Before ISIS came to our village I was the community leader and working as a shepherd for my cows and sheep. At 2am, we got a call to say that ISIS was on their way.
Twenty of my family members and I managed to escape. We felt so lucky; many people did not make it and I still don’t know if they are alive or dead. They stole everything and burnt our house to the ground. After that, we lived all lived in a tent for 9 months at a community center.
In this culture men don’t cry. It’s embarrassing. I wanted to so many times, but felt like I couldn’t. Sometimes I would walk up the hill to sit where no one would find me, and I would just cry.
“I still don’t know know if they are dead or alive”
I thought to myself “Look at me, I used to be the leader of my village and now, I am living in a refugee camp”. That was hard for me as a man. I wanted to be the one my family could rely on.
One day I was told about the Tutapona program. At the end of the two weeks, I felt self-confident again and I could look forward to my future. One day we went to the river and they gave us all a rock, and told us that the rock represented our sadness.
*Name & images may have been changed to protect the individual & his family.
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