Dark thoughts skittered through Jovia Kabumba’s mind causing her young face to appear far older. She stood looking out of the glassless window frame at the vast expanse of dirt and scrub dotted with the stick-figure buildings which made up her village.
Absently twirling a loose lock that had fallen from her head wrap, Jovia continued to follow her morbid thoughts. A village several miles away had been attacked recently. Hardly any villagers remained.
Were they next?
No one was safe.
They could strike at anytime bringing terror, destruction, and death. They called themselves Christians-a resistance army fighting in the name of the Christian God. But they were only worthy to be called Murderers.
The sound of playful children pulled her back from those dark recesses and Ms. Kabumba couldn’t help but let her mouth give way to a smile as her students entered the little schoolhouse and took their places.
Ms. Kabumba had been the teacher in this village for about 3 years now, and she wouldn’t rather be doing anything else. When the world one lives in is constantly harassing and threatening with its terror and horror, the pure innocence of a child, a hope of a better future, is worth more than a frightened heart can explain.
The day went on smoothly and as a break time was approaching, Ms. Kabumba strolled to the entrance of the little schoolhouse and looked out. Her eyes caught a cloud of dust in the distance and before she had time to combat her fear with reason, a young man came running up to the building with a look of horror on his face.
So, it was them.
No words were exchanged between the two and the young man sprinted on-a herald of doom.
Ms. Kabumba struggled against the rising panic and tried to think.
What should they do?
Would they be found if they hid?
Would they be caught if they ran?
Was there any chance at all?
Her shaking hands reached out and pulled shut the rickety wooden frame set in with cardboard.
Their only barrier to against the the coming wave of destruction.
She turned around. By now the students were aware of something out of place. Ms. Kabumba fought desperately to keep her voice calm as she instructed the children to move to the front of the classroom and sit against the wall.
Only the scuffling of feet and tables could be heard as the children obeyed. Not a word was spoken; not a cry uttered as they all sat themselves down to await their doom.
Ms. Kabumba squeezed tight the hands closest to her as the sounds they were dreading started to reach their ears. The cries, the shots, and the rumble of the vehicles all combined into one paralyzing sound.
Desperate to shut out the sounds of their impending fate, Ms. Kabumba searched her mind for something, anything, to distract her precious ones from the terror without.
Searching through her memories, she finally set on one.
An almost forgotten one.
When she was a little girl, a missionary came to the village and had taught all the children a song. Jovia stretched her mind to remember words.
They would not come.
It had been so long ago and the English syllables so foreign that, try as she might, the lyrics remained elusive.
With a strong determination to shut out the sounds of chaos and despair, Jovia concentrated on the memory until she noticed a sound coming from her own throat. The tune of the lost song had reached out for her and she closed her eyes and let the soothing sound grow until it surrounded her and her children.
Over and over the hum was replayed until all in the schoolhouse were taking part. The fears awaiting outside the walls became diminished as a blanket of peace wrapped itself around the rickety little building. Lost in this warm embrace, tears came to Jovia Kabumba’s eyes as her lips began to form the words:
“ Jesus loves me this I know...”
**Night had fallen and the leader of the band of assailants met with his superior to give his report.
“Were you able to acquire anything useful,” the superior asked.
“No,” the other replied. “ This village had nothing for us.”
“What about any children? Did you find any with which to strengthen our army?”
“No, Sir. We found no children.”
“Did you look in the schoolhouse?”
“There was no schoolhouse.”
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