Short Stories, Tale Africa

JE SUIS AFRIQUE (7)

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By Maarifa PJ Kidoge, Congo:

The story of Hope (Continued)

Hope's mother, Jeanette, went back to Bandundu in order to continue her internship. After her transfer request was declined, she didn't have a choice but to go back with her daughters as they were still too young to leave behind. Besides, in Congo things such as baby sitting or any sort of childcare are not available. If they are, then they are very rare. As I am writing this, I am sitting in a small city of Congo where the roads are so bad that even the pedestrians struggle to get from one place to another. So you can imagine why transport to that remote village was so difficult.

Jeanette finally arrived at her destination and continued her internship. Everything was fine until one of the kids got sick again. This was almost 2 months after their birth. The child needed blood transfusion. I thought that since she was helping people at the hospital, she would have access to what the child needed or at least have access to transport to a better hospital. But this wasn't the case and to make things worse, there was no transport available to get to Kinshasa. She had to wait for about a month. Also, there was no flight available. Her family was unable to reach out to her due to lack of transport.

Everyone had to wait, a feat none of them could afford and someone had to pay for that. In fact, someone did pay for all of this: a few days after Hope had fallen sick, she died. Everyone was devastated. The mother who had just lost one of her daughters couldn't afford to mourn as she needed strength to look after her other child.

While she was mourning, no family was around to comfort her. She only had a few colleagues who offered support. It is in such times that I am so grateful for friendship! In light of all of that, she was forced to bury the child alone, guilt and sorrow filled her family members. The only means they had of reaching out to Hope's mother was a telephone but everyone knew that was not nearly sufficient. I cannot imagine what was going on in her head. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain of losing a child and having to bury the child by yourself. I cannot even picture the real situation as I too heard and couldn't help…

I titled this article as “the story of Hope” … but I don't know Hope's story to be honest, I only know what happened to her. Hope wasn't given a chance to tell the world her story. I believe in God and I know that He has it all in control and knows why this happened. I also know that the Congolese government didn't do enough to save Hope. Her mother, however, is hopeful that she and her other daughter have a bright future. She still hopes to get her medical license in order to help those who have lost hope in living.

In Congo, people pay for road fares everywhere, but the conditions of the roads are so bad. One is always hungry on a single short or long trip because of the vigilant up and down movement in an attempt to avoid holes etc. It is a forced exercise, albeit not beneficial to the people of Congo. If people want to exercise, they could go jogging or play soccer and so on; but to spend most of your day trying to avoid harming yourself by falling in a ditch leaves one wondering why leaders promise roads that do more harm than good!  Where do the road fare funds go? Children like Hope should not be paying for mismanagement! We can do something to stop this! I am very sure that we can. Starting within our own communities.

Hope's story is one of many untold stories in Africa. Children are paying the price for the greed that some people possess and that should not be so. It is so easy to be discouraged from dreaming but I will not! Just like Hope's mother, I will not lose Hope that Congo will rise, Africa will rise; I want to be part of those who will choose to act!

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