Jonah Smith had spent most of his life growing up on a Manchester housing estate. Life was tough for Jonah: his mother was addicted to alcohol and he didn’t know his father. As a teenager, Jonah worked in his local corner shop to make enough money to at least feed himself. What little he had left he gave to his mother to try and keep the house running.
His mother never used the money for running the house. Jonah knew exactly what she used it for; it was obvious from the pile of cans that he would have to trample over each morning on his was to school.
Jonah decided very early on in life that he wanted to be good at something. He knew he didn’t want to be like his mother – though he loved her, he could see that her life had descended into chaos.
Jonah worked hard at school, he wasn’t always successful, but none of his reports could fault his hard work and endeavour. Jonah found that he was good at RE. This was an additional problem for him because he knew this was not a subject many of his friends took seriously. However, he found it interesting and liked learning about people from other cultures.
One particular religion excited Jonah: he was fascinated by Buddhism. On the internet, Jonah found some information about the Dalai Lama. Having read about his life story, Jonah resolved that this would be his purpose: he wanted to go to Tibet to see where the Dalai Lama lived.
Thereafter, Jonah worked extra shifts whenever he could in order to save money. He worked even harder at school to make sure that he got the best grades that he could in order to give him the best chance of getting a better job so he could save even more money.