Osseh & Mabel's Story
Meet the family!
Osseh (Founder), Mabel (Founder) Charles, Kevin
"I can remember when I first met Abioseh Kamara. It was our first visit to Sierra Leone. The war had recently ended. UN troops crowded the streets in an effort to promote peace and we were NOT supposed to be there. We had been given warning from the US Embassy and told it was not the time to travel due to the risk of violence… the country was just too unstable. We went anyway… we had a daughter to find and there was no choice in our minds. The missionaries we stayed with told us they only knew of one man that they trusted to help us while we were there. A taxi driver. They said this man would be able to drive us where we needed to go and would make sure we were safe.
Osseh showed up that day in an old minivan. He had a smile and a quiet nature that stopped all worry in my mind.. the missionaries were right… We did feel safe. He was calm, strong, and very smart. He quickly began guiding us through the ups and downs of an adoption journey neither one of us knew a thing about. But you see that was thing about Osseh…he wasn’t afraid to learn. If he didn’t know the answer, he would find it. What he did know was how to reach anyone and everyone in that country. He also knew how to diplomatically walk through every situation with grace and heart. He was more than a taxi driver. He became our closest confidant and our troubleshooter… and trust me I got us into a LOT of trouble in those early days. ;)
Once our daughter came home, Osseh was far from forgotten. We recommended him to other families through the years that were also adopting from Sierra Leone and he gained lots of experience… not only with maneuvering through a difficult government process, but also learned to work with very stressed out U.S. families. It was a job not for the faint of heart. If you talked to every family back then, they would all say the same thing… Osseh was their saving grace… the safety in the storm… their safe place. They would also say they owed the creation of their family to him… because honestly… none of us would have made it without him.
Fast forward a few years to 2008. Osseh greeted our first mission team. Jason and I had gathered a few friends and family and we traveled back in an effort to give back somehow. Osseh was there to meet us… he was there when we made the decision to start an orphanage… and knowing we couldn’t do it without him…he tossed his hat in the ring and said “I will go”. And he did. He arranged housing, He arranged staff, he arranged government meetings and helped us get the doors open… he then helped us fight for vulnerable children who were being exploited and abused. At every turn in the bend, he was also there…he never left us. Although I am sure many times he wondered what he had gotten himself into… he never walked away. He was faithful, led by the desire to help children and trusting God would give him the tools he needed to create change in a country he loved.
Fast forward to 2011. Osseh was there when I got the news my daughter Adama had passed away. In his quiet way, he watched over me as I mourned and wrestled with God. I know his prayers over me were the only thing that got me through. He was there at the burial… in fact he planned it all… he had the stone made, he hired the grave diggers, and he stood with me as I said goodbye. He’s been standing with us ever since.
In 2012 he began working diligently with me to open the doors to adoption. With a ban in place, he helped us knock on every door, stage sit-ins with every government official, placed advertisements in every newspaper, his voice became louder and he spoke loudly for the right for every child to have a family. Eventually his persistence and prayers paid off…. and the ban was lifted. He built our Social Welfare department and trained up an incredible staff, he built a paperwork process that was sound and credible and was responsible for creating dozens and dozens of family units.
Then one day I told him I had a dream of seeing children not only adopted across the water but also placed in families within the heart of Sierra Leone… he took hold of that vision… and The Roots Project was born.
You see, so much has happened over the last 14 years… this organization has grown and moved so quickly it’s hard to not have tunnel vision… the work has been exhausting and daunting. Sometimes you work so hard, you lose sight of the obvious things… you lose sight of what got you to where you are in the first place…
Recently I was in Sierra Leone working on another project. Of course, Osseh was there… as he always is. stability I can always count on. During a meeting I was introduced to someone as “The Founder” of TRS…. it was in that moment… I realize that was not entirely true…. You see even though I may have given birth to this idea… none of it would have ever come to pass without Osseh. He is an integral part of this organization, and most don’t even realize how critical he is to the inner workings of this organization. His humbleness keeps him out of the limelight and he never asks for credit. TODAY that will change.
While Jason and I have always been known to you all as The Founders of TRS (State-Side)… It is my great honor to present Osseh Kamara to our TRS partners as The TRS Co-Founder (Sierra Leone). With this new title comes the recognition he deserves. His duties will not change as he already does everything a Co-Founder will do, but he will be given the respect and honor due in the country he loves so much. Moving forward his story will be told, his passion will be supported, and the Sierra Leone staff will recognize him as the leader of the organization they pour their hearts into. He will be working directly with our Executive Director, Francis Pyle, to ensure the vision we all have is accomplished.
We always believed one day this organization would be led by Sierra Leonians and funded by the US. We believe we are to that point and we are excited about what the future holds with Osseh spear heading the cause as he’s always done.
You see Osseh is a world changer and a culture shifter… his heart for the orphan mirrors the heart of God and there is no one with more experience than him. We are honored to watch him continue to serve… working alongside him as we begin new chapters and step into the future of TRS.
With God, all things are good. With God, all things are possible.
Congratulations Osseh on your years of tenure. Congratulations on the journey you’ve walked. We look forward to many more years to come."
Erica & Jason
TRS Founders (StateSide)