A Young Child’s Wisdom

Salman Conteh, pictured right, was one of the first children admitted to the Newton Interim Care Center (ICC) when it opened during the Ebola crisis in 2014. Abandoned, alone, and scared she was found at the bustling Waterloo market and brought to the ICC.  Nothing was known about her, and she was too young to remember.  Efforts to track down any relatives were unsuccessful.

 Now three years later, still at the ICC in Newton, she dreams of becoming a nurse. Salman studies hard at the Better Way Primary School to achieve her goal.  We believe she was born sometime in 2010.

A recent school assignment called for the children to write an essay about anything they wished…their favorite food, friend, or their favorite time of year…whatever they liked.  Salman’s essay stood out as its message of gratitude and fortitude were remarkable for one so young and who has experienced such hardship in life. We felt it very appropriate for this Christmas season.


There was once a poor man living in a certain village who thought all was lost for him in the world so he decided to take off and hide from the world. On that day the man happen to have three ripe banana and he took them far away to the bush. He went and climb a tree and started eating his banana. Whiles eating he was busily talking to himself saying I cannot cope with life any more.  At that same time another man who was more poorer than him came and sat under the same tree and he was feeding from the fallen peals of the banana. He was not having any cloth on and he was using leafs to cover himself.

 The man who was sitting under the tree made an appeal to the man up the tree that since he was not returning to the village, he should please give him the cloth he is wearing so he can go to town and live his life like the other human beings.  The man up the tree looked down and saw the man whose condition was worse than him, so he said to himself, “God I thank you, I never knew that there is somebody I am far better than.” The end of the story.

That was the end of the story but Salman then wrote what this story meant to her –

  • Always respect the little you have at hand and seek for more.
  • Do not ever give up in life, strive till the end.
  • Life will never be rosy at all-time difficulty must come and you have to cope.

This Christmas season let us reflect on this young child’s wisdom. 

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

–Melody Beattie

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