ESCAPE FROM THE DRC
“One day, they came into my house and shot me. After shooting me, they put the knife that was on the end of the gun here [John points to the scarring from where he was stabbed in his neck]. I was very seriously injured. They took my savings, my computer, everything.”
Thankfully, he had free healthcare with the NGO he worked for, and when he phoned the CEO for help, they immediately sent hospital staff to John, who gave him an emergency blood transfusion at home. “That is how I was saved”, he says.
John couldn’t talk for some time after his injuries. He and his family were living in fear in the DRC, unable to trust anyone, as they didn’t know who was behind his attempted murder. John told his employers he could no longer work for them, they gave him some money so he and his family could make their escape to neighbouring Uganda.
Six months after the attack, John was well enough to leave the country with his wife, four children and two adopted children. Their journey from southern DRC involved a number of car journeys and long ferry trips across vast lakes. When they finally reached Bunagana on the border with Uganda in 2018, the family went to register themselves but had no official documentation.
Nevertheless, John said: “They welcomed us and asked us what had happened.”
The Ugandan authorities came to the border to collect them, and they eventually arrived at Kyaka II refugee settlement, where Children on the Edge began working in 2019. They were given tarpaulins and John constructed the family’s first shelter. He has been continually improving their home ever since.
“From that, we constructed another one, and a year later I built one with a corrugated iron roof.”