on other times and incidents in his life.

The later part of the book centers on his occupation as a probation officer and the problems he encounters there. And a criminal enterprise he unwittingly becomes involved with. And finally about the discrimination that festers to the surface during his struggles.

Friendship is an interesting book. Francis Mandewah has indeed lived an interesting life and it makes for a good read. Some of the life segments that he details could have been condensed but it seems that Francis wanted the reader to have a fuller grasp of how he grew up and his life experiences. The journey from a childhood in Sierra Leone to his current life in Ferguson, Missouri was fraught with excitement, danger and angst. But throughout the book, people seemed to have shown Francis great love and compassion. Like I said, it is an interesting book.

Friendship: A True Story of Adventure, Goodwill and Endurance is available at and other book retailers.

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© 2018 Bruce E Von Stiers