Postcards from the Edge
In July of 2003 I was working with my parents in our peanut farm when three Interahamwe came. They first started beating my father. After they were finished with him, they said they would take me and my mother to the forest. My father begged them to leave one of us. They decided to leave my mother but take me.
We came into a farm of beans. They told me to pick some. I decided to use the opportunity to flee, but was not successful. The first night, one of the four men raped me. The other three had other young women they had kidnapped, so I was saved from having to be raped by all four. I was raped every day by that Interahamwe for the nine months I spent in the forest.
One day, the Interahamwe learned that the chief and the King of Wakabango had gone to Bukavu and came back with another group of military, the RCD (Congolese Assembly for Democracy), which was opposed to the Interahamwe. Someone had told them that I was related to the King of Wakabango. The King is actually my father's cousin. That day, two of the Interahamwe took me deeper in the forest, completely isolated from the others. Upon arriving in the forest, they tied me to a tree and beat me. The man who tortured me was the same one who was raping me every day and whose baby I carried. I was four months pregnant.
Three months later, they saw that my health had deteriorated. I was yellow because of malnutrition. The father of my baby let me go back to my village to give birth. Before leaving, he told me that he would mark my body so I could show my uncle, the King of Wakabango. He burned me on my right arm. In March of 2004 I was freed with four other women. Four Interahamwe accompanied me to a village, Katende, located 30 kilometers from my home. The people of Katende welcomed us and sent a message to my parents, who came to pick me up. After some time, my mother and I went to see MONUC to request their assistance so I could travel to Bukavu to give birth. My health was so poor that both my life and my baby's life were threatened.
In Bukavu I stayed with my aunt. A local organization directed us to Panzi Hospital, which provides free treatment to rape victims. On July 13, 2004, I gave birth at the to a little boy who I named Moise. The hospital did not make me pay the bills after learning of my economic situation. I kept the baby because I believe it is God who has given him to me. I regret having to stop my studies as a result of this unfortunate event in my life and the war in my country. I want to go back to school so I can be certain of a better future for myself. I want to be a doctor.