I was born and bred in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I grew up in the rural area that would be affected by the ethnic wars.
I started my primary level of education with a local school that would be shut down due to endless civilians clashes. Such ethnic wars would force us to sleep even in the jungles.
When such wars subside, school would be reopened and resume as normal. It was hurtful to find out that some of the learners I knew killed during those wars.
Though coming from the humble origins, I completed my primary level of education with flying colors. I then received a scholarship that was offered by the church missionary situated in the city. A teacher who was impressed with my good results, assisted me to obtain such scholarship.
My father was a woodworker and my mother was a domestic worker. I constantly persuaded with them to relocate, but they would be reluctant to go because of their sentiments attached to the area.
I then completed my secondary school and pursued engineering courses. In 1940, I graduated and completed a trade test to become a professional engineer. I would work with an international oil company that was extracting it locally.
I could able to support my four siblings for the better education and put food on the table for the whole family. On the 22nd September 1943, I went home after work as usual. We had a splendid supper and went to sleep.
By 11h:00, I heard gunshots fired and the blast of bombs. Terrible turmoils and commotion in the neighborhood, made me to wake up and gazed through the window. I saw couple of houses that was on fire, I then realized that war was on us again.
I hastily woke everyone in the house but I was too late because bombs had already been thrown through the windows. Big thud ruptured the whole house and blown its roof away. I found myself on the floor covered with heavy debris.
Fire was everywhere, I tried to pull out myself from where I was stucked, I searched for my family members but I found that all had been dead. I located my briefcase where I keep my documents and left immediately.
I slept in the jungle for the couple of days, saddened by what happened to my family. I traveled long distance on foot, trying to escape because the whole country was at war.
I lived in the wild for months, I used all the tactics we would do in the veld to eat while tending cattle far away from homes when we were young boys, hence I could not starve on my journey with an unknown destination.
I climbed many mountains and trodden through frightful jungles with lions – and leopards, I crossed many rivers fraught with perilous crocodiles, but I made it through easily as most of my life spent in the wild looking after cattle.
I finally made to reach a city by the Mediterranean sea. My clothes that I was wearing became tattered. I lived in the street and ate from garbage bins, I then joined other homeless street hobos.
Briefcase was still in my hands but some hooligans would chase me anxious to see what is inside of it. A good-hearted-man, saw my clothes that were worn out, he then gave me a huge coat. A coat came to my rescue because I emptied my briefcase and inserted my documents into the coat’s pockets internally.
Someday I was walking passing a ship harbor, I secretly got inside a ship unseen. I found myself a hidden corner to dwell. Ship disembarked with me and it traveled a couple of months. Fortunately a pit that I was hiding in it – was used to dispose food remnants that I was contesting with mouse and maggots to eat it.
I sometimes heard cars hooting, I then realized that a ship had reached its destiny. One it got anchored, i secretly got off. I saw a huge board written, “Welcome to Italy.” I again realized that I was in Italy. I roamed streets for months again.
My appearance was scary hence some people would run away at my sight and police would come and chase me away. I would beg for money in the street and I kept it to buy a newspaper. One day I saw a vacancy that suited my qualifications advertised in the newspaper.
I took out my qualifications that were shriveled and discolored from my coat. I made an application with an oil company that I latter found that it was the head office of the same company I was working for at home in the DRC.
I went to the company and struggled to get inside since the security guards thought I was a street hobo with no value. I tried to state my account about what happened. Other good – hearted guard, gave me an ear.
I became friends with him, I went to his place and bathed myself. He also gave me some of his smart clothing that fitted me well. I got shortlisted, went through an interview and landed a job successfully.
I bought myself a beautiful town house and a luxury car. My tears well up my eyes when I think about my family ordeal and what I went through, but I managed to see a rainbow after the rain.
Compiled by the Aquifers.