Resources for ages 9-11 in Art
Teaching Tools, 22 April 2007
"Something like an accident"
in Sybella Wilkes, One day we had to run!, (London, Evans Brothers, 1994)
"It was something like an accident when I ran away from my village. We were playing at about 5 o'clock when these people, the soldiers, came. We just ran. We didn't know where were going to, we just ran. The soldiers divided into two groups; one for the village, one for our herds of cattle. My brother helped me to run. We didn't know where our mother or father were, we didn't say goodbye. Where there is shooting, when you hear BANG! BANG! BANG!, you don't think about your friend or your mother, you just run to save your life.
I didn't see the soldiers, I just heard the shooting, the screaming and the bombing that went DUM, DUM, DUM, DUM like this and killed many people. It all just happened, like an accident, and we ran without anything – nothing – no food, no clothes, nothing.
In the day the sun is hot and your feet burn. So we walked at night when it is cold, because then you don't say all the time, "I want water, I want water." To rest we stood under trees, but you can die of hunger if you give up and just lie under a tree ...
"So we just walked. We ate soil and the leaves of trees. The big boys knew the way. I think God showed us the way. You see, when you have God he says, 'Go this way' to the good people. But without God you could go this way, that way – and where do you go?
On the roads you can't leave a person who just sits down. You must pinch him and say, 'Get up! Get up!' God has told you that you must take this person, he is life. How did I keep walking? When I saw a small boy walking I would say, 'See this small boy? He is walking.' And I would carry on. We would tell stories to make us happy, saying, 'We are going to get food, we will be happy.'
We never felt well. We just walked. People died of hunger. I saw many dying. Even my friend died. There was no water, no food. When I saw my friend dying, I carried on walking. You see sometimes you can help, and then sometimes you can't. You are talking about your life. I had to leave my friend because I would die with him. When he refuses, when he won't go, what can you do?"