She limped toward the armed man. Her clothes were tattered and discoloured from several falls in the mud, her hair was unkempt and she coughed violently into the handkerchief. Everything about her yelled elderly and abused woman except for one specific thing. Her arms weren’t frail at all, they bore veins that said only one thing, body builder. There was a physical strength in her that didn’t seem commensurate with what she was giving off.
As the sun began to set screams once again could be heard and blood flowed freely saturating the air once again. Those who survived the torture and burning of their homes were taken in as captives like the rest of us. That night the rain poured like I had never seen it. It was as if Mother Nature was making an attempt to clean up the slaughter.
When we arose the following morning, there was something unusual. All of the captives were unbound and the soldiers weren’t there. There was a short lived relief. Then one of the male captives yelled, “Rit mondi!” as he gestured that everyone lay low in the thickets. Other men arose bruised, bleeding and pale from dehydration and excess blood loss. “You’ll be safe.” One man told a hysterical woman, who was panting, perspiring and drooling as she shook her head. “Akili imenda.” A woman observed out loud of the traumatized woman.
Then suddenly the thickets around us began to vibrate violently as if an invisible gale from beneath the ground was directing them. Then suddenly…”Woi!” then..”Nishike!” …”Noooo!!!” Voice after voice of loud exclamations that are sucked away with no trace of who exactly was in distress. The yelling was now drawing closer to me, and this woman whipped out a machete. It wasn’t very apparent where that would have come from. But those muscular arms were put to work immediately. The frail old woman was now upright and towering at 6’ 7” in a vest and khaki army fatigues, now treading her tattered garbs with leather boots. The woman wiped the bloodied machete against her khakis, turned to scout for any danger and then raised her muscular arm to the air. Her forearm adorned a tattoo with an inscription; “To those who deserve to die.”
Again, this all did not make sense, our captors were gone, most of the men were physically injured and were slowly being incapacitated. Then there was this unusual female combatant waiting to take everything head on. Where were we going to go all 214 of us? Were we finally going to go home? That was the only hope I had to stay alive. Maybe this time the hope will bring actual results. Running from village to village as a captive at gun point was a norm I wanted to break from.