Abandoned with my  children in a  foreign land

Abandoned with my children in a foreign land

Date: December 7, 2011
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It has been four years since my husband abandoned me in this country without any source of income for food, shelter, clothing, or other needs for my three children and me. We had been married for ten years when he left without any warning. How can I ever trust another man, if a man who seemed to love and care for us abandoned us like that?

My husband and I fled from the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Uganda in the early 2004. We settled in Kisubi, a suburb of the Ugandan capital Kampala, where many refugees settled. My husband earned a living teaching French in schools in the city.

In 2007, we thought it might be a good idea to go back to DRC, since the fighting had decreased. But before the whole family could travel back, my husband went to check out the situation. Soon after he arrived in DRC, the communication between us started to dwindle, reaching a point that he would not take my calls. When I hid my phone number, he answered, only to hang up as soon as he heard my voice.

I was so hurt to realise that my husband was a cutting off communication after all that we went through together as refugees. There were days when we went without food, but I understood that we did not have money.

I could have somehow understood if he left me but kept in touch with the children. There is never a good reason for a parent to just leave their children like that. I still ask myself what compelled him to leave, especially since we never had any serious quarrels or fights. We hugged each other farewell when he was leaving to DRC

We have gone through a lot since he left. There are times when we had no food and the children could not understand why I could not provide for them. My youngest son, who is four years old now, sometimes would go to neighbours’ room to complain that we did not have any breakfast. Sometimes I only managed to prepare porridge without sugar for lunch. Even though the children did not like it, I forced them to drink it to keep them going. This made me weep bitterly.

My first born, a daughter, was in standard/ grade five (primary school) when her father left, and is now in Form One (secondary school). The school would regularly chase her away because I could not afford the school fees. Each time I had to face the headmistress and talk to her about the situation.

The challenging situation taught me to be strong and learn to make a little living. I am now selling food and used clothes, getting a little money to pay rent, food and other needs for my family. I have been lucky that my church members have been so supportive to me. Some of them even helped support my daughter’s school fees after she did so well in a final primary school exam.

My husband’s family, including my mother-in law, has been trying convince me to go back to DRC, but I refuse. I have lost faith in my husband. He did not love us enough to defend and protect me and our children no matter what.

Writers note:
Rose’s case reflects the lives of hundreds of thousands of women abandoned by husbands/ partners every year. Those women go through psychological and physical pain while trying to keep their family together and go on with their lives. Abandonment has long-term effects, especially in families where men are the traditional breadwinners, and women expected to stay home and care for the family. Once abandoned, families face significant difficulties in meeting daily needs of food and shelter, not to mention schooling. As we commemorate 16 Days of Activism, we should also consider abandonment among forms of gender-based violence.

* not her real name. Rose told her story to Bestina Magutu in Tanzania. This story is part of the “I” Stories series produced by the GL Opinion and Commentary Service for the Sixteen Days of Activism on Gender Violence.





0 thoughts on “Abandoned with my children in a foreign land”

Fredrick makawa says:

This is an inspiring story. Indeed, abandonment should be seen as it is. It is another form of GBV.

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