by John Eibner, a Catholic doctor working for Christian Solidarity International (CSI)
At first glance, there was nothing unusual about 11-year-old Jonkor: He was sitting under a tree, one of nearly 100 other slaves. He was ragged, dirty, and somewhat listless after being released from his Arab master. But when Jonkor stood up, my eyes fixed on him in horror.
On his shin, Jonkor had an open, festering wound the size of a fist. The injury was not fresh. Jonkor said two years before, his master had beaten him on the leg. The wound never healed but got steadily worse. By this time, he had given up trying to flick away the flies that competed day and night for a place on the puss that covered raw flesh.
Jonkorís spirit had also been damaged by seven years in bondage. He was forced to respond to the name ìAbdullah,î and his master threatened him, saying: ìIf you will not pray like a Muslim, I will kill you.î Jonkor obeyed
We took Jonkor back to our camp and cleaned the wound. I thought the leg might have to be amputated. The infection had reached the bone. The next day, we transported Jonkor about 50 miles to CSIís field clinic where he could receive food, shelter, and treatment. We left, hoping and praying that his leg might be saved.
Three months later, I returned to the clinic and found Jonkorís leg healed. We flew him back to his home area where Arab slavers had raided his village and had taken him from his family.
As Jonkor climbed down the steps of the plane, a woman darted towards him. She threw her arms round him with loving hugs and kisses. It was Jonkorís mother, Amam.
She said, ìI am so happy, I am lost for words to describe my feelings. Today is a day of celebration for me. For years, Iíve been coming whenever an aid flight arrives. Since we were separated, not one day has passed when I havenít thought of Jonkor. When I learned that CSI would visit today, I decided to keep watch at the airstrip. Thank God my hopes have been fulfilled.
Jonkor is reunited with this mother. She has been waiting for him for seven years ñ ever since slave traders raided their village. Another son was murdered in the attack, while her husband was wounded and later died..