Isaiah Washington: Making A Difference In Sierra Leone

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (August 9, 2007) – Isaiah Washington had a rough ride on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but his career is far from D.O.A. thanks to being cast in NBC’s highly-anticipated “Bionic Woman.”Putting all of that in perspective, however, is Isaiah’s emotional journey to the land of his ancestors, Sierra Leone, where he is trying to make a difference.“They’re drinking dirty water and kids are suffering and dying because of it,” Isaiah told Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush. “These children and children from neighboring villages were all coming to try to receive the penicillin that ended up running out of.”Joining celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Chris Tucker, Isaiah participated in a program, which uses DNA to trace one’s familial roots. After finding out his ancestors came from the West Africa country of Sierra Leone, Isaiah began his mission to help the country.Forming his own organization, the Gondobay Manga Foundation, the actor is undertaking various improvement projects, like building schools. When he traveled to Sierra Leone, he filmed his journey for a documentary about the work being done.He shared some of the footage with Billy during his interview.One of the clips showed Isaiah greeting a group of construction workers in their native language.“What are you saying to these guys?” Billy asked.“I’m saying ‘I’m very proud of you,’” he revealed. “I think I said something else about dirty feet and then I finally got it right.”But the trip to Sierra Leone wasn’t all fun and games for Isaiah, as he also explored some of the country’s historical locations, including Bunce Island, which served as the final stop for thousands before a new life of slavery.“This is the last piece of African soil that tens of thousands of people stepped on before being put in the slave ships,” Isaiah said on the video as he visited Bunce Island. “A lot of the people who were there went straight to America exclusively. That’s what Bunce Island was designed for.”Isaiah longs to have the island preserved, as an homage to those who suffered there.“African Americans from America will come and visit almost like a pilgrimage,” Billy suggested.“Absolutely. Exactly. And not only do you have the history that has been acknowledged, but I really believe that the ancestors will be at peace,” Isaiah said.

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