Would The Villagers Survive?
by Jacqueline Okot
(Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)
"There is a full moon tonight, Mama." Auma said to her mother as she cradle near the fire next to her. "Yes," her mother replied. "And you have to go to bed because you need some sleep so you can be ready for tonight's run."
"You know, on my way to fetch water today I heard romorse that the Rebels might come to rob our village tonight as usual".
The Rebels are groups of soldiers who call themselves the Lord Resistance Army. During the war in Sudan, which started in 1982, many people moved from Sudan to other Countries. Most of the Sudanese moved to Uganda, some of them settled in a little village like Acolpi. The L.R.A. wanted the Sudanese to move out of Uganda.
Every night they would come and rob, kill, and kidnap the Sudanese. Everyone from the village feared for their lives. People never know when they would come. Most of the time they came in middle of the night when everyone was a sleep. Two days ago, they came and robed, destroyed, and killed many people.
"Okay mama?". Auma continued as she crawled on her knees trying to sceech herself next to her younger siblings.
"Move over, Okullo so I can get some blanket too". Okullos is my second youngest brother, and Alio is after him. She's only three years old and the baby. "No! I got here first and there is no more room", Okullo responded.
"Okullo could you please move over so your sister can sleep too, mama added." By her voice I can tell that she's worried. As the night passed by Okullo and Alio were fast asleep.
"Mama thought I was a sleep too". But I could hear her mumbling so loudly to herself; she sat by the fire breast feeding the baby. Every time the firewood was burned all, she would quickly add some more. The moonlight shined so brightly like daylight.
I can tell she was hoping for tomorrow to come fast, thinking about the Rebels and about her children.
"What am I going to do," she wondered and mumbled to herself.
"If they come to rob our village tonight, my husband is not here to help me with the young ones".
She remembered one cold rainy night we were all sitting around the fire inside our little hut that is made of bricks and the roof looked like a cone shape made up of dry grass.
The village was quiet and so was my family. The only sound you could hear is pitted potter drops of the rain on the roof.
And the licking sound of the dripping water on the floor from it. BANG, BANG, BANG!
"Haven't you heard, the Rebels are here! Come out". A woman ran toward the little rounded door. "What, what are talking about?" Mama asked the woman as she rushed out to see what was going on. She couldn't believe her eyes... bombs were flying like fireworks; people were running crazy everywhere.
Mama ran back inside as fast as she could. She grabbed Okullo and put him on her back and grabbed my hand. Okullo was only three then. "Mama, I'm cold." Auma cried as she was being pulled by her arm. "That does not matter now, what matters is that we need to get to a hiding place as fast as we can". Mama shouted.
Joining others the villagers were running for their lives. People were being shot, sound of children crying.
"Run faster Auma". Mama yelled as she pulled my arm running in the corn field. One of the Rebels fired a bullet. It sounded so loud it scared me; I started crying as I ran behind her. Okullo started crying also, on mama's back.
I was tired and couldn't run anymore; my body was hurting me from all the scratches I got from the woods, and the corn. So I tripped and fell in the mud, I was soaking wet.
Mama pulled me up. "We must keep moving, Auma" she remarked. I forgot it was even raining but I could feel the coldness on my body. All the gun shots and the sound of children crying disappeared.
"Alright I think we are safe here for now" mama announced. I was glad I could finally take a breath. They ran ten miles away from home. And ended up in the middle of the corn field, as mama unwrapped Okullo from her back, he was crying even louder. "Mama
I'm cold," Auma complained to her sitting down on the muddy ground. "All right then take care of Okullo and whatever you do, don't move, stay here." Mama protested.
She quickly put him down next to his sister and ran back in the house to grab sweaters and some blanket for them. For minutes later as the rains drop down on them.
"Okullo could you please stop crying?" She asked her brother to be quiet, because if the Rebels heard them they would follow it and find them. At the same time looking at him crying made her want to cry too, instead she decided be strong for both him, and Mama. So she sang a song that she sings with her friends around the fire at night to him, but it didn't work he kept crying.
"Mama, I hope you're okay, I hope the Rebels didn't catch you" she thought worriedly.
I remember one night when one of Mama's friends gathered all the elders from the village around the fire, she told them stories about what the Rebels did to the people they kidnapped. She was one of them but she escaped.
"I always sneak to hear whatever they talk about" explained Auma. I sat quietly next to Mama as the she began telling the story.
"The Rebels don't care whether you're a child or a pregnant woman. They make us walk for miles and miles without eating, or drinking anything. Finally, we stopped in the middle of the forest. There was a little lake and beside it there were little huts shaped like cones and it's only made out of grass.
They separated the children, the men and young ones, women, and then the babies differently. They lined all the women and the men blind folded. They stand behind them and drop rocks repeatedly on their heads until they bleed to death.
For the babies they would put them one by one in da motor and they would take the pestle and smash them." She continued "I was one of lucky people, because I was in a group where they just cut part of your body. They cut off my upper lips. For the young girls and some women they raped them, and afterward shot them.
Young boys were very important to them. They raise them and convince them to become Rebels. If you're pregnant they will cut you open and take the baby and smash it right away. Some times they cut off your breast if you're a woman, or if you cry or complained. They drilled wholes on your lips and lock it up with a lock."
Okullo's crying interrupted Auma's thoughts. She realized they were still in the pouring rain waiting for Mama to return. "Okullo please don't cry. If the Rebels hear us they will come and kill us."
Two of the Rebels heard Okullo's voice... they followed directly where it was coming
From. Both men were wearing black pants and t-shirts; one is holding a gun, the other is holding
a gun and a knife. They were getting closer and closer and Okullo was even crying louder, she wasn't thinking about him crying, her mind was on Mama. It was too long, she gave up hope. "Maybe they killed her or kidnapped her already" she thought.
"I wish Papa was here," in every run out he's always here to help Mama. He would carry me and Mama would put Oukllo on her back. It was easier. Since yesterday he hadn't returned from his other wife's house.
BANG! A sound of a gunshot came out from nowhere and interrupted her thought. All of a sudden, Okullo was lying down without any sound. I didn?t know what had just happened. "Did he fall down on the muddy ground because he was in shock of the gun shot?" I thought.
As I grabbed his arms trying to pull him up, I heard food steps coming toward us. I quickly looked up, it something or someone was coming straight at us. I couldn't see what it was because it was dark.
My body was angst dead with ferries as I hugged Okullo tiredly in my arms. Someone grabbed me from the back, my body froze, as my heart beat faster and faster.
I hugged him even tighter; I couldn't feel his heart beat but I could hear main. That moment I knew it was our turn, we were going to die like the others.
To Be Continued!