I am from Wiaga, a small village made up of mostly peasant farmers. My brother and I are the last of six siblings (twins). We lost our father before we turned 3 years of age. We grew so lean that our ribs could be seen because of the harshness of the hunger we were going through. Our mother would sit and weep upon seeing how our young lives were wearing away.
There were clear evidence that we were going to starve to death. We became a laughing stock in the community and people started predicting that we would not make it through this abject poverty, since we were too young to handle it. As if it was a confirmation to their predictions, we were struck with a deadly chicken pox disease because of the poor sanitary conditions we were exposed to. It was so serious that we knew the end was near, because the pain was too much for our young bodies to carry. Our mother took us to the hospital but she could not afford to pay the bills. At the time, there was no insurance. Hmmm.
She begged the doctor to take care of us which he did. He gave us drugs but food to eat and take the drugs was another story. We practically begged from all our neighbours. Our mother had to resort to gari (it is made from cassava in a powder form). We ate it raw like that and took the medicine.The drug had its reactions and if I knew much about death at the time it would have been a better choice.
The struggle continued, at age 8 we heard our mother contemplating suicide. At this point at least we knew what death was. Someone going and never coming back, that is what we were told at the time.
The first thing that came to my mind was, “Who will I cry to? Who would give us the hope that food was coming?”
We confronted her with tears and she said she was going nowhere. And she said “we are together in this”.
All hope of a better a life than this was so slim. We knew it was going to take a miracle to survive, and at the time our mother taught us to pray. We were taught that one day things will change.
One day early in the morning, someone came to our house on a motor bike and quickly our mother asked us to go and greet him (Horizons Children’s Coordinator, Mr. Simon). We joined him to Sandema, a journey I will never forget. Not even in the afterlife. A journey that I can boldly say gave us life, a meaningful one, a life worth living.
We started school quickly. These are my achievements so far: