Terms Of Service
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Terms Of Service
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henry David Thoreau
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All the world lies warm in one heart, yet the Sierra seems to get more light than other mountains. The weather is mostly sunshine embellished with magnificent storms, and nearly everything shines from base to summit - the rocks, streams, lakes, glaciers, irised falls, and the forests of silver fir and silver pine.
Here ends my forever memorable first High Sierra excursion. I have crossed the Range of Light, surely the brightest and best of all the Lord has built. And, rejoicing in its glory, I gladly, gratefully, hopefully pray I may see it again.
During my first years in the Sierra, I was ever calling on everybody within reach to admire them, but I found no one half warm enough until Emerson came. I had read his essays, and felt sure that of all men he would best interpret the sayings of these noble mountains and trees. Nor was my faith weakened when I met him in Yosemite.
Of all the mountain ranges I have climbed, I like the Sierra Nevada the best.
In early 1993, when I was 12, I was separated from my family as the Sierra Leone civil war, which began two years earlier, came into my life.
I began taking pictures in the natural world to be able to show people what I was experiencing when I climbed and explored in Yosemite in the High Sierra.
I was born and raised in Liberia in West Africa. My mother is Sierra Leonean, and my father's Liberian. I grew up at a time when there was a lot of civil unrest in both countries, so when something would happen in Liberia, we'd go to Sierra Leone, and when something would happen in Sierra Leone, we'd go back to Liberia. We moved to save our lives.
The coniferous forests of the Yosemite Park, and of the Sierra in general, surpass all others of their kind in America, or indeed the world, not only in the size and beauty of the trees, but in the number of species assembled together, and the grandeur of the mountains they are growing on.
I was one of those children forced into fighting at the age of 13, in my country Sierra Leone, a war that claimed the lives of my mother, father and two brothers. I know too well the emotional, psychological and physical burden that comes with being exposed to violence as a child or at any age for that matter.
I miss my family and friends from Cali a lot. I also miss late-night business hours, hiking in the Sierra Nevada, and house boating in Gold Country. But in Ohio, housing is cheaper, everything is green year-round, and we get glorious thunderstorms. In California, I lived in a place that was infested with black widow spiders.
Sometimes people ask me how difficult the astronaut program was, but being in Sierra Leone, being responsible for the health of more than 200 people, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at age 26 - that prepared me to take on a lot of different challenges.
The places I come from have such rich languages, such a variety of expression. In Sierra Leone we have about fifteen languages and three dialects. I grew up speaking about seven of them.
The first 600 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, before you get into the Sierra Nevada mountain range, is heavy on desert. One of the things I carry with me in the desert is an umbrella. People think that's insane. It has a shiny top to it, so it looks totally ridiculous, but the difference can be 20 degrees.
Over the years, the diamond industry has had a devastating impact in countries such as Sierra Leone, Angola and the Congo, where profits from the sale of diamonds have been used to fund brutal wars, with disastrous effects on local communities.
I want to go to Sierra Leone with something - whether it's some sort of contribution to healthcare, or to the entertainment industry. My cousin is a nurse; we are talking about opening a clinic.
I think they do have to get it right in Sierra Leone. There has to be something in there now to establish confidence, to stabilize the situation, and then to move to some sort of political negotiations.
Ishmael Beah was born and spent his childhood in Sierra Leone as that sad but beautiful West African country was ravaged by a civil war that left some 50,000 dead between 1991 and 2002. He was a child soldier for a while, then, through extraordinary circumstances, was set free of that life.
I grew up in Sierra Leone, in a small village where as a boy my imagination was sparked by the oral tradition of storytelling. At a very young age I learned the importance of telling stories - I saw that stories are the most potent way of seeing anything we encounter in our lives, and how we can deal with living.
Whenever I speak at the United Nations, UNICEF or elsewhere to raise awareness of the continual and rampant recruitment of children in wars around the world, I come to realize that I still do not fully understand how I could have possibly survived the civil war in my country, Sierra Leone.
No one else will really care, but I missed the wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Also the war in Chechnya.
The best largemouth bass fishing I've ever encountered was at Lake Huites, a vast impoundment on the outskirts of the Sierra Madre Occidentals in Sinaloa, Mexico.
There is something universal in the theme of a man trying to save his family in the midst of the most terrible circumstances. It is not limited to Sierra Leone. This story could apply to any number of places where ordinary people have been caught up in political events beyond their control.
However, I think, first of all, that what's happening in Sierra Leone is going to have the great influence on those governments who will be asked to provide forces to the Congo. Second, of course, the Security Council has no professional military advice organized in any way.
Everyone thinks I have a coffee plantation in Sierra Leone, but I have a cashew crop project. I wrote about a woman who owns a coffee plantation! When you are talking about a woman writer coming from a hot country, there's a complete assumption that she is writing about her own life.
I guess what I'd like to say is that people in Sierra Leone are human beings, just like Americans. They want to send their kids to school; they want to live in peace; they want to have their basic rights of life just like everyone else. I think we all owe an obligation to support people who want to do that.
From Mozambique to Chad, South Africa and Liberia, Sierra Leone to Burkina Faso, feminism is the buzzword for a generation of women determined to change the course of the future for themselves and their families.
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