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African Child Day: The Africa we want for tomorrow: technology through use, internet connection, green economy, youth empowerment

“IT’S FINALLY HERE!” That was the last word I heard in my dream before mama woke me up from sleep. I’m panting and actually feeling very weak. Thank God it is yet another nightmare.

I am Akinibom Laura Fileh a 13 years old child who resides Menzi a region of Kiloh in Sub-Saharan Africa. Just like every other child I have dreams and aspiration. I’m presently schooling in one of the government school in Menzi central. I aspire to be a Law maker or law defender in future
For the past 2 weeks I have been in constant shock and had a series of nightmares because of the images I watch in the news per regard of the war ongoing in our neighboring region. Children’s arms have been cut off and access to school denied.

In worst cases, children have lost their lives to the “senseless war” as dad puts it. The future is not certain for a child like me in those regions hoping for a better tomorrow. Dad and mom say I must study extremely hard and pass all my subjects to become a good person in future. Well I can say I’m doing my best so far in my studies but the future for me is not really certain. 
Grownups are doing a lot of hurtful things to children were I reside. My mom constantly warn my siblings and I about the how evil the world is but I often look at adults as the problem. They keep hurting children and ruining their future. 

My home is peaceful loving and the very perfect family a child can ask for. Dad is a government school teacher and my mom is a nurse. They always encourage us to be better than them in future.
I have friends both in my neighborhood and school who we constantly play together and learn together. 

It is another morning waking up to be up to the realities life in my country has finally turned us to. We have no idea of when the rebels will attack our region and do the numerous bad things they have been doing to children in the neighboring state. We are scared, mom said we should always pray to God but dad is of the opinion that only we can solve our problem but the government high officials are not willing to do so. I do not even understand what is going on.
“Akini, finish up your breakfast, you’ll be late for church” these are the words of my mom that takes me off my trance.

“Mama please I will like to ask you some questions” I said while dropping my spoon of soup.
“Hurry and finish your meal, whatever you want to know we will discuss after school” said my mom “you don’t want to be late do you? I don’t have time to attend to you either, I’m late for work, be save at school, nobody knows what next can happen. This country is so uncertain now” she added and trilled off to work. 

Still trying to figure out what I had to do with my question, my elder brother and younger sister finish their breakfast. Dad had already left
“We’ll not wait for you all morning, you better hurry up or you will be heading to school by yourself today” said Davis my older brother.
We head to school and it was a very long morning with me thinking of the nightmare I had and unanswered questions that filled my mind. The lunch break bell finally rings and children are really excited to go about their feeding and 1hour relaxation. I am not myself and I have barely learned anything in class this morning.
“Akini, let us go for break. I have been shouting your name forever, hope you are fine?” Beryl my best friend ask me. I tried to ask her the questions on my mind but let it slide because I know she’ll not give me the answers I need. She leaves with our other female classmates. I’m a lover of novels. I remember the next period of the day is free so I trial off to the school library and meet just some of my school teachers chit chatting about the political situation in the country.

Needing some answers regarding what is ongoing, I decide to take a strategic position beside them. 
"This is really bad" said Mr. Alphonse "I don't actually know how far we can get with this insecurity.  These rebels are just senseless with their claims. I truly doubt the future of this country. Can we ever survive ?" He continued and shakes his head. 
"The government is the cause of all this.  They is no security guarantee in this country no more. One does not know when it will get her. People of Lola are suffering especially the young.  My heart truly goes out to the younger generation.

Education is not guaranteed no more. Children barely have access to classrooms, they are being recruited as child soldiers. How can they get the future Africa we want with no education? Where will technological advancement come from? How do they compete with their counterparts in the other parts of the world ? It's quite frustrating" says Mr. Chai.

"It's a sad scenario for children actually.  Worst is this isn't happening in this part of Africa only. Africa is sick and cannot accommodate this children.  They don't deserve to go through what they are facing. Is it the internal armed conflicts in Africa,  the constant civil uprising or should we mention hunger and the deplorable conditions of living in most African countries ? We sure really need healing in this Africa." Mr. Achiri steps in. 

"God alone can help us" adds already frustrated Mr. Chai.  The bell rings indicating it's break over and the teachers bid their goodbyes and live for their various classes living Mr. Achiri the librarian at his duty post. The questions in my mind just kept increasing. I reflect over all what these teachers talked about and it made little sense to me.

Later that evening after dinner mom asked me what I wanted to talk about in the morning. We sit down together with my dad. I asked them what really is going on in our country and why children have to go through such a painful experience.  Dad gets really worried and explains certain things I still don't understand but I get some points.

"My daughter it is strange this questions regarding this is coming from a girl child like you.  You are very smart and you deserve answers but sadly you won't get to understand everything.  The country is facing second challenges now. A group of rebels want their ridiculous ideologies to be implemented under duress and have declared to pick up arms in order to achieve this. It is really sad that the government could not contain these rebels and they're are risking the lives of all its citizens especially that of children.  No child deserves to experience what is ongoing.  This is not the Africa we foresaw when we were age. We expected a more developed and advanced Africa where people have harmonious lives but it's different now. This chaos and other bad things are affecting Africa and especially its future generations which is you. At this point we only have to be careful and stay alive while working very hard to make this country and Africa as a whole better in the coming years.  No child deserved to be hungry, separated from family, maimed,  live in extreme poverty and worst case scenario be killed." Says dad
"You should focus on studying hard and being safe in order to transform this nation and continent.  You people can do it but we actually fear for your generation.

We don't know if you will be given a chance to live upto your expectations but you ought to keep trying.  Never give up on the Africa you dream of seeing.  Africa can actually be like Europe and much more. It starts with the mindsets to make it better. We can always achieve what ever we want.  Just stand out in everything you do for the Africa you want. Is that okay ?" Dad explains.  I nod my head in agreement and mom said it's time for me to sleep.

In bed, I still think about what dad said.  I wish everything could get better.  I wish children will not have to suffer becoming of the greed of elders. Well, people who do bad things to children are just evil and should not exist in society.  
Talking about Africa I want to see in the future is what puts a smile on my face. I know other children might think of this too. I watch a lot of white movies and I see we are just worlds apart no matter how they try to make it sound soft. Africa can get better.  I still believe in an African continent where quality education is achievable.  Where there is safety, where we can be economically and technologically advanced.

An Africa where there is development and children live in good conditions.  Were tropical diseases are well managed and eradicated and there is zero hunger. An Africa where children will live their best life without any interference from war or natural disasters. Africa can get better this I know. 
These thoughts cloud my mind as I sleep off.

By Nji Nelson Chefor

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