Hello, my name is Archange Vanox. I am 16 years old and i come from the Democratic Republic of Congo. For those who do not know where it is, it is a country located in the middle of Africa. It was once a place to be…but now, it is a cold and hard place. The kind hearted people that were in my village were filled with wicked white men. They made my people work like slaves in mines that are not safe….But it was not always like this.
I was only 10, when they started to appear. It was my first time seeing such pale men, i was drawn to them by mere fascination. They first started off as a group of 4. I wondered where they going to live at, since they seemed to be working a lot. Later on, i heard from the neighbors that the white people were living in the same compound as the chief of the village. Only worthy enough people could live there.
More white men showed up and took some spots around the chiefs compound for houses. As they did this, i had come to notice that the Chief had not been seen in a few weeks after the first white men showed up. I found it to be very unnerving at that time as i began to suspect what was happening. To this day, i still do not know what has happened to the Chief.
I just turned 11. When it should have been a great happiness, it was a great mourning. I woke up expecting cheers of happy birthdays and happy elevens. Instead, it was deadly quiet in my house. I noticed that i wasn’t even sleeping in my bed. I was in a strange building that looked much like a warehouse that we put our crops in…except more dirtier. I wasn’t alone either. There were kids around my age and maybe lower in the corner…whimpering. I approached them and asked what was wrong. They told me that they were forcibly removed from their home by the white people.
I turned 13. I had been working in the mines for 2yrs. I had seen many things, too much. Enough bodies for a life time…. I had come to learn the name of one of the white men that controlled the mine. His name was Bob. But we had to call him “Sir”. He killed anyone that looked like they were slacking off. Little kids included. I worked deep in the mine along the older men who had issues that could not be solved by the doctors…well native doctors. Our Village was to poor to afford one and the white men didn’t really care. If you got to sick, you died. It was as simple as that.
The jewels that we mined were very beautiful. But we weren’t allowed to keep them. It was heard by the men that the jewels were worth a lot of money . We were forced to work from the dawn of the morning to midnight with nothing to sustain us than some bread and soup. I worried if i would die without seeing my parents or my siblings… And right now i think that has been the thought that has kept me alive. Its quite tragic.
I was working one day when i heard a scream outside. I ran expecting to see one of the miners dead. Instead what i saw was quite shocking. There was a rebellion. The other villages that weren’t affected fought with our own people. It was a bloody sight to say, regardless. For a moment in the fighting, it seemed like we would lose but we won. I was full of glee. But it wasn’t over. There were still more of them and it would be hard to get rid of all of them.
Our situation had somehow gotten word to the president and he asked some of the Americans for help. They came over and helped us. I still hear about this happening in neighboring villages. And i still try to help. This has been my story.