Honouring my body to rest through an exhaustion which made me forget the day it was (Anglophone crisis residue)

Marie Abanga
Posted January 15, 2021 from Cameroon

I went on a trip with some sort of excitement, and came back exhausted in just a day instead of two.

I travelled to the volatile South West region of my country to visit the families and victims of a horrific school shooting in the city of Kumba last October 2020.

I started off on Tuesday in the nearby city of Buea where I visited Juliet one of the victims, who had received four bullets in her buttocks as she fled for her life - I was told her crime was that she identified one of the gunmen. Today, she is barely talking and only crying. She only lies on her stomach and still has excruciating pains with each dressing. Her mother a widow herself whose husband was killed two years ago in the mêle of the crisis, is now on drips too because her pressure went up.

As soon as I got back to my hotel that afternoon and took a nap, I was informed there might be a ghost town the next day for some reason, and so it might not be possible to proceed to Kumba and visit the other 9 families. One family is still in the capital city Yaoundé with their own child whose case was critical. 

Panic set in and I just went on my knees praying. I decided that even if I made it to Kumba the next day, I wasn't spending another night in the region. Even my visit to one other child victim who now lives with her grandmother in some village near Limbe with a bullet in her brain, was to be postponed. 

I got to Kumba with my volunteer Harriet (am so grateful for her), after almost 2.5hours on the road (a normal distance of barely an hour). I lost count of the road blocks and ID card checks, it was pointless keeping your card in your bag. The army patrol guys were looking trigger hungry and blood thirsty, it was nerving and scary. 

When I got to the school, I couldn't help weeping but I choked the tears up because Claudia's dad (the 12 year old who has the bullet in her brain) was the one who picked us up on his motor bike and was showing us around before taking us to the agreed meeting place.

Then I met the parents and heard the horror. I didn't know what to say and just offered them what some friends abroad had contributed and sent.

The journey back to Buea the same, I couldn't wait to collect my luggage and get back home.

Am not sure when I finally slept once home, but the next day which was Thursday, I barely woke up, prayed with the kids and wished them well, did my workout and then showered and went back to bed. My body and brain were exhausted and I knew better than to push them.

I forgot completely that on Thursdays we WP Ambassadors had our Thriving Thursday zoom call. I only checked my phone 2 minutes to the end of the call and didn't even have the energy to write in our WhatsApp group. 

I am much better today and came to work with a full spirit, but I still went home at midday to rest them body and brain some more.

If a brief visit like this can shake me up this way, what about people who live in such regions, or those families who have lost loved ones and endured untold horrors due to that crisis? 

Ah Ah Ah

Comments 7

Log in or register to post comments
Tamarack Verrall
Jan 15
Jan 15

Dear Marie,
Through your courage and beautiful heart you have brought such love and care where people are surviving the horrors of this war, and brought us the news that we must all keep in our hearts as we work toward an end to war globally. I am sure that they now have some new energy from your making sure that you got to them. So important that you know, too, that you needed to take time to heal from that journey of love. Courageous, loving sister, may you find deep renewal back in your home.
Deep sisterhood,
Tam

Marie Abanga
Jan 21
Jan 21

Dear Tam,
Thank you so much. It was a soul journey indeed and the body and brain deep rest was sorely needed. Thank you for your comment ever so thoughtful.
Light and love
Marie

rebecca.tang
Jan 17
Jan 17

Thank you for sharing. Appreciate your courage and the meaningful work you have done. I am really sad to hear such tragedy. Hope those families can recover.
Stay strong and safe! May Almighty God bless you & those families!

Marie Abanga
Jan 21
Jan 21

Dear Becky,
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. Life has such twists and turns and the least we can do is be the hope for each other and the world.
Keep doing the best you can too sis

Hello, Marie,

You're so brave to be on that harrowing trip. For someone with PTSD, that is too much to take. I'm glad you recovered immediately. I wouldn't for sure. It's one thing to be reading about stories like those, but to be there in person is much distressing. It's great that you are able to document these stories. Please find more rest, self-care queen.

Marie Abanga
Jan 21
Jan 21

Dear Kaye,

Thank you so much for the empathy. I almost fazed out to do that trip without hyperventilating. It's not easy but am doing my best by special Grace. I did find so much rest indeed.
Light and love always

You're welcome, dear. You are an angel. :)