a burst of loud and hearty laughter
Everyone let loose with their
be similar, be in line with
My parents refused to
conform to a lot of things.
wearing or provided with clothing
It was a sweet scene, a courtyard filled with students
clad in white and blue.
a period of illness
One year, however, I missed a few weeks of school due to a
bout of malaria.
give moral or emotional strength to
“Remember, you missed a lot of classes because you were sick,” Mom said, putting her arm around me, trying to
a disparaging remark
My parents told us to ignore
an innovator or pioneer in a field
She was a true
mild and pleasant
balmy evenings in our little cafe, we would play popular music on the radio, and Alex and I would dance for the customers.
in an energetic manner
We would dance and
vigorously shake our butts and hips—twerking, basically.
a means of serving
He offered to buy his son back from the military with cows; he offered to take his son’s place, to no
disposed to act in accordance with someone's wishes
The military got the kids hooked...to make them more
a severe or trying experience
Heritage had temper issues from his traumatic
existing as an essential constituent or characteristic
In addition to the creative songs Mom wrote, she had an
inherent sense of style, and she bought me the snazziest outfits.
the action of a group moving ahead in regular formation
Another big part of our community—and a personal favorite of mine—was an elaborate dance
procession performed by the neighborhood kids.
stress or single out as important
The girls wore black T-shirts and bright, short wrap skirts to
accentuate their butts, with spandex shorts underneath, stretchy and flexible for twerking.
give a nickname to
The Congolese kids at school were calling me Rwandan all the time,
dubbing me a foreigner, repeating what they had heard at home.
a journey by a group to escape from a hostile environment
We all figured it was just another temporary
in an uncontrolled manner
Weaving through the streets of Uvira, we watched people
frantically trying to get out of the city.
exhaust physically or emotionally
The first night in the field, we all slept outside on the ground, a bunch of displaced,
frazzled families, uncertain of what was to come.
collect or look around for, as food
My dad went out
foraging and returned with a handful of snacks he bought from kids selling them by the side of the road—peanuts and mandazi, little round cakes.
reduce in worth or character, usually verbally
We appreciated the food, but it was a
demeaning and demoralizing experience.
lower someone's spirits; make downhearted
We appreciated the food, but it was a demeaning and
feel bitter or indignant about
I couldn’t fully comprehend why we had been displaced, why people would
resent us so much that they would drive us from our homes into this barren, desolate place.
providing no shelter or sustenance
I couldn’t fully comprehend why we had been displaced, why people would resent us so much that they would drive us from our homes into this
barren, desolate place.
providing no shelter or sustenance
I couldn’t fully comprehend why we had been displaced, why people would resent us so much that they would drive us from our homes into this barren,
having momentous consequences; of decisive importance
And then came that
fateful night, when the sound of gunfire approached while Deborah and I lay down to sleep.
a ghostly appearing figure
I hit her on the arm to make sure she was not an
recovering readily from adversity, depression, or the like
But my brave and
resilient mom did escape.
scoured the farm, people were weeping for lost children, whimpering in pain, or sitting silently, staring at nothing.
seeming unaffected by pleasure or pain; impassive
stoic, so brave, my brother.
the process of flowing in
There weren’t enough people on staff to handle the
influx of broken bodies.
extremely impressive in strength or excellence
She had once been big and strong, confident and
having lost your bearings
Adele and Chris were
send away towards a designated goal
For drinking water, sometimes Mom managed to get a jug of tap water from neighbors, or I would be
dispatched to sit beneath a leaking pipe connected to another home.
cause to feel shame
mortifying and also humbling to be among those people waiting for drips.
cause to be unpretentious
It felt mortifying and also
humbling to be among those people waiting for drips.
marked by firm determination or resolution
Eventually, seeing the
unwavering faith of my parents, I began to open myself up to the idea of God’s help.
small crude shelter used as a dwelling
My parents thought it might cheer me up if I could escape from our
hovel and visit a cousin who lived a few hours away in East Africa.
make known to the public information previously kept secret
My family might worry about my
divulging something so personal.