Once subsumed into Charles Taylor’s army, the boys were afforded a certain level of protection, as well as food, shelter, and a family, of sorts, to replace the ones they’d lost.Eventually Jacob joined the army so that he, too, could enjoy that protection.“I remember the day I decided to open the food house for people who were starving to come and collect rice, oil and corn meal,” he says.“Children were dying because there was no drinking water.Christopher Jacob lives in a boxy, red-brick apartment building in a low-income housing complex on Staten Island.His home is spare and immaculate; the cream-colored carpet stain-free, the furniture cheap but new.Though the complex has been dubbed “Little Liberia,” the only distinguishing feature is an informal outdoor market where older Liberian ladies sell bottles of bright red palm nut oil, bags of hot peppers and slabs of dried fish.No one knows for sure how many former child soldiers live here.
My sister took care of my ears using native leaves as medicines.” Finally, in 1998, eight years after he had fled his home, Jacob returned to Monrovia to look for his family and learned that his aunt had escaped to Ghana and a brother had made it to New York. Most live in the same anonymous housing project as Jacob.
Above an oversized flat-screen TV hangs a painting of Jesus and Mary.
The walls are otherwise bare, save a family photo by the door.
But these simple surroundings belie a complicated and horrific past.
Jacob pulls his short black dreadlocks away from his face as he begins to speak, revealing two badly mangled ears.