Postcards from the Edge
There had been a great deal of violence in our village, with constant attacks by the Interahamwe and the Congolese Assembly for Democracy (RCD), who were raping the women and looting the houses. As a response to these growing attacks, the men created a local resistance movement, known as the Mundundu 40, to defend and protect the population. It was a small movement, but well armed.
About that time, the Democratic Republic of Congo was a country divided. The east of Congo, where I'm from, was under the control of the RCD. In 2002, the RCD rounded up our village looking for members of the Mundundu 40. A major conflict erupted between the RCD and the Mundundu 40. After witnessing the number of people being killed, the Mundundu 40 gave up and fled.
Since the Mundudu 40 had departed, the RCD took advantage by killing, raping, looting and burning our homes. But the Mundundu 40 regrouped and came to take back the village from the RCD. By then the RCD was certain of its victory; they had put down their guns and were celebrating in a local school, cooking the food they had stolen from us.
We were in the house when we heard the shootings of the Mundundu 40. The RCD were not prepared and could not reach for their weapons, so the RCD escaped.
The RCD had killed my father and my brother-in law, the husband of my twin sister. While Mundundu 40 had resumed control of our village, there were growing fears that the RCD would come back. So instead of staying in the village, I left for Bukavu, along with my twin sister and our children. My husband was in Bunia, a province far from where we were. As a nurse, he had to treat the wounded of both the RCD and Mundundu 40, and he had received threats from both sides. So he went to Bunia to find work.
Life in Bukavu was difficult, and after three months we learned that things had calmed down back home and decided to go there.
One night back in my village, I was out late collecting supplies. Another woman and I decided to spend the night with a Good Samaritan instead of walking the 30 kilometers home.