Hilona’s Story from Safe Haven Halfway Home Mauritius

Date: April 3, 2023
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Dealing with dysfunctionality

“In terms of my future goals, I dream of having my own comfortable house, with a big garden and a pool which has enough room for me, my children and for guests.”

My name is Hilona and I am 18 years old. I came to Safe Haven Halfway Home as I had nowhere else to go after leaving the Rehabilitation Youth Center (RYC). My mother abandoned me when I was six months old with my father and sister. My childhood experiences have been mostly unstable and dysfunctional, and these have impacted on my behavior.

I lived with my father until I was about seven years old; he died shortly after due to a drug overdose. The memories I kept of my dad are almost positive. I loved to wrap my arms around his neck and was happy when I heard him whistling from down the road, on his way home from work. I still do not understand why he was taking drugs and miss him a lot. After his death, I began to live with my grandmother, who was giving me the necessary daily care I needed, such as preparing me for school and making sure that I eat enough. In other words, she was here for me but I still felt that I did not have the guidance or a motherly figure who could help me learn what is right or wrong behavior.

During my childhood, I was a very rebellious girl and did not know how to channel my anger. I used to act regardless of the following consequences that could arise afterwards. I still recall that my mother forced me to do house chores when I was little and I was not even allowed to play with others like a normal kid. My mother was violent towards me and constantly made me feel like an unwanted child. She even beat me once until she broke her own hand. She clearly said that she does not feel any love for me due to my strong physical resemblance to my father. I recently saw my mother after nearly eleven years after which she abandoned.

At the age of 15, I got pregnant with my first child. When I gave birth, I went to live at a friend’s place, but afterward, my aunt came to fetch me to stay with her. Living with my aunt felt good at the start but then I was asked to do all the household tasks and the daily cooking. My aunt was rude and once, she called the police to report that I was allegedly being violent towards my son. My son was then taken by the Child Development Unit (CDU) as a false negligence allegation had been reported against me. I was told that I was not allowed to be left alone with my own son. I was so devastated about losing my son that I climbed up the roof of the hospital and was ready to kill myself, but a policeman came to catch me at the right time.

I have spent around two years at the Rehabilitation Youth Center (RYC where I have been able to discover new things about myself, such as my love for children during various activities organized over there. I also appreciated my two ‘substitute’ mothers there with whom I am still in touch. I was then brought to Safe Haven Halfway Home after I became an adult and had no other place to go.

My life journey until now has been so chaotic that I have noticed that I lack love for myself. I would describe myself as someone frank and somewhat ill-mannered. This could be due to the lack of motherly love I received during childhood. I don’t feel that I am important to others. My son is my sole life pillar. For me, he is the best thing in my life. In terms of my future goals, I dream of having my own comfortable house, with a big garden and a pool which has enough room for me, my children and for guests.