For our humanities course, we were assigned to recreate a memory from our past. The purpose of this action project was to become a time machine and tell a story. This project was very interesting because you get to know more about yourself and your classmates through their memory.

Below is a video and a written copy of my memory:

As a child I had many interesting experiences, but one that influenced my identity in many ways happened when I was not even two. I know I remember some of it on my own, but the rest I have learned from my parents, who have told me the story many times. It is an example of Jung’s collective unconscious that I blend my memories with those of my parents to create the experience I remember.

The Second Congo War (also known as the Great War of Africa) began in the Republic of the Congo in August 1998. By 2008, the war and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people, mostly from disease and starvation, making it the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II (Wikipedia). As surprising as it sounds, I was there!

My family lived in Dolisie, a city located in the Republic of Congo. In August 1998, my father  was getting ready to go to work and my mother was bathing me, when we heard a “BOOM!” It was loud, close, and frightening. One of our neighbors told us to get out. My parents were peaceful people, but they knew we were in danger. There were checkpoints where people trying to flee were asked questions testing which ethnic group they belonged to. At one of these, my parents were separated. I was with my mother. She carried me for the next three weeks.

We walked to the forest, on the way to my parents’ village, where it would be safe for a while. The forest was large, dark, and eerie, with tall trees spaced far apart. My pulse was getting faster and my heart was racing. Fear, the atrocious monster was closing in on us. I felt it in my bones; an intense shiver was running down my spine. As big as the trees were, they offered no hiding space.  Every movement made a noise that echoed through the forest.

I had no idea why I was there. Bullets were whizzing  past our bodies. As I looked around all I saw was chaos. As panic-stricken as I was, I felt safe with my mother. Looking back, I wish I could have made use of a time machine. We would have been safe right away.

If my mother and I rushed or moved too slowly, the consequences could be fatal.
The distance between us and safety, which was the neighboring country of Gabon, was about 178 miles. Grenades were exploding everywhere, leaving people in more than a few pieces. Blood was everywhere. A soldier was killed and hung in a tree.  When we passed under it, blood dripped on us. I remember the watery feeling on my hands.

My father made it safely to Gabon and sent for my mother and me. We lived as refugees in Gabon for about ten years.

We were lucky to escape from the war. All the problems I face in my life today are insignificant compared to the danger I faced before I was old enough to be aware of it. I still struggle with not “sweating the small stuff,” but I try to let this experience give me perspective.