Support the Café

Search our Site

Good wins out in the end

Good wins out in the end

Back in the days of armed turmoil in Sierra Leone, Madeline Albright was photographed holding a small girl whose arm had been chopped off by a local militia who regularly maimed the civilian population in a bid for power. The girl, whose full name is now Memuna Mansaray McShane, is the subject of an essay by Nicholas Kristof that reminds us that sometimes good wins out quickly.

“Those wrenching images of this girl, whose arm was amputated after she was shot, and other children whose limbs were hacked off by the militia built the global political will to intervene and end Sierra Leone’s civil war (Britain did the heavy lifting). I had been fascinated by the girl as an example of the power of individual stories to help end mass atrocities — and then I heard, from Albright, that she is now an American.

I dropped by her home in Washington and found 15-year-old Memuna Mansaray McShane, a wonderfully adjusted high school freshman who plays on her school’s varsity soccer and basketball teams.

‘In basketball, you only use one arm,’ she explained. She paused for a moment, and then acknowledged: ‘Except to shoot or catch the ball.’ Another pause and a sheepish smile: ‘I guess that’s a lot.’

She added defiantly: ‘I can do anything people with two arms can do. Except monkey bars.’”

Rotary International brought Memuna to the United States when she was four years old where she was adopted by a former Peace Corp volunteer who had served in Sierra Leone. Her new family gets much of the credit for how she was able to overcome such a horrific childhood trauma.

Read the full account here.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Wonderful story: *thank you* for bringing it to us.

JC Fisher

Jim Naughton

Memuna goes to school with my son, Chris. They were just in a dance recital together. She is an amazing child.


Tis another technicality, but Memuna Mansaray McShane lost her arm after she was shot by the militia in an attack. She lost her arm because she had to wait for three days at the hospital before receiving any care. Her story is still incredible and inspiring, and yes, good does indeed win out in the end.

Lois Keen

When I was visiting in Sierra Leone three years ago, on our first day we were taken for a drive along the beach near Freetown. I saw some people playing soccer and then I SAW those people playing soccer. Every one of them was an amputee, survivors of the war. So many of them in one place…That was only the first day of our week in Sierra Leone.

Mary Caulfield

I hate to nitpick, but the possessive pronoun is “whose,” not who’s. It’s a minor copyediting issue, but really distracting in light of the seriousness of the subject. (You don’t have to post this message if you just want to fix the error.)

(Fixed: thanks Mary. Ed~)

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café