Mangoes. It seemed fitting to begin this blog with “mangoes.” I don’t remember ever seeing a mango until I arrived in Sierra Leone, West Africa, September 2, 1969. Rosa and I had just been married on August 15. I’d been ordained to the ministry on August 17. Here we were in Sierra Leone. When we woke up the first morning in Freetown, we heard a child’s voice outside saying in Sierra Leonean Krio, “they done come from the United States of America.” By September 4 we were in the town of Kamakwie, about 175 miles from Freetown, in our house–which was in the middle of a mango grove. I would develop a love for those mangoes, and a love for the country where I first tasted them, the country of Sierra Leone.

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