Sery Kone was born in the large port city of Abidjani, Ivory Coast. When Sery was 4 years old, his parents divorced. His father took him 1,200 away from his home and placed him with a woman in a small village by the name of Kolia. The woman that he lived with was very poor and the only way to survive was for Sery to work.
The woman was wise enough to know that children deserved an education. She insisted that the children in her home went to school. But when Kone was not in school, he would go to work, sometimes walking as much as 35 miles to a cocoa farm. He would work 10 hours. He worked hard for 6 years. Then one day he decided, “I have had enough”. He got onto a bus heading to the big city where he was born. He said to the driver, “I have no money, but my family will pay for me when we get there”. The bus driver refused and told him to get off, but he was not going back. “I would not get off,” he said. “I would not go back.” After much arguing, a kindly rider paid for his fare. Kone went to Abidjani, a two day ride, to find his family. Then he was taken in by an orphanage and worked odd jobs as he could. He lived there for 6 months.
One day, a man came up and called him by his childhood name. “I am your uncle,” said the man. Kone did not believe him and he ran away. But the man persisted in finding him.