A rehabilitation center for me

Avatar Pona Bana
Member since January 15, 2014
  • 68 Posts

"We tell ourselves to leave the past in the past and to only look toward the future."

My name is Mary and I am 14 years old. After joining a militia in the Kasai region, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I found refuge in a center for young girls. I dream of a peaceful future because for some months now, my province has become the battlefield of conflicts between the militias and the security forces of the government.

And who are the first victims? We, the children! Hurt, killed, deprived of education and healthcare, recruited in militias, we are the victims of this conflict which overwhelms us.

Memories of a time when all was well

I often think back on my childhood because I lament the time when my mother was still alive. She was taking care of me and, since I was the eldest, I did everything with her and I was teaching my little sisters. I was also going to school; my favorite subjects were English, French, history and mathematics. I was really happy. Now that my mother is dead and my father is gone to Angola, everything has changed.

I want to become a seamstress like my mother

The center totally takes care of me, it is my new home. Clothes and shoes are bought for me, I am fed, and I am given soap for my bath and for washing my clothes.

All the activities that we do in the center help me forget the past. We were promised that we would also be able to study. I dream of being able to study because when I do, I could become a seamstress like my mother.

She always told me that with her sewing machine, she was free and did not have to wait till the end of the month to get paid: “you make, you spend and you save”. With my sewing machine, I would also be free and I would have a better future.

A new family for looking toward the future

I feel relieved and consoled to be in the center with the other girls and the leaders. Sometimes, some of the girls at the center tell me about their dreams. I then tell them that God answers people in one way or the other. Most of the dreams are imaginary. The girls imagine a situation during the day, and in the night, they see this same situation in their dreams.

If I cannot help them, I send them to talk to the leaders who can give them better advice. Together, we also help them with our prayers. Within the center, we make a new family with the girls; we have become used to living together.

Amongst us, we give pieces of advice. We tell ourselves to leave the past in the past and to only look toward the future.

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