My life in this part of the world isn't what most of you dream of. I don't know running water or the convenience of a personal refrigerator . Of these, we only hear . Everyday at dawn begins my walk for school. Mr Bishikwa always says: Knowledge is the beginning of freedom, and the foundation bricks to a brighter future.
I am very fortunate, mr Bishikwa is one of the last to resist the death wish of this atrocious war. My father abandoned us around the time the hostilities started. Needless to say I don't know him. My twelve years of earth pilgrimage has only known violence and men in spotty clothes carrying annihilation sticks. My quick legs always went for a run if I ever caught sight of these soldiers.
I helped my mother, I have two younger brothers and it was my responsibility to gather our daily bread. Every now and then, on our way back from school , Esta, Florence and I would stop by the wild field and harvest the best cassava leaves it had to offer.
That afternoon in the field was no different than any others we had spent there before. Little did we know, hidden under the tall grass, a destiny breaker was hunting us down . We had become the preys. Watching at first, silently the soldier came out of hiding and yelled for us to stand still. Ignoring his words and without a second thought I ran. Florence and Esta got away , but in my crazy race I couldn't avoid the books I had left on the floor, the knowledge made to brighten my future and I fell. I yelled, yelled my lungs out. Nesta, mama eh Florence.....
They would not come back
How could I blame them? They ran for their lives. A giant had come for us. I hadn't been able to escape.
I was on the floor head down. I felt his muggy hands on my left leg, I kicked it off, I fought backbut he was stronger. Like I was a feather he easily turned me around so I could be facing him laying on my back .My head banging the ground, while he did. I begged him to let me go. I won't tell. Do not to kill me.I won't tell. I didn't know that my body was about to become a battlefield. A means to scatter fear and destruction, break spirits, trampling the symbol of progeny. The future.
He pulled my skirt down so hard, he tore it. I cried, this felt so wrong. Was it the way it felt to die? He let his heavy, nauseating body fall on mine and press down on my lungs. I could barely breath. Oh God make it fast, take me with you, take me away from this.
I was being torn apart. The pain in between my legs, as if a heated knife was used inside me. I screamed. Punching on his head, on his chest, and when he put his hand over my mouth, I bit him as I hard as I could. I was expecting death and felt I was going through every stages of it. Time seemed suspended. And when what I thought to be my last breath came out of my traumatized body, he got up, pulled back his pants and without a word spat on me and went the other way. Just like that.
I didn't get up right away. I tried to fix my skirt the best I could. My underwear was completely destroyed. I left it there. When I finally managed to get up, my knees were shaky, they could flinch at any moment, my body suddenly too heavy for them. I felt the blood running down the inside of my thighs and cleaned it up with a cassava leaf.
I went back home.....
My mother scolded at me because I didn't bring any vegetables back and because my cloths were ripped... I looked at her and tears rolled down my cheeks. I tried to tell her and she sensed it. You are not like other girls your age anymore.
I live in a part of the world where nothing is like what you dream of. I accustomed myself to the harshness of my life and had many moments of laughter and pure joy with my friends and family. I lived in the hope of a better tomorrow.
Today I am alive, but I am also dead. I tell you my story but I want to forget. I want to return to the times when I still felt hope. Where has my innocence gone to? My damnation now carries a face. My body became a battlefield.
As we speak there is a despicable war going on in the Eastern Region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Women, children, and even men are being abused and raped every day as a form of combat, it has been going on for the past 10 years. Over 6 millions have died and this under global indifference . I want to raise awareness as HUMAN RIGHTS are being violated as we speak. History is repeating itself for the worse, let's not become jaded. We can all make a change. Let's talk about it, give a voice to those that have been reduced to silence. Let's bring our leaders to react to these barbarities that have reduced thousands, millions to battlefields.