Ishmael was recruited as a child soldier during the war between the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the Sierra Leone Armed Forces. He and other young boys were recruited by the Sierra Leone Armed Forces when the RUF started attacking the camp where they had gone to seek refuge. As a result, Ishmael and his friends were exposed to violent activities. These activities had a negative impact to the child soldiers whose attitude towards mankind changed to a violence nature. Their behaviors were as a result of the killings and torturous activities in the surroundings. As a result, they started abusing drugs while they were still young. This was also as a result of the change in their emotions.
In 1996, the children were taken by representatives from UNICEF where they were rehabilitated. Despite the hostile condition the children displayed to the volunteers, a nurse called Esther took more interest in Ishmael. Several counseling sessions caused Ishmael to change from his violent self thus resulting to the healing of the mental wounds.
Ishmael's life story gives a clear conclusion that human behavior is greatly affected by different factors such as culture, emotions and the activities one is exposed to in the surroundings.