This is a Little girl’s story: It is now nine years and am still waiting for my father to return. He is the only member of my family whom I do not know of his whereabouts. Family? Yes, back then I used to have a family. I had a dad, mum and an elder brother and a little sister. I was only four then, I am now 13.
In the year 2008, the Republic of Ulimwengu had just concluded a general election exercise. And when the results were announced, they were not satisfying to one political party- its supporters argued that there was vote rigging. They said that the election was not free and fair. They branded it a ‘Threat to Democracy’ and vowed to put it on trial (though maybe not by word.) And as a result fighting erupted and because in the country of Ulimwengu politics are done along the tribal lines- according to the tribes affiliated to a particular political party, the clashes were tribal based. Tribe A rose against tribe B. And members of either tribe started fighting and killing the members of the other. Many people died.
I remember one fateful Sunday morning. It was just a morning like any other. Sun rose to all regardless of one’s tribe. We watched the morning News from my father’s favourite local channel like any other day. My father was a realtor and therefore he watched news everyday to see the trend in the property business. According to the news, three Vehicles (transporting people believed to be from tribe A) were burned down by people of tribe B along with their occupants. It had been reported that, “… An unknown number of people were yesterday feared dead. The vehicles they were traveling in while escaping the woes of the city to their respective rural areas, were put on fire and…” My father quickly put off the television before the footage started coming. May their souls rest in peace.
We stayed in the same city people were escaping from but in an area that people supposed was not more prone for the attacks. I suppose my parents were more religious because if I remember very well we never missed a Sunday without going to church. On that very same day we were prepared to attend but my parents were afraid to go out of the house. The sun was already high in the sky and I remember complaining to my Mom that it was getting late: “Mom, we will be late for mass, let’s go.” I said but she just looked at me without saying a word. My father realizing that I was not answered told me,”we are going my dear, be more patient.” I just nodded and my father nodded back. He patted my hair and gave me a hug.
“Honey, what do you think?” My father asked mom.
“What do I think, what do you mean?” She asked perplexed.
“I do not think it’s a wise thing for us to obliviously go out despite the upheavals outside.” He explained.
“What do you suggest then?”
“Let me go first and see what’s happening in the streets and I will come back for you.” Mother nodded, “it’s a good idea but what if something bad happens to you and you fail to come back.” She asked.
“I will be extra careful honey, no need to worry. It is better when I’m alone than when we are all together.” Father assured. He hugged my mother, shook my brother’s hand, mine and kissed my little sister’s forehead. “I am coming.” He said and started walking out.
“We need you back here in one full piece,” mother said with tears welling up in her eyes. Father waved and exited.
“Don’t cry mom, he has said he is coming back,” I assured her.
That was the last day I saw my father and again I didn’t know that that was the last day to be with my mother, brother and sister. In 30 minutes time, goons attacked our neighbourhood. Mother perplexed and worried hid us(I and my brother) in the bedroom and she remained with our little angel. And I guess she remained to watch the goons’ moves. They were putting people’s houses ablaze. In a short while I and my brother were hiding, we heard mother wailing calling out our names.
“Billy, Sucy, come out, come out, hurry up!” We started running towards her. It is at that point I realized our house was on fire.
“Mother, what do we do?” Billy asked.
“I don’t know son. Come let’s get the hell out of here!” She beckoned us.
“Where are we going mother? They are killing people, what if we get killed?” Billy asked.
“Son, should we wait to be burned here?” Mother anxiously asked. She carried both I and my sister.
“Be a man. Be strong Billy.” She told my brother. We got out and left everything burning.
“Mom, my doll.” I reminded mom.
“We will buy another dear.”
Immediately we got out of the building, we found them there waiting for us. They were middle aged men, the youths, people who were supposed to be ‘lifting bricks’ to build the nation instead of destroying it. They were armed- some carried pangas, machettes, and some even had home- made guns while others had AK47s among other silahas. My mother tried to run away, while holding my brother’s hand. But luck was not on our side, she was shot. That same bullet also got my little sister. My sister died immediately but my mother was unaware of that, she struggled to soldier on in order to save our lives but she too succumbed and fell down. We fell altogether. Only my brother was left standing, confused,unsure of what to do and in a dilemma-he didn’t know whether to continue running away or come back to check on us. Following the impact I got bruises all over. And I pretended to be dead too.
My brother decided to run away but immediately he changed his mind and came back running, crying, calling out loud “mother, mother, mother please wake up!” He started shaking her still calling her name. She just raised her hand and before she could say anything, “run” which I suppose is what she wanted to tell him, closed her eyes. When mom did not respond he came to me, “Sucy, Sucy please don’t leave me!” He was shaking me vigorously. I could not talk loudly I just whispered to him, “Billy, run.” He heard me and started running away but ooh my God!Luck too was not on his side. He was pursued by one of them and killed with a panga.
When they ensured we were all dead, the goons matched away and we were left to rot. Were it not for the humanitarian acts of the Red Cross, I too would have died. They took me to hospital after taking the bodies of my mother, brother and sister to where I couldn’t comprehend, never to see them again.
After I was treated, I was taken to The Hope Children’s home and it is which has been my second family. They took me to school the following year when I was five. They thought I was too young to understand or remember things. I was first told my parents will come for me and take me home. But as the time went by, Sister Maurine one day told me, “I’m not sure of your father my dear little angel but I am now your only mother and these (pointing to the other children), are now your new brothers and sisters.” The reality that my mother, my brother and my little sister died, struck me. The more the years came and went the more vividly the memories keep coming back.
What has been worrying me all through is where my father went. Did he also get killed? No. Maybe he came and found our house burnt down and assumed we were dead. No, that’s not my father- he must have thought we escaped and we are somewhere save. But is he still looking for us? Did he find my mother’s, my brother’s and my sister’s bodies? And on failing to get me, did he assume I was burnt to ashes in the house? No, my father is a man of hope. But is he still looking for me?
Father, if you are still alive (of which I believe you are), your daughter Susan is still alive too. I am here at Hopes Children’s home hoping one day you will return, now in standard Eight, waiting to sit for my final exam dad. I want you to be there to write me good wishes in my exam.
ALSO READ: HOW A GOOD FAMILY DIES.
MY TAKE IN A LITTLE GIRL’S STORY;
My dear brothers and sisters, my dear Kenyans, this (2017) being the year of the general election, what can we learn from the above story?
Many children, many adults (men and women) died. Many are suffering physically and psychologically for the loss of their loved ones who were killed during the Kenya’s historical Post Election Violence in the year 2007-2008.
What can we do to avoid the repeat of the same and then what can prevent us from not doing that?
You never know who will be the next victim, who will be suffering following the aftermath. Maybe it will be you or me or your child or your relative. Or does it mean you will not be suffering because your death will be the result?
Say no to violence. Say no to tribalism. Avoid positive ethnicity. Let’s contact peaceful campaigns and let us keep peace during and after election. Elections come and go and things get back to normal. Think of this; you are now sick, suffering in your house with no one to take care of you having killed the only loving neighbour you had simply because he did not support the same candidate as you. Whom do you have to blame- the candidate you voted for? I don’t think so.
Let peace be our shield and defender. Don’t you love Kenya? I do.
Leave me a comment below and don’t forget to Share this Story with your next neighbour, friends and you will have save a life.