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I caused the death of my family and neighbours unknowingly

I caused the death of my family and neighbours unknowingly

My sister Janet and I were fetching water at the river when we were approached by a man who asked us for a gourd of water. He was tall, dark, and wore a skin that was not common in our village. His face was smooth but padded with so many curio works that I could not clearly recall his face identification. He spoke our language so I had no reason to fear him or think he was an intruder.

The man after taking a gourd full started telling us about his children, how they were naughty and could not compare to us. He said he would love it if his children were like us or imitated our example as obedient kids.

Our confidence with the man grew as we talked more and more. At one point he asked how our village looked like. I demonstrated by drawing with a stick on the soil how the huts were arranged, where the gates were, and the position of the house of the chief. He told us he was planning to visit us later that week and needed to know the layout of the village well so that he could be familiar with it. At this point we had spent more than an hour at the river and mom came shouting at us.

The man quickly hid in a bush and told us to run home, he said we should not tell anybody we met him since they would think he was a thief, he gave each of us a wild fruit and we chewed home. That evening, after clearing our supper- we ate together as an extended family outside my father’s house, we lay on the sand grandfather telling us stories. The mothers were cleaning up the utensils used while fathers sat talking to themselves in a corner, that is after milking and locking up all the cattle in a fenced compound where they slept.

Soon we were all tired and retired to our sleeping mats which we laid on the ground and covered ourselves with blankets; we were lucky to have blankets, something that was a dream of every villager.

Just then there was a loud wail in the village alarming everyone who was asleep. My heart beat so fast that I felt other people heard it. Several wails followed and there were sounds of people in pain. My father and uncles took their spears and dashed out. We were left alone in the house with our mother who held us close. I could see the shock in her eyes as more and more sounds of painful people reached us.

Just then somebody pushed the door open and three men came in. One of which we met at the river. Two grabbed mom and the other one descended on top of her. My dear mother was raped in turns until she passed out. The men turned to my sister whom they also tortured the same way before my eyes. I was a kid. I was helpless. I could not help them. I only wept over them when the men left.

Staying in the house was no longer an option, I ran out and hid in a nearby bush. Shortly afterwards our house was set on fire. I saw the intruders lead their way with the whole herd of cattle of all the villagers, approximately one thousand, six hundred cattle, excluding goats. The neighbouring houses too were torched. This was the lengthiest night of my life. When morning came, I could not trace the bodies of the raped sister and mother, they were burnt to ashes.

I walked through the village trying to figure out how it looked like a day earlier, I could not figure it out. Just then I recalled I had shown an enemy the layout of the village which facilitated their attack that night. A few of us who were left alive were now homeless. As we sat under a mango tree and waited for help from the government, I drew the village map on the sand with my toe. A tear dropped out of my eyes and landed on the chief’s house on the map.

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