“My father and mother died during the events that followed the war of liberation. I was a kid and one of my uncles agreed to take custody of me…”. », indicates Jules two days after coming out of a coma due to abuses of a militia group active in North Kivu and to “hunger”. This is the story of a 17-year-old boy who has lived through a long dark period that has characterized the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for more than a decade.
Jules lost his parents (father and mother) too early: ‘ When I started primary school in 2000, they no longer existed”.
It all began with the murder of his parents on a trip during the turbulent time following the war of liberation of 1996. After the deep loss of his parents, his uncle took Jules from his home in Bukavu to Beni (in Nord-Kivu), where his uncle had employment opportunities. His uncle, single, spoiled his nephew, treating him as his eldest son: Jules went back to school, was provided health care, a balanced diet, and a loving home.
Jules started to forget that his mom and dad no longer existed. Then his uncle got married and soon after, his wife had a baby. Jules began to see changes in his treatment: ” she no longer gave me something to eat after school. Dad was still working but I am the only one in the family who wears ragged clothes. She doesn’t buy me clothes like the others who live in our home” Jules said much discouraged.
His pastor said that Jules followed the spiritual path within the CEPAC Beni (Penticostal churches of Central Africa). He became aware of the pattern of discrimination by the wife of his uncle. ‘Daily insults became the norm: you’re a son of the devil, you can’t compare with my children… you too must work for your living…»
Troubles never come alone, and toward the end of his secondary education (in 5e of the Humanities) his uncle died suddenly (January 2013). Jules began to lose hope. The widow of his late uncle stopped paying his school fees. Life became dark and with little hope. He decided his only solution, “return to Bukavu” and relocate his extended family.
How to get there without any means of transport?
“Everyone may reject me except God” believed Jules, and he opened a door…he went to the leaders of his Church to ask for a ticket to Bukavu. Not very likely, the church leaders granted him an envelope of money to go by road from Beni-Goma. En route, onboard a truck which was transporting poor people, they were blocked by men in uniform (identified as M23 militia– a rebel movement active in North Kivu, which has its headquarters in Rutshuru territory). The vehicle had been “systematically plundered” and “passengers beaten” adds Jules …
The trauma of this young orphan only got worse…he was beaten mercilessly. Jules, in a weakened state, lost all knowledge of where he was. When the vehicle arrived in Goma, Jules was dumped on the ground unconscious. ” Brought by strangers, I found myself at HEAL AFRICA hospital room and have been cared for here for two days… » recounted Jules. In fact, he was starving, and the injuries of his beating took two days of care. He is now in the transit center at HEAL Africa being observed for another four days. He is being followed by a doctor, and by the spiritual ministry team of HEAL Africa. Jules said, “The people who received me at HEAL Africa have saved my life.”
When his health was considered normal by the physician, HEAL AFRICA gave him money for a ferry ticket to meet his family. “In this boat, I already feel family through your contributions, and I am recovering my life thanks to your commitment.” On Friday, July 06 Jules boarded the ferry on Lake Kivu which links Goma to his home town Bukavu, the provincial capital of Sud-Kivu. Pastor Samuel who heads up the spiritual ministry of HEAL Africa said, “it is the first time that I saw him smile all week while under our care.“