Middle of Everywhere: Chapter 9
African Stories


Name: Bintu

Birthdate: 1973

Hometown: Freetown, Africa

Current city: Lincoln, Nebraska

Relationship status: married to man named Mohamed

Location: lives in basement apartment

Personality traits: kindhearted, quiet, loving


Has compassion and energy for others, appreciates what she can in her life. The evil inflicted upon her has not turned her into a hater. Mary Pipher, the author of The Middle of Everywhere describes Bintu as “one of the most joyful people I have ever known. Mary goes on to say that “When she enters a room, her face lights up when she sees her friends. She hugs and kisses everyone. She jokes with us all, calls us nicknames, and teases us in ways that make us feel loved by her, a great gift. Whenever I take her flowers, she kisses the bouquet and says, “I love you, sweet flowers.”

Physical Characteristics: small, round, effusive, smiles and hugs easily, wears her hair in tight braids laced with colored beads

Languages spoken: English, Krio

Religious beliefs: previously a Muslim, now a born-again Christian


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Bintu

(not actual photo)

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Bintu grew up watching soccer as many do in Africa.


Cival War Breaks out in Sierra Leone.



Bintu describes the Sierra Leone at this time as "the worstest place on earth"
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Link to More Information on the war in Sierra Leone

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As part of her business Bintu traveled to different provinces in Sierra Leone to sell cloth.


Bintu was abducted.

She was tortured by the rebels.
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She was held hostage for 8 months.

She had to do whatever the rebels told her to do such as cook for them.
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Bintu states "God kept me safe” during her time kept prisoner to the rebels.


The rebels used children as human shields.

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There was a great battle between the rebels and the West African Intervention Force.

In the chaos, Bintu managed to escape.

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She found her way to a camp in Ghana.

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After her escape Bintu tried to find her children.











She never found them.

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‍Bintu helped the orphan children (some of them amputees) in the camp in Ghana.

‍Today she hopes to save enough money to send the children in the camp to America one day.

‍Bintu remains haunted by former memories from her past yet is moving forward into the future

‍Now Bintu is working as a chef at a local restaurant in Lincoln, Nebraska.


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The evil inflicted upon her has not turned her into a hater. Mary Pipher, the author of The Middle of Everywhere describes Bintu as “one of the most joyful people I have ever known.







Bintu shares story of thousands of other immigrant refugees across the world. Although the specific details of her story may be different than other refugees, the overall effects of trauma in her past are the same as other refugees. Many immigrant refugees have haunting memories. Bintu can be overwhelmed by the tragic pieces of her memory of her capture and torture by the rebel forces. Therapy is often helpful to refugees seeking healing from painful memories. Also, simple joys in life like laughter and food are important to healing. Love, work, and communal events help immigrants upon arriving in the United States. Struggles for many immigrants include finding work and going through the application process, being able to communicate in English, and working through the pain of their past, loss of family members, to name only a few. In regards to schooling, many immigrant refugees have difficulty adjusting to the American system of schooling when they may not have had much formal education previously upon arriving in the U.S. However, many refugees have hope and aspire to become highly educated. Similar to Bintu they desire to get her college education, find a good job, and one day be reunited with her family in America.


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