I will sing
creative Partner Julia Pascal
reader Samantha Pearl
The Church is everything for me. When I can’t sleep, I sing the songs from my childhood. To help. You see I don’t concentrate easily. That’s the problem. Even if I try hard. It’s the headaches. Every day. And learning English is not easy. I have learned the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD. You see they came looking for me. Back home in Kinshasa. That’s the Congo*. Here in England people don’t really know what happened there in 2018.
For me Jesus is God. He is all powerful. God is incarnated into his son. Il est tout. He is everything. Mary? She is like you and me. But Jesus. He is divine.
I can’t really talk about what happened to me. Back home. What was done to me. My body hurts still. No I can’t talk about it.
When I was five years old, when I went to school, my aunt, a sister of my mother, she made my school uniform. Well of course a uniform is uniform but mine, the stitching was special. It was so special that the other girls were jealous. The skirt was blue and the top was black but it was the way that it was sewn that was so different. It was the other parents who wanted to copy the design of the stitching. They told the tailor ‘copy it’ but nobody could. Her name was Vêro. Véronique. Véronique handed her handkerchief to Jesus on the way to Calvary. He wiped his face on it and the image remained.
I love to sing. It calms me when the memories come back. They came looking for me. English people don’t know much about the Congo*. Kinshasa used to be known as Leopoldville. It is the largest city in Africa. There are fifteen million people there. You can check out what happened in my country in 2016, 2017, 2018. I can’t talk about it. But, I was one of the people who protested against the government backed militias. I was in a Freedom Organisation. I was with the Church.
Look it up, you can read about it. Armed groups. Murders. You will read about it. It was when they were looking for me that I knew I would have to seek asylum here. In England.
In England, now, I am getting better. Slowly. But even though I learned English in the Congo, as a child, it does not stick. It is the headaches. I have therapy here from a counsellor. She tells me, ‘When you feel low, sing.’ I love singing. I love music. My counsellor, she tells me, ‘Join a choir, even if it is on Zoom or Youtube.’
I will sing. I will dance. It may take me time. But I shall do it. And nobody will follow me, nobody will hurt me ever again. I was an asylum seeker and now I have done my papers my life will change. I have Jesus. I have myself. Fresh start.