Profiles in Courage

Voice of America colleague Mary Motta proposed to do a series on VOA journalists who survived ordeals in their home countries, of which this is the first installment.

David Vandy went to hell and back during Sierra Leone's civil war, but always survived, and now works as music host for the Voice of America. He also writes and directs plays for the Sierra Leonean diaspora and conducts free activities at his church for youths. After leaving Sierra Leone, he started by washing cars, and was told he was a natural, and that it seemed he had done it all his life, which made him chuckle, since he was a radio celebrity in his home country.

After finally getting in contact with the Voice of America, finding an old demo tape, auditioning, waiting for six months for a reply, and then undergoing a grueling security questioning, David was finally hired, never wavering through the ordeal in his optimism and resilience.

I was also very impressed with Mary's interviewing techniques, as she really set the mood with her own energy and deep compassion for David to tell his story in vivid detail.

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