Mama Koko and the Hundred Gunmen: An Ordinary Family’s Extraordinary Tale of Love, Loss, and Survival in Congo

Driven through her family’s devastating losses, Congolese expatriate Francisca Thelin embarks, with human rights activist Lisa J. Shannon, on a dangerous trip again to her cherished fatherland, now less than the shadow of 1 of Africa’s so much feared militias—Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance military. With gunmen camped on the fringe of city, Francisca is compelled to stand a paralyzing conflict among her lifestyles in the US and her family’s swiftly evaporating world—and the truth that their rush to her family’s reduction may possibly backfire.

Mama Koko and the Hundred Gunmen weaves Francisca’s trip with tales of the family’s harrowing encounters with gunmen and stories from their prior to create a brilliant, illuminating portrait of a spot and its humans. We pay attention of Mama Koko’s adolescence as a gap-toothed attractiveness plotting to flee her inevitable destiny of spouse and motherhood; of Papa Alexander’s empire of other halves, each one of whom he married simply because she cooked and wiped clean and made strong espresso; and of Francisca’s idyllic adolescence, while she ran barefoot throughout the family’s espresso plantation gorging herself on mangoes and fish that “were the scale of small children.”

Offering compelling testimony to the energy of the human spirit and the wonderful thing about human connection within the darkest of instances, Mama Koko and the Hundred Gunmen additionally explores what it skill and calls for to really make a distinction in an unjust and infrequently violent world.

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The kids coated up round the flagpole. Cisca used to be one row again, yet she was once tall adequate to work out, whether she didn’t are looking to. Simba marched their enemy-of-the-day out for execution, already overwhelmed and bandaged. Cisca famous him: the crucial of a neighboring college and an excellent buddy of her dad’s. They tied him to the flagpole, because the Simba sang and danced. They requested the viewers of captive institution children, “Do you will have him to be killed? ” “No,” a few mumbled. Cisca’s instructor advised the ladies to hope. a few women coated their eyes; a few placed their thumbs of their ears to dam out what used to be to return. Cisca bent her head and stared on the airborne dirt and dust, as she and the opposite ladies begun: Hail Mary, choked with grace. The Lord is with Thee. Blessed. . . . Gunshots pierced the air prior to they can end even one Hail Mary. women cried, pee trickled among their legs onto their uniforms and pooled at the floor. Cisca wouldn’t search for. as an alternative, she buried her face in her fingers, whereas they pulled out the subsequent prisoner. It was once her thin chirpy classmate Biroyo’s dad, who labored within the university workplace. Biroyo handed out at the flooring while she observed it was once her father, sooner than they pulled the set off. They severed his palms just like the Belgian colonists used to do, fastened them on spears, connected them to the bumper in their vehicle, and drove round mocking the youngsters. “Hey, wave hi! ” Cisca couldn’t support yet see. She held her quit her mouth and shook, attempting to carry it in, yet vomit seeped round her cupped palms, spilling down her uniform and onto the floor. They shouted on the children, “Go again to varsity! ” None of them did. Cisca walked domestic along with her cousin, silent the complete method. the realm was once so various. each day, she walked over the Kibali Bridge on her solution to university. no matter if the present over excited the our bodies, there has been constantly extra clean blood prompt the place they threw the chiefs. nobody wiped clean it. The blood caked and crusted except rain washed it away. The grease stayed decades, lengthy after the blood. The Simba have been uncontrolled, they have been killing every little thing: humans, canines, whatever that moved. all people on the town knew that André, together with his scooter, boutique, and background with the Greeks, used to be a major candidate for The Bureau. a chum warned them his time on the flagpole was once coming. quickly after leader Kumbawandu’s execution, Dette set out with the children, whereas André stayed in the back of simply lengthy sufficient that they wouldn’t discover the kinfolk sneaking out of city. He left each door and window of the home open, to seem like somebody was once nonetheless domestic, after which slipped out of city ignored. The Mango Grove • • • • at the street outdoor of city later that day, André stuck up with Dette and the youngsters, and so they endured until eventually they have been approximately thirty miles from Dungu. In Kiliwa, they collected with nuclear family prior to surroundings off back. of these who desired to flee from the spreading Simba violence, few sought after childrens with them. Too dicy. teenagers made an excessive amount of noise and slowed the gang down. those that had young ones caught with André and Dette.

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