Monthly Archives: January 2015

I am War Child

The familiar sound of gunshots is no more. The sky is clear and there are hardly any clouds of smoke coming from burning homesteads. Military trucks that protect our camps are reducing in number. And slowly by slowly the people are moving back to their villages. To start tilling the gardens that were a source of their livelihood. To rebuild their homes that were reduced to ashes. To mourn their sons and husbands that they will not see or hug no more. To clear the streets that once connected them to their happy community. Yes the war has ended yet i still feel like a war child 

287853_10150253932753920_7532871_o

My father was taken from us to join the army, my beautiful teenage sister was taken to be a bush wife, my neighbor’s son was mutilated before all of us to make an example of all those who would try to resist recruitment, my village chief was shot to show that the rebels now had all the control, my mother is weak and feeble from all the pain and loss she has to live with. And yes i have to step up and be the provider because am now the man in the home. There is no room to feel sorry for myself, that’s what my culture dictates. Yes i am a war child

Little has been done to rehabilitate children who have been victims of war. Some have been fortunate enough to be reunited with their families while others have been left with no homes to go back to. These innocent minds have been exposed to unimaginable scenes, that the end of war doesn’t mean the end of war within their minds.

Young girls have been raped living them exposed to diseases and some ending up becoming young mothers to children whose fathers they will never know. The boys have been subjected to physical abuse and torture as they are being forcefully recruited into the army. Many families have lost their loved ones to numerous ambushes, loved ones they never get a chance to mourn, while those who survive the ambushes are left in a very sorry physical state (like the war in northern Uganda where people were amputated and mutilated). Many households end up being headed by children.

So much needs to be done to stop the wars in these children’s lives even after the war has physically ended. How do we do it? Provide counselling services to the children; having to nurse a child out of rape is not the easiest thing to deal with neither is getting past the flashing images of your father and brothers being forcefully taken away from you. Offer free medical care and testing to the children especially those who have been sexually abused. Provide education and training for these children so that there is hope for them in the near future

“Protect the Rights of Children”

When The Predator Is In My Camp

“How do you wake up in the morning and act like it’s any other day? How do you know your worth when you feel like a dirty used rug? How do you wash off all the filth and feel clean again? But most of all How do you forgive when you can’t forget?” she asked in a very lost tone as a glass like film filled her eyes. And all it took was one gentle blink, just one blink and beads of tears rolled down her face like rain drops sliding down a window pane. I can still recall that look like it was just yesterday. A look with millions of questions that the two of us could not answer, yet u could tell she desperately wanted them answered.

How do you tell someone in that state that it’s all going to be okay? How do you tell them that tomorrow is going to be a better day so let go of yesterday and move on. At this point I was really struggling to keep it all together. I had to be strong for both of us, I just had to be strong for her. “We grew up in fear of the imaginary boogeyman under our beds, in our closets or right behind our doors, every little child did because that was the cue to mama that we are sharing your bed tonight. But in my case the boogeyman was not imaginary any more. He had become so real and made my nights creepy. Every sunset drained the last hope of trust in me, every moonlight came with a fresh wave of pain and despair and yet I could not escape it. If only I had the power to make the mornings last forever…” she narrated scenes from her past, ones she wished she could forget. Yet they seemed so fresh in her mind. 

“I cried but no one answered, I wailed but no one seemed to care. They didn’t even question my puffed up eyes or my down continence. I needed compassion and sympathy but all I found was loneliness and despair. That is when it downed on me that it’s my mess not theirs, it’s my battle not theirs, a one man’s war. But how do you fight the predator within? How to you win when all your covers are known to him? My trust had been shattered, this was beyond robbing me of my innocence and tearing my flesh apart. It was cutting off my wings, silencing my voice and putting me in a cage. I would then learn to talk but not speak, hear but not listen, look but not see, my life was a dummy”

I wanted to ask but it seemed she read my mind, “Who would have believed me?” Her face shot with so much disgust. “He was my father, a loving father by day and a monster at night. Who would have believed me? He passed for father of the year and they all looked up to him. And besides how do you share that shame? It’s one thing knowing you are as dirty as a dump and another to have it labeled on your face. People just have a way of defining you by what happened. I had to live with it, it had become part of me and I knew it was the dirty secret I would carry with me to my grave but I cant, not any more. It’s eating me away, it has taken my will to live. I just can’t carry it any further because it gets heavier by the day”

My heart bled for the little girl. You could see she wanted to break out of the cage, “I am tired of surviving” she said. By now she couldn’t control the tears flooding her face. You could tell that she was crying for all the years she fought to hold back, all the times she played strong, she just let it all out. “Teach me to smile again. Give me back my wings because I want to wonder around. I don’t belong in this cage, everyday I stay bound I feel like he has won. I can’t let him win. It’s my life, it’s my turn to control what happens in the night. I want to take in the beauty of the setting sun and enjoy the quiet on the moonlight. I am tired of seeing him in my dreams, I am tired of waking up in the middle of the night with bubbles of sweat on my forehead panting like I have been at war. I don’t want to flip through the pages of the calendar without living my life”

It all starts with forgiveness, which is the only way you can liberate yourself. You may not forget but you can forgive. You don’t have to sit on the same table and break bread but you can’t let him control you either. After our long teary chat, she reached out and hugged me. “My first hug in forever” she said with a lazy smile on her face. A hug that marked a new and profound friendship. 

Say no to child abuse”

Who Am I To You

When my back is turned and am out of sight, When the sun has set and the moon has claimed its position, When the windows are closed and the curtains are drawn, When distance stands between us and the camouflage is off, Who Am I To You?

Am i the colorful petals with a scent so fresh, brightening your day; or am the thorn on the stalk pricking you every now and then, restricting your ability to embrace the complete beauty of the rose

Am i the moonlight on that dark gloomy day, lighting your path so that every step is smooth and clear; or am the creepy shadow that appears with the disappearing of the sun, following you everywhere an crowding your me-time

Am i the early morning bird, singing sweetly by your window, reminding you that everyday is a blessing from God and that my soft song is just another melody of praise; or am just the usual squeaky voice, irritably mumbling and bubbling by your window, interrupting your beauty sleep

Am i the soft calm breeze brushing your skin during your leisure walk, reminding you to be still and find peace in the fact that our God is God indeed, and that even after the storms in life, there is a place within us where calmness abides and that place is the friendship we share; or am that untimely chill, giving you that undesired shiver, causing you to cave in an build a protective wall around yourself

20141223_172647 (1)

“Words Can Be Deceiving. The Truth Always Lies In Someones Eyes”

Who am i when my back is turned and distance creates the convenient space, Who am i when the gates and stone walls create a clear barricade between us, Who am i when the hugs we share leave us staring in different spaces, The person you see when we are not smiling face to face and my heart is as real as it can be; That’s Who I Am To You