Death Sentence

As I woke up the next morning from last night’s terrible events, I wondered what I would encounter that night, if this time I would die, or whether I would make it out alive once again. I wake up every morning at 4:00 AM to walk 3 miles to school, to get a complete education, with the hope of making it out of these horrible circumstances in this little village of Rowatan.

Every night for the past two and a half months the rebels raid a village; out of those two and a half months my village was raided 11 times, last night being the eleventh. Women are raped. Then later beat by their husbands. It is not their fault, but it has brought dishonor upon the family. Children are taken. Then they are made into child soldiers. Men are beaten. Then dumped in the middle of the vast Congo jungle and told their wife and children were killed or taken as slaves. Not only are women raped, children taken, and men beaten, but they may be mutilated as well. My father was taken last night, we speculate if we will ever see him again, dead or alive. I cried out as they took him, and he cried back, I will never forget the look on his face as he reached out for us with all his might, but did not succeed.

The government claims they have done everything they can, they reached out to countries all over the world, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, even China, but no one responded. As another dreadful night awaits us, we prepare for the day.

“Rania!” my mother called out, “Rania! Rania! Aye come in here right now! Help me get the children ready for school!”

“Aye Mama! I’m getting ready as well, I will be there soon!” I began to pull on my school uniforms, then my knee high socks and my black dress shoes. My teacher says that we have uniforms because many children do not have the money to replace clothes so often so we get 3 pairs of uniforms, at a good amount of money. I make my way through what would be our “kitchen” then on to my 5-year old twin brother’s room. Helping them dress every morning was a drag, but they needed their education as well if they would make it out of this life with me.
My mother handed me a few Ugandan shillings, then told me “here take this baby, protect yourself and your brothers, if the rebels come around when you’re walking to school, bribe them with the money, don’t hold back, I am more worried about your safety then the money, be safe.”

While we walked to school my brothers Immanuel and Endrew continued to ask me “Where is baba?”

“Baba went to seek help with the rest of the village officials,” I finally replied. But I lied, and what hurt the most is that I could not tell them, because neither mama nor I knew where baba was or what happened to him. With this lie I knew it would buy my mother and me some time before they begin to ask questions again.

“Rania? When is baba coming back, he promised to teach us football after the rainy season is over,” Immanuel claimed.

“I do not know, but when he does I am sure he will be happy to teach you and your brother football.” I let out a weak smile, a broken one, a smile that can only be mended with the assurance that my family will be together and safe once again.

The three mile walk went by really slow, but we finally made it, and we made it safe. I dropped my brothers off at their classroom, and then I rushed over to mine, to see if I could meet up with a couple of my friends before class. I said hello to my teacher Mrs. Kukere. Then class started. I guess I can talk to them during our play period.

“Please take your seats,” she said, “I want to address a matter that has been on my mind these past couple of months, I can see that it has affected many of you, and a few of our own are gone, we haven’t heard from either them or their parents but people pay for this school, so they are not obligated to show up. I am aware of the attacks on the villages that many of you come from, and how horrifying they have been, but please do not, lose your focus in school and keep your eyes set on your dream. Children, this may be the only way for you to escape these horrific conditions. I understand if I do not see you in school these next few months, but I want you to know that I am praying for each and every one of you, I am praying for the safety of you and your family, and I am praying that they will not assail the school while it is in session, but for now we will let that matter rest. Open your math schoolbook to page 29.”

We obeyed and did as we were told, but as the lesson continued to go on, the less focused we were. RINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG! The bell for our play period has finally ringed. I rushed out the door after my friends Claudus and Kuto.

“Aye Rania! How are you doing?!” Claudus said.

“They took him.”

“They took whom?” she asked.

“They took baba in the invasion last night in the Rowtan village, they knocked our door down, grabbed baba and they took him by force.

“Chaiii, I am so sorry Rania.” Kuto said quietly.

“Rania, I am sorry as well, we shall keep you in our prayers,” said Claudus.

I have known Claudus and Kuto since they were young children. Claudus lives like a princess, I sometimes wonder why she’s in the village schools, but I have realized her grandmother is traditional and does not want her growing up spoiled. Kuto is like me. He lives in a village as well, but in a worse one, sort of like the shanty-towns one would find in South Africa. Kuto is quiet, and discreet, he keeps to himself and does not hang out with any boys. Many of the other children find that odd, and he gets pushed around a lot, but he just deals with it. His village was attacked 6 times. One of the times his left hand was serrated. The rebels don’t ever find anything valuable so it is useless to them to go their often.

Later on in the day, school ended and I made my way to my brother’s classroom once again, and we began to walk home in silence. We walked all the way home quietly.

Then it was nightfall. 8:30 PM is my bedtime. We prepared for bed and lied asleep with one eye open.
BRAAAT! BRAAAT! BRAAAAAAT! BRAAAAAAT!BRAAAAAAAAAAAAT! They grew louder and louder. They sounded closer and closer. My body froze. I was shaken by the sound. Confronted by the pain that I will face.

BRAAAAAAAAT! The thuds of the gun directed towards our house. Putting holes in every wall. BAAAAM! Once again they knocked the door down, they knocked it down with all their might. The Machebe Towato, the ‘awakened devil’ has arrived in our home. To take whom this time? I do not know. Right away, without any shame, they grabbed my mama and I, took us outside and raped us for the whole village to see. We sat in desperation after they had finished. But it did not end there; they cut mama with a big knife, a machete, they cut her in the stomach. As she lied their fighting for her life, he bent over, the biggest soldier of them all and whispered his name “I am Kowano Watula, if you survive, do not forget that name.” I wailed. I could feel my mama’s pain. Kowana Watula grabbed me up and began to drag me along with the rest of his rebel army, but I fought, I fought for my father. I fought for my mother as she lay there dying. I fought for my brothers who would be left all alone. I fought for God. But generally I fought for my education, one of the only things that have given me hope for a better life one day. The more I fought the more irritated he became then SLASHHHHHHHHHH! I was cut too.

Two days later I awoke in a strange house with my brothers hovering over me. “Where am I?” I questioned.
“We’re in Kampala!” Immanuel and Endrew chimed at the same time.

Baba comes in with some food, and tells me that everything is going to be okay, mama is gone but he’s here, and he won’t let anything happen to us, and I cried. I lied there motionless and wailed. I cried because I knew it was still happening to other kids everywhere around the world, because it happened to me, and I lost my beautiful mother because of it.

I am Rania and this is the survival story of my DEATH SENTENCE.

Essay By E. Winnie Y.G.

I usually don't right but I love fiction stories especially ones that are covering a global issue, and I beleive I am good at writing and helping people understand topics such as the ones in my essay. Anyways, Enjoy! and I hope you like it!

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