Caroline Is a Resilient Woman
Caroline Ngoena was born in the Central Africa Republic 39 years ago. She lives in the town of Paoua in the northwestern part of the country where its inhabitants are under tremendous pressure. Because of infighting between rebels and government troops she had to flee 3 times her home since 2003. She left all her possessions behind which means that she had to rebuild her life from scratch.
But her most-prized possessions are not her jewelry or her dresses. Caroline Ngoena is a pig breeder and these animals are her livelihood. A single mother of 7, she has to feed her family and by breeding the pigs she can make an income. She is also active in the community and takes action to have a better life. But how do you do that when your village is under the threat of rebels? Here is what she says:
“When shooting starts, you run into the house and pick up what you can: a bowl, a plate, some flour. You put everything on your head, a child on your back, and run, looking right and left, scared of seeing someone with a gun. When you get into the bush you look for tall grass or a large tree where you can rest, take the child off your back to feed him, because you’ve run a long way. After a while you go to find firewood.”
Caroline is a wise woman, who, like many Africans, is willing and hardworking. Far from self pity, she would like people to understand her plight. “Today we are here, tomorrow we could be somewhere else, we could be displaced all over again. I want peace and if there is peace the country can develop. There is no development now because there is no security or peace. In Central Africa, people are fighting for nothing. If they [the rebels and the government] were in front of me I would tell them I want peace, that’s all, peace.”
Who will listen?