Have you ever met a person and after a few minutes into a conversation you realize that you are in the presence of someone powerful and great like Gandhi or Martin Luther King? I think that when people talk to Amani they must get this feeling. Amani has been through hell and back. No, correction, she lived in hell for eight years. She was abducted by the LRA when she was sixteen, forced to kill other children, innocent civilians, and be the wife an LRA soldier and give birth to his two children. But, and here’s the big thing, Amani faces each day by refusing to let the past continue to be a part of her life. She realizes that reliving the past only makes her a victim over and over again.
When I asked Amani questions about her life with the LRA I couldn’t help but think that she was patiently waiting to get to the questions that dealt with her new life, the life out of the bush, as many formerly abducted people (FAP) call it. She spoke of all new things in her life: the completion of her high school education and then receiving her first degree, the encouragement of her children to complete their education, and all this possible because she applied her meager earnings to what is the most important thing in her life: hope.
When she meets other FAP’s she tells them of God’s love for them and encourages them to look forwards, not backwards. I can’t help but think that as she tells others this, the message is planted deeper and deeper into her heart until it is as much a part of her as every breath she draws in.
And for this I commend Amani. I admire her for moving forward. She shares the pedestal with such greats as Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and yes, the boy who inspired me to write Bullets, Blood and Stones: the journey of a child soldier: Charlie.
My journey as an author, giving voice to those who can't - or won't - speak.