But they don’t… they show compassion and gratitude for everything they have. They don’t focus on the trauma and horror, they have endured.
They love their community and everyone in it. It’s their home and despite the horror of war, they are proud of their community.
And, all they ask for, is educational materials so they can help children and adults to live independent life’s. To give them hope that they can have a future, a future many of us in the free world take for granted.
I managed to send posters of the alphabet and numbers, thanks to AussieChildCare website.
They were so grateful to receive them. A simple poster… that’s all it meant to me. To the refugee children, it meant that someone cared.
This is Rajabu’s heartbreaking story of courage and faith, as told by him, in his own words…
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining, it’s tragic and painful, but no matter how much it hurts and tears that have torn apart my heart, I will never cease to tell the world how cruel, criminal and unrighteous it is becoming and acting on detriment of the humanity…
If the world promises to eradicate war and it’s kind of violence and inhuman acts and establish peace, I promise to shut my mouth from telling such horrible stories.
I will delete all the pages on which I have written all the bad things that the war has brought against me and my relatives and my community in my home village, in Fizi, Congo DRC.
I remember it was the evening on market day, in the next village. There was the riot of the soldiers on the market, because of tax collection by the government soldiers, and Maji-maji.
Maji-maji rebel group also came from the mountains, to collect on the same day; they started taking food of people who had just come out the bush. Where we had fled and were trying to start a normal life again.
We gathered that day on the market to barter and exchange products at the market, to make a living.
We brought a cow on the market that day, to sell for food and for school fees, as school days were starting… I cannot forget, how painful and sad for me to realise the cow was murdered and thrown into the river by rebels.
Three men, stinky, not even washing their bodies came where I and mother were. We were trying to pull the cow out of the river; they snatched the rope from my hands and took our poor cow.
When mom tried to follow after them, they took mom and our cow and led her where the rest of them were hiding with all things they that collected… They started beating mom and I clung behind her crying and crying, I was so afraid.
Oh my Goodness, when mom recognized one person who was strongly torturing her and being all exhausted, she said in low voice, “you the child of Lomba, Can you do me all this”, the man was so angry, he knew, he used to fight against my uncle for lands, and they took that land; he was so angry, took the mom’s blouse off, tied her hands, and oh gosh my, how disgraceful it was to see they started to violently drag my mom on the floor… as I could not bear seeing how her fabrics were falling off of her, took her up to the place where the rest of them were
I hustled and rushed home and met big brother told him what they did mom… brother quickly went to tell it to the chief of the village who in turn, asked for soldiers for help to go to rescue mom.
When they got there the rebels had left and Brother and the soldiers only found the moms body laid on the floor, with some parts of her body removed. They took her left breast away, removed her left eye and her left ear, and they removed her sexual organs, they cut her right thumb and took her right big toe away…almost as what they did to my father..
I was so depressed and all confused to see the mom’s dead body… almost similarly to what they did father. I was so bitter…when brother saw the body of mother in that critical condition–our mom, our only parent who could take care of us; he decided to make friendship with soldiers intending to become a soldier one day, as to revenge. He started by cooking and cleaning their clothes.
And in 1999, most unfortunately, Maji-maji came down from their camps, to invade the village. Lord, while we had nowhere to go, all the village was invaded, in a couple of minutes that morning, especially where the soldier’s camp was, and it just located next to our house.
Sister, on her way from the river, brother saw her and rushed to her, trying to protect her and intending to rush her at home, where we were, five meters away, sister was shot in her belly, and all her intestinal parts got out.
Brother trying to save the life of our only sister, 15, years old. He was trying lifting her to get her into the neighbour kitchen; brother was also shot right into his hip.
I cannot forget how our sister kept bitterly screaming and crying and loudly out for help, calling out my name “Rajabu! Rajabu! I am dying!!! Called out several neighbours names, and with her deep voice, saying, “rescue please, my blood is abundantly flowing, Rescue, neighbours! No one could go out as gunshots were still heard in the distance; she lost her life while holding onto her intestines into her hands and bending forward.
I remembered what mother said as she was always telling us stories of what happen to her parents in the Congo war in 1972, all her parents were deported. So she always said this phrase to us: “you will never remember someone who died, if the one you remained with is doing you good”.
The brother was shot in his hip, rolled onto the floor up to our mango tree, he shout out for rescue, painfully cried for help and cried and cried, none came there until the enemies found him there, worse for my brother, before they exterminate him, they started cutting parts of his body, his ears roasting it before him and giving him to eat, to eat the meat and flesh of his body… They sliced his arms and thigh flesh roasted and forced brother to eat.
Next day morning, they buried sister and brother in the same tomb…
And that evening, our neighbour took me and my little sister, Malenga, left the village, paid a boat in the next village and took us to Tanzania.
In 2000, always crying and crying at night was the life I spent, as I can call my painful childhood, and hardly wanted to go to school. My foster parents were so nice to me and my little sister, no matter the anxiety of my parents and relative was still rising almost on a daily basis
But a few years later 2002, in a corn field, all alone, seeking to commit suicide, but the endless grace of God accompanied with his Love, came to me, I heard a voice, like the voice of my father saying: “BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE, DONT BE ANGRY FOR WHAT YOU DONT HAVE”.
And without questioning myself, about what do I have, during that time of feeling worthless and alone, failing to take control over my life, I quickly completed the answer to the phrase with a strong urging revelation in my mind that, “ON THE DAY I WAS BORN, MILLIONS DIED, BUT I AM STILL ALIVE. AND IT’S A LIE TO THINK THAT I AM NOT WORTH ANYTHING AND TOMORROW HOLDS GOOD THINGS FOR ME.
In 2008, I got my diploma in Pedagogy at Lycée De la Paix, in Tanzania.
In 2015, I strongly desired to help the community heal. And in an English club meeting, where we had only a few students, Mr Kaskil, the Coordinator of CEN highly motivated both teachers and students by clearly showing us CEN’s goals towards the community. We all, in one moment, accepted to serve our own Community.
No matter the many challenges we are faced with in serving our community, teaching in crowded class, some students have it difficult taking notes standing up as we have no desks or chairs. Classrooms are hot and dusty.
But they come tomorrow to school and keep coming because they want a better future. We teachers keep coming so we can give them a better future.
We don’t need to be angry for what we don’t have, TOMORROW HOLDS GOOD THINGS. And that’s all we can do, keep on going and trying not to remember the bad things.