Mariama Kallon (above, left), a Sierra Leonean amputee who appeared on The Lutheran's July 2000 cover, shared her dream of becoming a professional hair braider. "God saved my life from this war, saved my hands and gave me a gift to do hair," she had said.
In February, Kallon graduated from cosmetology school and is using her gift to support herself and her daughter, Marie. Kallon runs a beauty salon and cosmetology school inside the Freetown amputee camp — passing on what she has learned to amputees, other wounded people and ex-combatants.
Kallon lost her left leg and her parents during Sierra Leone's civil war, marked by rebels' mutilation of thousands of civilians. The ELCA and the Lutheran World Federation contributed to a trust fund that helps amputees meet physical needs and receive trauma counseling.
Another Sierra Leone Lutheran, seminarian Titus Ngebeh, is still waiting for his family to join him in the United States. They were approved for asylum in February 2001, but the State Department is processing cases and issuing visas more slowly after Sept. 11.
Ngebeh's internship congregation, Grace Lutheran, West Point, Neb., continues to raise funds to support the family in a safe country, buy visa applications and secure their asylum.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers