A deafening explosion, blood, damaged houses, and confusion all round. Young Sarrah found the bomb in the kitchen area of our household yesterday. The people of Mapaki are in a state of shock after a cluster bomb, left behind ten years ago by retreating rebel forces, exploded, sending six women and children to hospital. The bomb had been left in the ceiling of the house where our household cooks, a place predominantly populated by women and children. The bomb was uncovered during repair work and Sarrah, who found it, had no idea of what it was. By the time Mommy noticed the strange object in his hands, it was too late. Bleeding and in a state of confusion, Sarrah ran to the bush, where he collapsed under a tree in shock. Toddler Adama, young mother Ya Beka, nursery teacher Mommy, students Augustine and Adamsay, along with Sarrah are lying in the hospital today waiting for treatment. We wait for news and and worry too.
The world over, children are disproportionately represented among victims of cluster bombs. While many countries ban their production as they mostly kill civilians and do so for decades after their deployment, three Canadian financial institutions (RBC, Sunlife and Manual Life) still profiteer from U. S.company-based cluster bomb production, according to the Cluster Munition Coalition. After we heard the news from Mapaki last night, one of our children asked, “But why do people make these bombs?” Why indeed. Not an easy question to answer without thinking of concepts like evil and greed. Check The Cluster Munition Coalition for action suggestions and resources to end this travesty.
We are so grateful for the friends of Mapaki who have quickly stepped up the plate to offer moral and financial support. We’ve heard that, in the village today, headman Brima called an emergency meeting to implore all in the village to rally around and support the victims and family. Messages and offers of support have come in from friends in Canada also. This morning we were able to send some funds to help with the initial treatment and medicines (each shrapnel shard costs about $25 to remove). More will be sent next week to help with continued medical costs. Most importantly though, we send our thoughts and condolences to Mapaki on behalf of all of you and thank you all for your care and compassion. May we all live in a world (and country and province…that’s another story!) that values peace and harmony over war and weapons profiteering. Peace and best wishes to all. (Photo - children in the kitchen area of our household)