The Price of Business Digital Network has a new series of outstanding commentaries from thought leaders. This is one in that series.
I was born in Kajo-Keji County. I spent 20 years in Sudan. I was the first of 9 children. My father was a mechanic, he worked for Sudan Council of Churches. My mother taught me the value of education, how to cook and sell pastries. My mother trained me well in skill development. When I was 13 years old, I saw a charming young man, standing by the road. Then, I realized that he was a stalker. He would show up where ever I went, it was annoying.
Nevertheless, I continued to ignore him. 2 years later, my father died in a car accident, I was 15 years old. My heart was shattered, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t sleep. And I couldn’t eat for weeks. It was surreal. My Dad was a family man. He was a hero, he worked hard, loved deeply. And, we missed him.
Suddenly, I got married at 19, to someone I did not love, Duku. I married him because we had sex. And I should declare marriage. In retrospect, I was not ready for marriage.
2 hours after birth of my baby girl Gire, bombs were dropped in Juba Town. I was terrified when saw people running. Animals like goats, dogs, and cats were running for their lives. Fortunately, my mother was around. She carried the baby, wrapped in a blanket and we ran for safety, we hid in the bushes on our bellies for hours. When we recovered, Duku said. No. We cannot live here; we need to leave this Country. So, we left with a 2 months old baby, I was 20 years old.
My husband and I went to Uganda, Mukono District. A coffee plantation, it is an impoverished village. For instance, people worked hard for less. We were 3 times poor than the locals. One day, a friend of ours asked. What are you guys doing here? Come to Kampala! So, we did. In Kampala, Duku got a secure job, things were good. I had my second child, Mike, it was a bad decision because Duku lost his job when the baby was 3 months old.
As a creative person, he opened a Beauty product Business in Kampala. I was working with him full-time. But I wore slippers all day, everyday. One rainy season, my slippers broke. I had to tie them with a string every time the ties came off. I remember, standing by the street to tie my muddy, broken slippers, and tears ran down my face. I came home and spoke. Duku…Give me money. He said no.
Yes! I replied. I took money from the hip sac and bought a new pair of shoes. The first time, I wore those shoes, I felt secure and I walked with confidence.
The business closed down. Duku was desperate, we were back to square one. He decided to go to the refugee camp in Kenya. I couldn’t fathom the idea of living with 2 young children without income. So, he left.
In the refugee camp, you are nobody until you are registered with United Nations. I decided to be a mobile seller, selling roasted peanuts. Imagine, leaving your family with nothing to go for the uncertain. It was a desperate time for the family; I held onto hope.
2 years later, I joined Duku in the refugee camp in Kenya. Then, I found a job as a Primary teacher with Care-International. I advocated for girls and women. In areas of facilitating for firewood funds and encouraging girls to stay in school due to early marriages. I developed network with United Nations staff. When I was 8 months pregnant, I stood in line, in 50-degree temperature for 1 hour. Then, the Officer approved my application. After giving birth to John, my third child in a third Country, my family and I came to Canada.
In Canada, I faced another hurdle, Domestic violence. I fled again, to a shelter where I started to write journals. Little did I know that I would be the author of Resilience: The Journey of Self-Discovery
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