July 6, 2023

The Child

T3bMy school has been closed for the past several weeks. I haven’t seen my older brother since he left for school weeks ago. My mother is holding on to hope; she thinks he will come home but people are saying that he is probably with the rebels or dead.

My mother doesn’t want to me walk on the road alone because we have heard of girls and boys being taken.

During the day I have been sitting by the UN base and watching the UN soldiers movements. I was told by one of my friends that there was a boy in the village that is trading food for information. I think he might be with the rebels but I don’t know. He threatens me with violence and tells me that I will never see my mother again if I don’t do as he says. I have to take care of my sick mother and younger sister so I have no choice.

I think I am doing something wrong by talking with the older boy, but what else can I do? I am surprised that I am still alive. The gunshots are getting louder and my mother is getting more and more sick. Some nights I sleep outside because I don’t want my mother to hear me cry.