The forest was dense, it was thick and humid. Nana had been caught in the melee she was going to report about. She had always craved to be in the heart of the chaos. That was what news reporting was about for her; bombs blowing, mines ripping limbs from torsos, the thrill of gore. It was one thing to want to experience war, death and misery. It was another thing to be in the heart of it and risk your life for it. Nana always imagined herself as a savior of sorts; there was a subtle sense of invincibility that she didn’t openly admit. She feared no one. She volunteered for the Congo assignment at the news desk.
When they touched down at the Goma International Airport, Nana was hungry for action she wanted to be in the thick of it. They didn’t get the usual two day brief about the villages that they were going to walk in to. Nana believed being armed with Kiswahili was all she needed. She wanted to meet the women, hear their stories and whack, kick and stab the warlords exploiting and killing the women.
That night the moon never shone, it was completely dark. It was this night that Nana’s dreams ‘came true’. She was awoken by smoke and screams; the village they camped in was under attack. Nana patted the sides of her cargo pants to ensure that her Maasai sword and pen and note book were intact. This was her first time to be in a combat zone, and adrenalin jolted her up and out of her tent and out to the chaos outside, she was torn between being part of the butchering for some sadistic reason vs. documenting the chaos and running scared. Nana bumped into a rebel who couldn’t have been older than 14 years. He pointed an AK 47 at her, and the superhero inside her shriveled. Nana in a single motion whisked out her PRESS ID from her back pocket and yelled, ‘Mwanahabari!’ ‘Mwanahabari!’ hoping to God that he understood what she was saying.
The AK 47 wielding teen nodded in understanding and kept walking. Nana sighed in relief. But the group of women in the hut not too far from where she was standing were not so lucky, she dashed to her tent grabbed her ruck sack and whisked out a camera and instinctively began to click away. Nana shot mechanically, she got close, real close, what stalled her shots was a blood eclipsed lens after a series of shots of a machete wielding teen decapitating and maiming women.