Chiseche Salome Mibenge

I traveled to the Provinces on Tuesday and was traumatised. There were five of us (adults) sitting in the front seat of the minibus: Two on the drivers seat, two on the passenger seat and a poor fellow crouched over the gear. And the man squeezed on my right was trying to squeeze me – pervert! I was furious, covered in dust and the hem of my jeans was coated in human excreta I stepped into at a roadside stop.

When we finally arrived after 5 hours of road rage from wrestling with the pervert, my hosts had a hard time recognising me! …I didn’t realise how bad I looked until eventually they gave me a wet face cloth to clean myself off before starting on our programme. I wiped my face with it, then they asked me as politely as they could to wipe my hair – it was brown too. I’m crying with laughter now, but at the time! I was on fire. Girls, field research…don’t think I’m on holiday-o.

Anyway…they took me to a refugee camp and I met Liberian women. I was stunned, women mommy’s age walked right up to me and said: ‘I was raped by 5 men…I bleed every time my husband sleeps with me…my discharge doesn’t stop…I smell bad I’m incontinent…my womb is coming out.’ And they TALK… I just had to say ‘OK Auntie….thank you auntie…what about you auntie…who raped you auntie…sorry auntie.’ At one point one of the leaders of the group broke down and said: ‘Look at you you’re my daughter! I’m your mother. I can read. My daughter can’t read. Just look at me, so helpless.’

There was nothing left to do but to cry, I tell you. We all just joined in. It was SAD.