‘I cannot say that I experienced war as many people have’

I wouldn’t be able to be here today if I didn’t have the support of my whole family.

My father passed away in 2018, when I was living in Boa Vista, Brazil, and I didn’t have the opportunity to return to my country for his funeral. I had to move to São Paulo. In Boa Vista I was alone, and in São Paulo I had some family members.

I’m talking about my father because of what he said when I started to study. You choose what you are going to study in your third year of high school in my country, and I wanted to study Latin, philosophy, and law, but my real passion was journalism. My father was a businessman, and he said “you want to do Latin? Okay, I will support you anyway, but I will give you an option: I would like you to choose business studies so you can come and work with me later.” The business course was a three-year technical course before going to college that covered accounting and everything else related to business. At first, I didn’t really like the idea, but I did it anyway and I ended up in love with the course I had taken. One thing I will always continue to thank him for is that I loved the course very much.

I was born in eastern Congo. My father was from there, my mother is from there, my whole family is from there. Many of my relatives still live there. In 2007 we moved to the capital, Kinshasa in 2007, because of the conflict in eastern Congo. I cannot say that I experienced war as many people have – the war where many women are raped, the war of the men, where children are forced to labour, where children end up joining the army. We lived in Goma, near the border with Rwanda, and the conflicts were in the interior of the province. Instead we had to leave the place I was born because of a volcanic eruption. We had to flee.

When I look back today, I laugh about the situation, but it was a tragic story. There were people in the city who watched the volcano’s activity and they kept us informed. One day, my mother came home and said, ‘We have go to now.’ We crossed the border into Rwanda and stayed there for a few days. When we crossed back to our country and returned home, we found out that our house had been destroyed, everything had been destroyed. My father was always traveling because his job was in international trade, and he wasn’t at home. My mother asked, ‘we don’t have anything else, what do we do?’. This was my first experience of a humanitarian crisis. I remember I saw the United Nations, the Red Cross, Caritas. They came. It’s that thing that we only see in films and documentaries.

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» ‘I cannot say that I experienced war as many people have’ | Radio Free | Radio Free | https://www.radiofree.org/2021/03/18/i-cannot-say-that-i-experienced-war-as-many-people-have/ | 2021-12-04T01:50:10+00:00
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