If you’ve ever felt passionately about your hometown – if you’ve ever looked around and believed in more for the place you love most, or known in your bones if you could help make things better, you would – you have something in common with Let Them LOL’s longtime friend.
His face may look familiar, he’s shared parts of his story and even visited Buffalo before, but you’re just being introduced, meet Baba. We’re so proud to feature him as part of our 2019-2020 desktop calendar because his story is so much a part of who LTLOL is and what our communities means to us.
We first met Baba shortly after our program began around ten years ago, on the first trip our co-founder and companions took to see LTLOL’s first well completed. It was on this trip where the team encountered baby Jonathan and his mother Violet, and when they realized he needed medical attention at a more equipped facility miles away, it was into our friend Baba’s car everyone piled as he raced them onward to see if Jonathan’s life could be saved. From this point, Baba became a part of Let Them LOL’s story and we had hardly any idea what a meaningful friendship had begun.
Over time, our relationship would deepen. As we got to know each other, we realized Baba’s commitment to LTLOL was something personal. As we established a children’s home and school, Baba shared with us struggles in his early days which made him feel not just compassion but great empathy with the children and communities we were working together to help empower.
Not only does he care for fellow Sierra Leoneans as neighbors, he sees himself in so many of those we care for daily as he remembers growing up without consistent access to clean water, struggling during the brutal civil war, striving to find work at an early age without his parents to provide, and much more. With all he has learned and persevered through, he works with determination to give more to the people around him. Not only that, but if you can get a true Baba laugh out of him will make your day!
Baba has been with Let Them LOL through many ups and downs. He still helps our teams safely travel from place to place, can fix nearly anything he gets his hands on, and takes impeccable care of his vehicles as he represents LTLOL in many communities and many ways. He is a part of the whole that makes our communities what they are. We’ve seen him and his family grow, and we’ve experienced real struggle together (and a shared love of chicken wings). As we spend time wading through difficulty and darkness, learning to persevere and stay the battle together, we often recall Baba’s words of hope from several years into our friendship, a summary of his life and Let Them LOL’s heartbeat: “Where there is life, there is hope.”