Scared of my own shadow

‘Obur means ‘close to the grave’ so all my life no one showed any interest or spent any time with me because they thought I was going to die at any minute.

My father had two sons from his previous marriage. As soon as he married my mum, he accused her of bringing a bad omen to the whole clan as people started to die, including all the children that my mother gave birth to, except me. In the end even my mum and stepdad died. 

Now people were really scared of me. Nobody wanted to take care of me until eventually my aunt took pity on me. At first she allowed me to live with her family in her mud hut. However, she was terrified that her whole family would die because deep down she also thought I was cursed, so I ended up living in the bush looking after her animals. She felt she could cope with losing her animals over her children! 

Sometimes I would leave auntie’s animals in the bush and run to a nearby government school, I was so desperate to study. Because everyone feared me and nobody wanted to talk to me or be near me I would secretly sit beneath a classroom and listen to the teacher. 

When my auntie died, it reinforced the belief in everyone I was really cursed. Everyone blamed me for her death, saying she died because she took me in as a young child. As you can imagine, her death brought even more problems. People hated me so much it was no longer possible for me to even listen outside the school window. 

Now, even I stared believing I brought death to everyone. I was even scared of my own shadow and wished I would die like everyone else in my family. 

Life improved a little when I met a girl who was also like me, an outcast. I badly longed for love and someone who would appreciate me the way I was. I had mixed feelings when she agreed to become my wife. I love her very much and was overjoyed that she loves me, too, but I was terrified she was also going to die being associated with me and, of course, I had no means to be able to pay for dowry or even look after her in the future. That’s when I heard about Amigos and Kira Farm; it seemed as though being accepted was my only option for a secure future, for me and my family. 

When I arrived at the Kira Farm interviews, everyone was staring at me like I was a ghost. I would hear them laugh ‘there is no way this guy is going to make it through to Kira Farm Development Centre’. But to every one’s surprise, I did!’ 

Experiencing love 

‘I was so excited when I arrived at Kira, the setting and atmosphere was amazing! My only worry was the other young people from my village. What if they told other trainees that they believed I was cursed? I couldn’t face being isolated as I had been at home. 

I was massively encouraged when Joshua who runs Kira Farm shared his story with all of us. I admired Joshua and his family and knowing he had gone through really hard times as a young person and was not ashamed to talk about it, he was a real inspiration. It gave me the courage to talk about my background without worrying what people thought. 

Because I had never experienced love, I didn’t know how to react when people smiled. This was something new and it took me a while to get used to it without feeling apprehensive. It took me about three months to fully relax and enjoy living in this wonderful, loving environment. 

The discipleship training helped me heal from the deep fear of death that had dominated my life. Instead, I started thinking about how I could turn my life around. The annual ‘Strength Programme’ really helped me understand what a good husband and father looked like. I couldn’t wait to get home and start practising what I had learnt. But above everything I came away from Kira knowing that I have a heavenly dad who will always protect me!’ 

From death to life 

‘When I arrived home, I was keen to live the new me I had found at Kira. I stopped worrying about what people thought and said, and instead used my energy to plan my future. I moved back to my father’s land to start life afresh. I built a new hut in a different style to all the others around me and started using my newly acquired conservation farming skills. I used the carpentry tools I had received from Amigos to open my own workshop. At first, people were afraid to buy anything from me. But I continued to make furniture for my home and would put it outside my workshop for everyone to see. Little by little customers started to come. 

Everything was different; in the streets and even in church. When people stared at me instead of feeling ashamed, I would smile at them back. I did this for two Sundays in church, and soon everyone started to treat me like they did at Kira Farm. 

I can’t believe where my life is now. I have a home, a carpentry and bike repair business, enough to eat, friends and I was able to not only marry my wife, but pay her family a dowry of a cow that I bought with my own money. On top of this I’m saving up to start a tailoring business with the skills i learnt from Kira. 

My family is happy and people who used to despise me now admire the joy within us all. Things have changed: I am now seeing lots of people come to me for advice, which is unbelievable considering people wouldn’t even speak to me a couple of years ago.

I am thankful that with the help of Amigos, I have gone from being someone who was seen as death, to someone who is admired and able to bring life, help and hope to others.’