Each Child Mother is an individual. Here are their own stories:
Amito – now fourteen years of age – conceived her baby while still in captivity with rebel soldiers when she was about twelve and a half years old. She was a child of eight at the time of her abduction and was oblivious of the implications that abduction by rebels would mean for the rest of her life. This is part of her story:
“What can I say” (she laughs inappropriately) “I became a wife to a rebel when I was only eight years old. Do you know what that means?” she asked. “How many girls can be wives at that age?”
She narrated stories which are not appropriate for public consumption, and her story contained such painful details that I found it difficult not to cry. Eventually both of us had tears rolling down our cheeks and we sat in silence for a while.
She changed the subject and told me that she’d also been trained as a child soldier. As a child soldier Amito was taught how to aim and kill. “Yes” she said, “I have killed not only once or twice but many times. We were forced to do really bad things” she explained “and if we refused then our own friends would be told to beat us to death. I sometimes think maybe that would have been better than to remember and dream about all those bad things”.
Amito asked me at this point whether God could forgive her for what she has done. I told her: “I believe that you did not choose to do these things and that God does not hold these things against you. He does not hate you but lovingly accepts you. We are here to help you because Jesus has seen your tears and heard your cries”.
Evaline – 16 Years old
I thank God for making me express my annoyance through this letter. Years back when rebel group of Lakwena attacked our home, they abducted me when I was young at the age of 12 years old; that was on the 22nd of March in 2004.
When I was abducted, I was given two basins full of maize to carry. I really suffered and thought I would not come back. When we reached near a certain river, government soldiers started shooting at us. Twenty people died there, and we remained 30 and were very annoyed. We were taken where other rebels were gathered. Again government soldiers started shooting.
When the fighting intensified, I had to throw down the maize and tried to run away. The rebels caught me again and sent my friend to kill me but he said “Let us give her 30 strokes” (beating). I was then given an order that I should be going everyday to collect/steal food from people in the camp – a minimum of 1 sack to compensate for the punishment of killing.
One time when we had gone towards Sudan border, I was forced to carry a sack of beans, which was so heavy for me. Meanwhile the government soldiers started shooting. I could not go on any longer so I remained and came back.
After that my mother sent me to Kinyara Sugar Works Ltd. where I stayed for 1 year and came back home. I then went back to school and joined Primary 6. Then a certain boy came and told me that he wanted me to go with him but I said I was still at school and very young. He insisted that even if I was young I must accept to go with him.
Then I told my mother and asked me where the boy was staying but I did not know.
To my surprise, when I was going to sleep I found him with a gun and he told me “if you refuse my word this time, I will kill you”. I tried to run but he grabbed me and raped me. After sometime, I realized that I was pregnant. I was then sent to Kitgum where I gave birth from. At first I did not like the baby but now as I am here at the Mother Child Alive Project centre, and I’ve come to like him.
Lillian – 16 years old in senior two. “My Life After My Father Died”
Please, I am an orphan. My father died when I was only 12 years old in senior one in the year 2004. He was killed by the rebels. He had two wives and eight children.
I left school after his death because my mother was not able to support me as well as my two brothers who were also in secondary school. So I stayed at home helping my mother with digging so that we could get some food to eat and sell to buy some basic needs like slippers, clothes and many others because we did not have any one else to assist us.
I started working at other people’s homes as a house-girl. Since I was still very young, I could not stand the mistreatment by the women I was working for. So I decided to go back home and help mummy with digging. When I went back, I started making pancakes, brewing alcohol and sometimes digging for other people so that I could get money to buy clothing and other things.
After some months, I started staying with a boy whom I had not known was conning me and yet I thought he was helping me. A few months later, I realized that I was pregnant. When I told him, he denied all responsibility, saying that he did not know me at all, and maybe someone else was responsible. I was so hurt and angry that I only wanted him to be arrested by my parents. So I went back home crying – there was nothing else I could do. What came to my mind was to abort the zygote.
While at home I went and told my aunt what was happening with me and that I wanted to abort. She discouraged me and said that I could die if I did and the blood of the baby would cry before God and I would not get any child in future or in my life. I did not want my mother to know.
Two months later, my mother called me and asked how I was and I told her everything, even though she is a tough person. Mummy then called my father’s brothers who caned me so seriously that I could not even move nor sit well. And then they chased me away from home. So I went and stayed with my aunt for a long time. I delivered my baby at my aunt’s place. When the baby was about to begin walking, the same people who chased me came for me and took me back home. I had a lot of difficulties at home. My mother was also insulting me seriously – telling me that I was a prostitute and yet it was not my fault that I left school, it was because of problems.
So when my child grew up, one day I heard on the radio that there is a project which is helping young girls who drop out of school because of some interference. I decided to come and ask if I could get sponsorship. When I was taken up, I joined the project and life started becoming easier than before; among my fellow girls and staying peacefully.
I am now struggling very hard to become somebody useful in the community and I want to become a lawyer when I finish my studies.
Alice – 15 years
What happened in the past when I was still at home.
In 2002 when I was in P.7, my father died and my weak mother could not afford to pay my Primary Leaving Examinations fees.
One day I was going to the market and I met a certain boy who asked where I was going. I told him I was going home. Then he said first come here but I refused. He pulled me, I started making alarm but nobody could come and finally he raped me. I feared telling people at home.
I did not even know that I was pregnant until my people started asking “who impregnated you”? I denied but they said “if you are denying, go to that man who has impregnated you”. They chased me away from home, and I ran and stayed in the bush for 5 days. They began looking for me and when they got me, I admitted that I was pregnant. When they approached the man, he denied the story. Even when he was taken to the police he still denied. Later my people began taking care of me.
When my pregnancy was 8 months, my family starting suggesting that since I was young, I needed to be taken to a bigger hospital for delivery rather than to deliver in a health centre.
When labour pains began, the medical people found out that I was not able to give birth normally so I underwent caesarean section.
After that life became too hard for me, for example whenever the baby was sick, it was me to take to the hospital. At one time I felt like abandoning the child. I even moved away for a short time but when someone came by, I got scared and went for the baby. Another time I left him but I found myself coming back to take care of the child until today.
When I heard that there was a project registering child mothers, I tried my luck and was able to get a place there.
Today my life has changed for the better.
I have started praying:
Bad dreams are no more
Free medical services
Agnes – 16 years old
It was on the 23rd March, 2005 when my father passed away. By that time I was in Senior 2. He died of Typhoid Fever in a hospital called ‘Gulu Main Hospital’. After his death I went through a lot of problems because there are seven children in the family, I being the only girl.
I never had opportunity to continue with school, and even getting enough food to eat was very difficult. So I asked myself “Can I bear with this situation of no schooling?” What came to my mind was to go and become a Street Child, moving around. After that thought, I went to bed and slept but could not sleep for long.
I woke up in the night and another idea came to my mind: just to hang myself. I got out of bed and move away then thought twice and said by hanging myself, I would be offending the Almighty God. So something came and stopped me from doing that.
A different thought came that since I was not schooling, I could go ahead and get a man so that I get a child which might make life easier to go through. This did not work the way I thought. Instead the situation became worse. Indeed I conceived, but at the time of giving birth, the father of the baby just left me without even buying anything for the daughter. Another idea came to me that I should hang the baby. Good enough I told a friend who advised me not to do so.
A better thought came this time that I should look for some domestic employment in order to earn some money; while praying. I did not know what the Almighty father in heaven was planning for me. I kept on praying to the father in heaven; if He could help me. It is true God really has plans for whatever creation He has made. I then heard that Mrs. Odida was looking for girls who gave birth when they are under aged. I really gave thanks to God and just rushed for the program.
So I am a girl who is interested in studies and right now I am in Senior three in Comprehensive College Rackoko. I am still praying to the Lord that He may keep on guiding me during my studies so that I can progress and become someone responsible and respectable in future. For with God all things are possible and there is a song which whenever I listen to it reminds me and here is the song: “God will make a way”.
Vicky – 16 years
When I came back from the bush, I started living a better life. Because while in the bush, whether we liked it or not we had to kill people. I killed so many people that I do not even know how to say it. Some of them could say “don’t kill me”. I was also raped by different people.
I began living a much better life when I came here in Rackoko because at home I was not happy and sickly. I thank God for bringing me here in school and may God bless Madam Trudy for this. I also pray that God should make me study even more than men.
Mary – 16 Years, Primary 7
THINGS WHICH HAPPENED TO ME WHEN I WAS IN THE BUSH
When I was abducted by the LRA rebels, I lived with them for one year and God really kept me in the bush there.
We got a lot of problems, for example, carrying heavy load and hot objects, having no food to eat, etc. We used to eat leaves, had no water to drink, plus many other difficulties. I was attacked by many types of diseases and wild animals. Many people were dying of malaria because there were no drugs for treatment. Many people were using pangas and guns to destroy fellow human beings.
I got pregnant when I was in the bush and came back home before I delivered. When I gave birth, I did not have money to buy clothing for my child.
I have no mother and no father. I had no one to look after me and my baby. I was in a terrible condition together with the baby. I said “God you are my father, let your will be done on me”. I prayed to God to help me out of the situation which I was in.
One day when I was at home cooking, some women came and told me about Mother Child Alive Project in Rackoko. That very day I ran to Rackoko where the project is. I was received and started school. I sat for Primary Leaving Examinations and I am now living a better life. I know God will help me to complete my education and live even a much better life in future.
I Have Fought To Stay Alive For My Baby
My name is Irene. I am fourteen years old and apart from a five year old brother and my own baby we are now alone in this world. My life changed one night four years ago when I was ten years old. At that time we were a happy family of ten children. My parents were alive and we also had aunts and uncles who lived near us in the camp. Already our lives had changed a lot from when I was young, I often heard my parents crying about their life in the camp, they struggled for our food and other things but we were at least still together and could ask our father to tell us stories of long ago. These evenings were great times for me and my nine brothers and sisters. All that changed one night after we had gone to sleep. In the stillness of our hut we were suddenly awakened by shouting and kicking on our door. Get up, get up, come out, come out it was what we heard, come out or we will burn your hut and smell your flesh burning. Rebels shouting, people crying and children running in the dark, much crying is what I remember most (A long silence before Irene could tell me more)
I hid in a corner behind the door while all the noise was going on and after some time everything was quiet, too quiet. I stood up and slowly walked to the door, I tripped and fell and found myself lying over the body of my brother. (Again a long silence) He had blood all over him and did not answer me when I talked to him. I stood up and with tears streaming down my face wanted to find my mummy and daddy.
I called quietly but no answers then I heard our little baby crying outside. I went to him but he too was covered in blood, the blood of our mother. (At this point Irene stopped speaking and simply summarized the rest of her story as follows.) My sisters were all killed that night. We also lost uncles and aunts who were captured by rebels and have not been heard of since. My four brothers were also abducted and I heard that they were also killed some time ago.
You want to know about me and my baby? She asked. One day I was walking to a nearby river to fetch water when I was abducted by rebels and made to be a wife to one of them. I was only about ten and a half years old. I stayed with that man in the bush for nearly three years when one day a group of us managed to escape while the government soldiers were fighting the rebels. We were just lucky that day but I found out that I was pregnant when I was taken to a clinic for a medical checkup. The father of my kid is a rebel but sometimes he was good to me so that is ok.