Following God One Step at a Time

Out of Africa

on June 24, 2016

This is my book review of “Friendship” by Francis Mandewah.

Book  CoverFriendship

This is a memoir that reads like an adventure story.  It is written by a new author, Francis Mandewah, who writes about his life as a child in Africa, and how his life changed forever.  He then covers his life up to the present.

This is a fascinating story! 

I was delighted by the author’s description of how the people in his village received the news.  They had no newspaper, no radio.  They had a town crier, who would signal for attention, and as everyone stopped to listen, he announced the news for the entire village to hear!

I found myself uplifted by this story.

I wanted to cheer him on, and tell him, “Don’t give up”.  Francis has a tenacity and hope that serve him well, but he needs some help, and finds it in surprising ways.  He is helped by a nun and by a pilot from the United States.  He accepts this help joyfully, even as he accepts the circumstances of a life in Africa, poor and fatherless.  His father died while Francis was still an infant.  To his mother’s credit, she finds ways for Francis to attend school.  School is the step up he needed to have hope of a better future.

The author’s mother, needing a way to support her family without her husband, has a small farm where she grows coffee, cacao, bananas, kola nuts, cotton, pineapple, peppers, and okra.  I was amazed at the variety of what she grew!  She also had chickens for eggs.  Breakfast was often several bananas. The family lived without electricity, without running water, using a stream for water, and a community latrine.

This is such an encouraging book.

By the end of the book, I was encouraged myself, to find ways to give to others, sharing the blessings I have had in my life.  As a result, my husband and I added another child sponsorship to our giving.  This child we have sponsored lives in Africa, too.

I say, “Thank you” to Francis Mandewah for writing this story about his life.  It is encouraging to others, to hope for a better future, to accept their circumstances, but to look for and be ready for new opportunities.  The author’s courage is evident as he travels alone, where he has never been before.  Also evident in his story, is the importance of prayer in his life.  He learned to pray in elementary school.

I hope you will read this book!  It is a very interesting true story, that keeps your interest throughout.  It will encourage you and surprise you. 

I wrote to the author after I had started reading his book.  I said to Francis, “God evidently had his eye on you, as well as the sparrow.”

You can see more about this book and purchase it in Kindle format or paperback at

I did receive a free copy of this book from Netgalley, so that I could do an honest review for you.



3 responses to “Out of Africa

  1. Janet – Thank you for reviewing of my book and posting your reviews on Amazon and at your Blog.

    Since Tom Johnson, the white man who came to my country – Sierra Leone – who was employed to fly boxes of gems and alluvial diamonds in Sierra Leone befriended me and laid the foundation for me to come and settle in the United States, I had always felt the moral urge and obligation to share my miraculous story with the public, particularly with my fellow Christians.

    My story is about the power of God, and how He used a selfless and altruistic stranger as one of His instruments and servants to rescue a Black boy (me) from physical abuse and bondage, and gave the boy the opportunity that brought the boy to America.

    My book is relevant in today’s society because of the ongoing racial issues involving immigration in this society. I hope my book would appeal to people who like stories about the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and the sustaining power of friendship, hope it would appeal to travel enthusiasts, adventurers, and people interested in other people’s cultures, and hope it appeals to civil rights advocates and to people who are working for racial justice and equality..

    It was a White man who paved the way for me to come to America so I can realize the American dream. Our Friendship transcended race, and has built a positive connection between the races. We can overcome racism through friendship and positive cross-cultural relationships.


    • Francis, you have written a wonderful book about your amazing life, and about the goodness of God. Your story inspires people to help others in need, and gives hope to those who find themselves in need. Thank you for commenting here about your reason for writing this book.


  2. As a lawful immigrant in the United States I wish to express my appreciation on the eve of this July 4th, 2016 for the enormous opportunities this nation has to offer me, and I wish to further express my heartfelt gratitude to the American white man – Tom Johnson – who came to my country – Sierra Leone – in 1976 and befriended me. Tom changed my life for the good… He rescued me, a poor African boy from bondage and modern slavery and gave me the opportunity that paved the way for me to arrive and settle at my dreamed destination — in America.

    I was inspired to write my memoir / adventure book titled – FRIENDSHIP: A True Story of Adventure, Goodwill, and Endurance – because of the miracles that God has continued to perform in my life since I was a 15-year old boy in Sierra Leone.

    In the mist of my hardships while selling oranges at a predominantly white social club at the National Diamond Mining Company NDMC headquarters, I miraculously met an American pilot from Milaca, Minnesota, who was employed to fly boxes of gems and alluvial diamonds in Sierra Leone, from Yengema to Freetown where a British Airways jet would fly the gem stones to London. This American pilot met me, and befriended me, and changed my life forever. This was two decades before the brutal and savagery rebel war during which rebels took over the diamond mines and before the Hollywood movie BLOOD DIAMOND.

    My memoir book is about the power of God… Tom could have met any other poor African boy that day I met him, but God chose me and He positioned Tom to meet me that day. Tom changed the odds against me when he voluntarily chose to be my friend and chose to pay my school fees at a catholic boarding school thereby giving me opportunity to education.

    Upon graduation from high school in 1981 and with Tom’s continued friendship and generosity, I decided to give myself a challenge to prove to Tom that I am worthy of his support to America, so I set myself a challenge — going through the Sahara Desert to Italy, on my own, which almost cost me my life. With Tom’s support, I boarded an overcrowded lorry for Bamako, Mali, and crossing the mighty River Niger, I gazed out at the road leading to the ancient historical city of Timbuktu.

    The harrowing trials and tribulations and experiences I encountered and endured while trekking through rugged and desert terrain from West Africa to North Africa through the Sahara Desert inspired me in part to write my memoir. My challenges obviously continued in Europe and other places, including Algeria, Tunisia, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, England and in America. But through it all, my sustained perseverance and deep faith gave me the courage and the determination to keep moving forward during these experiences.

    I am truly grateful to be in America on this July 4th 2016 Independence day – the year I published my memoir / adventure book. I have to flash back to 1984 when I was in France when I stood at the SSquare of the Place de la Bastille in the heart of Paris, and gazed at and reflected on the historical significance of the site I was standing on in Paris.

    In spite of her imperfections, each time I enter the United States and I gaze at the Statute of Liberty on Ellis Island triumphantly welcoming me to America, I become emotional and grateful to be in America!

    Thank you Janet for reviewing my book.

    Francis Mandewah


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