Pain at sunrise, regrets at sunset

Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that some people just have a better way with words than you.

For the last 4 weeks I’ve been doing my best to tell the stories of 40 women whose lives have been impacted by their forceful abductions by the LRA in northern Uganda.

But Betty Ejang’s short poem about her experiences have captured these experiences better than any of my words have.

Abducted at 13, she was one of Kony’s wives for 3 years before finally escaping. She was forced to carry sacks of sugar and beans for days on end. She was trained and forced to kill her friends.

Upon her return, her husband left her to support their 2 year-old daughter by herself, calling her a rebel.

Her poem is devastatingly honest.

The Child Soldier by Betty Ejang by marcellison

THE CHILD SOLDIER by Betty Ejang

The load on my head,
The rashes in my skin,
The soreness on my feet,
The pang of hunger inside,
The despair of being alone.

Around me is a river of blood.
A mess of flesh,
The dying groans of fellow children
That my hands have hacked.
The unshakeable deep-seated guilt inside me,
Life is but an everlasting nightmare,
I have no future to look forward to.
The soldiers regard me as a spy,
The rebels as a betrayer.

My hope; this line between life and death,
My ambition is but a moment’s fantasy.

God!

I have deprived the beasts of their residence,
Saved and destroyed their food,
Yet I’m more or less one of them,
With no shoulder to cry on,
And no laughter to share.

Pain at sunrise, regrets at sunset,
Dawn or dusk,
Life is not fair anymore.