FC: By: Maddie Borner | Africa
1: I paddled as fast as I could down the winding path of the Congo River, away from the poverty and sadness in my village. My sister, Aaliyah, was sitting quietly in the back of our tiny boat. She knew we were in danger but was still too young to completely understand our peril.
2: Less than 24 hours ago, soldiers, young and old, attacked our village, Goma. They were killing, burning, abusing, and destroying everything and everyone. The only ray of hope came when my mom led us quickly and quietly out into the jungle. I am still not sure how she was able to, but all I know is that she said she had to go back to help rebuild our village. So with tearful good-byes, we parted with our beloved mother.
3: It is almost night, and Aaliyah's eyelids are beginning to flutter. The moon is shining brightly, gleaming in the Congo. I must soon find rest and shelter; the Congo River is dangerous at night. One reason is that I have no light source. Another is that the soldiers travel by river, immediately at dawn. If I am not hidden safely before then, Aaliyah and I will be killed by them.
4: It is almost night, and Aaliyah's eyelids are beginning to flutter. The moon is shining brightly, and is reflecting off the river. The moon reminds me of when I was younger, and we would sit around the campfire. The tribal leaders would dance and sing, and we would eat delicious food. My mother would put her arm around me, and she would whisper into my ear, "I love you."
5: My eyelids are beginning to droop, and I should pull over now. I slowly row over to shore, being careful not to hit any loose sticks or rocks. I cannot leave Aaliyah by herself, so I picked her up and started taking baby steps into the foliage. I was able to get to an opening lit by the moon. I then gathered some large leaves and laid them in a pile. I gently set Aaliyah on them, and I then lay down next to her. I closed my eyes but knew I could not sleep the whole night.
6: With my heart beating like a drum... | I awoke suddenly to the crunching of footsteps. With my heart beating like a drum, I quietly shook Aaliyah. She didn't move, so I bent over and picked her up, just as quietly. The footsteps were getting closer, and my heart was beating faster. Suddenly I saw eyes- yellow, gleaming eyes.
7: I knew that if this was a soldier, we would be killed. Then I heard a soft growl, and I knew it was some kind of wild animal. If it were a lion, we were dead. If it were a tiger, we were also dead. So I blindly tiptoed farther into the jungle, praying to God to keep me safe. Soon, I no longer could hear footsteps. Once again, I stopped and lay down, holding Aaliyah tightly. Then, I slowly drifted off to sleep.
8: Harsh sunlight woke me up in the morning. I was thankful that we had slept safely through the night. I shook Aaliyah until she awoke. We trudged back through the jungle to our boat. When we passed where I had seen the yellow eyes, a dead deer lay in our path. I was then glad I had moved last night. We carried on until we reached our boat, but when we arrived, we had quite a surprise waiting for us.
9: On our boat was a young boy, about my age, maybe younger. I couldn't tell because he was so skinny and beat up. He was stretched out across the boat, but when he saw Aaliyah and I, he began to run away. However, I refused to let him leave. "Hey! Who are you? Wait! Please don't leave us," I called to the boy. He stopped, and then slowly turned around. "What is your name? Will you please stay with us?" I questioned him. He walked over to us cautiously, then sat down next to Aaliyah. She giggled and grabbed his nose. He smiled sadly. "My name is George," he said.
10: On our way down the river, we learned more about George. He was twelve years old, one year younger than me, and came from the D. R. Congo. His family still lived there. He was lame in his left foot, which was a result of polio. He had been forced into the military when he was ten, and was just kicked out after the leader decided he was useless.
11: When they decided to let him go, they beat him, then sent him away without food or water. He said he felt terrible for two reasons: one physically, he could barely walk. Two, emotionally, as he had killed a man while he was in the military. Plus, he was away from his family. So now, George was trying got start over and make a new life. He was also hoping to find his family. He said every single night that he has been away from them, he cried himself to sleep. George is extremely homesick. All I could do was try to comfort him.
12: We soon were very far down the Congo River, and George and Aaliyah had fallen asleep. Suddenly, a man appeared out of the leaves. I jumped in fright. The funny thing, though, was that he was white. He spoke to me in my native language. "Where are your parents? You are surely not alone." I replied, "Yes, I am. My village was attacked. My mother and I were separated." He smiled sympathetically, "Why don't you come on with me?"
13: Normally, I don't trust strangers, especially not white strangers. But there was something different about this man. He seemed nice and real. By this time, George and Aaliyah had woken up. They seemed to feel comfortable around this man, so we followed him. He brought us to some way of transportation I had never really seen before. He said it was called a car. We got into the soft, plush seats, and we started moving. The car went fast. The wind blew through my hair. Then the man said his name was Bob. He was a missionary to Africa.He started talking about some man named Jesus. He said that this man died for me to save me from my sins. Why would anyone die for me?
14: Bob said that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God, who created the world, loved us so much that He gave His only Son to die. Because of this, we could have eternal life in heaven with Him. In heaven, there would be no more night, pain, or tears. He told George and I that if we gave our life to Christ, we could have this gift. I couldn't imagine this, but I wanted it with all my heart.
15: I bowed my head, closed my eyes and repeated what Bob said. When I finished, I looked up to see Bob with tears in his eyes. Then I looked back at George, and he smiled. I hope that when Aaliyah is older, she will want to have Jesus be her Savior. Bob said now that we had this gift, it was up to us to tell others. Suddenly, George yelped.
16: "This is my village!" George cried. People were looking out of grass huts to look at us. They probably were also curious about the noise of the car mixed with George yelling. Then he yelled, "Stop the car! It's my mother!" He ran out and jumped into the arms of a woman who was shouting and crying and hugging George. I smiled, and we waved good-bye to George. He and his mother waved. I suddenly missed my mother very much.
17: Bob could tellI was feeling kind of sad. Aaliyah was whimpering something about our mother. Bob said that he would do everything in his ability to get us back home. For now, though, we would stay here with him. I thanked Jesus for leading us to Bob, and prayed that we would someday find my parents.
18: RESOURCES http://www.catalogs.com/info/gadgets/what-do-lions-eat.html http://images.google.com/ http://www.africaguide.com/culture/tribes/index.htm https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cg.html Geography Notes From Miss Haglund :)
19: The End
20: A family is pieced together with hope and faith. A family is quilted and bound with love and grace.