Tatiana

TATIANA

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I have been living here with my uncle for about four years. I came when I was in the third year of secondary school. I left the village because of the war. Before the war we were living happily. One morning we saw the military passing by in the direction of a village called Bahouro not far from Nigeria. They had heard that a boy had been killed there. As they passed, children were throwing stones at them. The next day, my aunt prepared food to sell in her restaurant. While she was shopping, we heard gunshots and ran to hide in the church. My grandfather could not follow us because of his advanced age. My grandmother took some things and we ran to the church. We left our grandfather behind. We prayed all evening in vain. The situation got worse. I went home because I couldn't leave my grandfather. To leave him alone without help. We didn't know where my father was that night. We didn't hear from him, he couldn't be reached by phone. My grandparents decided that I should go to Yaoundé to live with my uncle. Before leaving, my paternal uncle came to see me and asked me to devote myself to my studies as soon as I was in Yaoundé. The next day, I heard my grandfather on the phone saying that my paternal uncle had died. He was shot in front of his house. For three days, my grandparents stayed at home and could not go out because of the shooting. The only way they could escape was to hide in the bush. While they were in the bush, they heard footsteps. It was the footsteps of eight boys and an eight-month pregnant woman who were running for cover. Four of the boys and the pregnant woman were later killed. The war was claiming many victims, so we went to Yaoundé. Because of the crisis, the cost of living was very high, so much so that when we booked the vehicle, the price of the ticket was twice as expensive. From Lawi to Bamenda, the price of a bus ticket is about 6,000 CFA francs (€10). During the dry season it is about 3,000 CFA francs (€5), but we had to pay 15,000 CFA francs (≈ €23) per ticket. My grandfather was just looking for a way to save me. I was crying thinking about my grandmother because she is a person I love very much. I was crying because I was wondering how they were going to manage without me and where they were going to go. I was so traumatised by what I experienced in the village that I forgot my luggage in the car when we arrived in Bamenda. Before the war, I was happy with my grandparents. This is not the case here in Yaoundé. I am afraid all the time. I have no money, not even enough to buy a bicycle to go to school. Sometimes friends help me when I am sick. Sometimes I want to kill myself, but I remember my mother telling me that I am her only hope. She says I have to prove to people that I am not a mistake because she divorced my father before she gave birth to me. According to my father's traditions, he is not allowed to marry a girl from another ethnic group. My mother always encourages me, while my father no longer cares for me. Since four years ago, when the crisis started, I don't even know if he is still alive or not. Since primary school, I like to read and I would like to become an author to educate others about life based on my story. I would like to meet someone who can help me develop my talent. I would like people to know that even if a child is not with his parents, they should not abuse him. I don't have any French-speaking friends. We are all Cameroonians, we are not different, we did not start the war.