It was a peaceful day in the village before the invasions, at about 5 p.m. some men from the neighboring village came in to lay siege and began slaughtering anyone who wanted to fight back, and while a lot of people successfully escaped, including me and my mother, a lot more were taken and left stranded.
We tried to walk as far as we could away from our village alongside other villagers who escaped and while we did, my mother assured me that everything was going to be fine but seeing the despair in her eyes, you could see that she was unsure of what could come.
We had walked for a few miles before the elders in the group suggested that we should stop and discuss a plan moving forward, in their words “we couldn’t keep walking with no destination because the forest where we were passing through wasn’t safe” so we stopped.
While we stopped and used the opportunity to rest, the elders walked away to discuss, and even though I shouldn’t have, I followed them and some parts of what I heard broke my heart.
Elder 1: We aren’t going to make it, we are too much and walking in a pack draws so much attention to us.
Elder 2: So what do you want to do, abandon everyone who you feel is weak?
Elder 1: Well, that could work.
Elder 3: And how do you plan on doing that, running away while everyone sleeps?
Elder 1: Maybe, it seems like the best plan.
They continued going back and forth about ways they could leave everyone behind who was considered “weak” like children, those injured, and pregnant women until my mother spoke up.
I think we are all scared of what has happened and what may happen but we are a village and a family and we cannot leave anyone stranded, so I think the best plan is to follow the moon to the gida just like the ancestors told us to do if we were ever in danger.
At that point, everyone kept quiet but after a few minutes, arguments began about how the “gida” wasn’t a real place but a myth told to us by our ancestors and how foolish it will be to follow a moon to an imaginary land.
The arguments came to a quick halt when someone suggested that whoever wanted to go to the gida could and the rest of the remaining villagers would find somewhere else to go.
After that conclusion, the elders went back to the village and told everyone what was said, they went further to say that the moment it was day, everyone had to choose and go their way.
I had slept for what felt like a few minutes when my mother woke me up and said it was time to leave, I looked up and saw just a handful of villagers with us as the other had left with the elders.
I felt bad because I knew the elder’s intentions but since I couldn’t do anything about it, I packed my bags and we immediately set off walking but since we were following the moon, we decided to find another campsite and wait there till it was night.
The moment we saw the moon at night, our journey began and we continued like that for days with no glimpse of our destination, many of the villagers that started with us decided to turn back, and before we realized it, we were left with just five people making us seven.
While we journeyed, we encountered different trials and tribulations and we thought we had succeeded in surviving them until my mother got injured and even though we tried our best to heal her, her wounds were too deep and she lost her life.
After her death, I was broken but since her last words were “keep following the moon”, I couldn’t stop but follow it through.
We had continued walking for almost two weeks when we got to a point where the moon looked bigger and closer but there was still no “gida” in sight and I felt stupid that my mother had died for nothing.
I was about to turn back when I saw a gate appear in the moon, and being in awe of what was happening, we walked into the gate following some people to a place whose beauty couldn’t be described on paper, it was truly paradise, and even though we had lost so much getting here, it was worth it and we could finally start over again.