A Long Way Gone

What was Beah's life like in the Benin home? How did the change in environment change Beah?


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When Beah and Alhaji are handed over to the UNICEF relief effort, they feel betrayed by Lieutenant Jabati. The boys are still in soldier mode when the arrive at Benin Home; when they meet other refugee children who were RUF, a fight ensues and people die. Beah and his friends are resistant to schooling and talking about their experiences. They are still in survival mode, unable to trust anyone and suffering through withdrawal from drugs. Beah and his friends take unauthorized trips to Freetown, and the staff has no choice but to start taking them into the city - but they also bribe the boys into remaining in class. This action - along with Esther's gift of a Walkman and rap tapes - is a moment where the aid workers show respect for the boys at Benin Home. Slowly but surely, with the help of their caretakers, the boys begin to open up about their time at war. When the drugs subside for Beah, his headaches return with a vengeance. It takes him a long time to be able to cope with his new surroundings, as he had gotten used to living without hope of a life on the other side of war.