Five-year-old Maya Hughes was nearly inconsolable. Her mother, Zainab Sesay, had placed her in the care of a complete stranger, who was tasked with taking her on an international flight. And fifteen years after the unknown man escorted her from Africa to the United States, Sesay managed to find him once again.
Zainab Sesay had grown up in Sierra Leone, but had gone on to live in the United States. And in 2003 she decided to travel overseas for a six-month stay in her home country, this time with her daughter in tow. At that point, Sesay hadn’t been home for over 10 years.
But the mother-daughter trip wouldn’t go quite to plan. Sometime in the fourth month of their half-year stay, Hughes suffered a medical emergency and had to return to the U.S. immediately in order to get the care she needed. As she tweeted, “It was a life and death-type situation.”