"I still have time to change my life, change my kids' life."

We are from a village not too far from Shingal mountain. Life was good. There was peace. We spent our days with happiness. I had my little daughter she was 2 months old.

Our problem started when ISIS came. We didn’t have a car. I held my little daughter and my husband held his mother; as she was old and couldn’t walk. We walked for 4 hours and made our way to the mountain.  

We stayed at Shingal mountain for 9 days. [My daughter] was so young, and she needed milk, but I didn’t have that much milk. There was a little sheep, I would bring milk from it and with a little spoon I would give it to her. And she became so sick, I didn’t know what to do. I would bring water and just put it on her lips and face to keep her alive.

It was so difficult but somehow, I was believing in God. Something inside me was saying ‘You and your family are going to survive.’ I was believing that. But I was still worried. If something happens or if ISIS comes- if we die, we will die together.

I saw people’s children killed. There were some women giving birth on the mountain and we helped them to have their babies. It was so hard for me- all these things.

There was a mother that had little son and he kept crying for food. They were in a bad situation. The mother said ‘I cannot take care of this baby no more.’ The father didn’t know what to do, there was no food, nothing. He said, ‘I cannot take care of him so I will just end his life.’ So, he shot him with a gun. It was so hard for everyone to see this little baby get shot by his father. 

When we left Shingal we were thinking we would never going to see Shingal again. There was still fighting and there were things happening on the road. We were not feeling safe or peace.

We were still thinking of the people who stayed on the mountain and the people who things happened to in front of us. What we saw was always in our minds.

[During all this time] there was still no milk, I didn’t have anything to give [my daughter]- nothing.

After 8 or 9 hours, we arrived to a place that was near water. I was so sad, and I was hungry and tired. I thought if we stayed on Shingal mountain it would be much better. I was feeling so bad.

My little daughter just kept crying and I didn’t have anything to give her. In this moment, I thought about throwing her into the water because I didn’t know what to do. My husband stopped me from doing this. I was not feeling like myself. It was so difficult for me. 

After we came to this camp, I was in a bad mood all the time. I was feeling there was no value of my life. Nothing good was going to happen because our situation was so bad.

Some people of Tutapona came and told me about GROW and asked me to come to the group. I came and I didn’t miss any days- it was so helpful for me. I was so happy in this group. I felt comfortable.

It was so good for my mental health. I feel now like things are going to be good. I now have more courage, more hope. 

[Before Tutapona] I was going to many psychological doctors. They talked to me and even gave me medicine, but nothing was changing in my life. 

I was feeling bad and [my children] were feeling bad too. They cry and I cry. I was fighting with my husband every day.


Now after I came to Tutapona I am not fighting with my husband. He said, ‘It was so good for you and you are feeling more comfortable.’ Now when I am good and relaxed, [my children] are feeling good too. I feel much better. My mental health is now good.

All that I learned is in my mind, but my favorite lesson was courage. If I face any bad situation or bigger problems, I have to hold on and be strong and have a courage in life.Life will change, nothing is going to stay in its place. Sometimes, your situation may change. You just have to be courageous to stay strong.

[After GROW] I was feeling like I just came to life. A new birth, new life. They opened my eyes to life. I still have time to change my life, change my kids’ life. I know things will happen, things will change. I have a hope.

Everything Tutapona said in that group I saved in my mind. Now I’m doing these things in my life. I will listen to these things I learned and God willing I will be better. And things will be good.  


*Name has been changed to protect the individual and her family

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