My Life as a Slave

Life as a child soldier was a world of darkness.  Each day was filled with fear.  As a child, prior to becoming a soldier, I would fear the presence of the military.  I would respect the soldiers because of their authoritative demeanor.  It never felt that way when I was a child soldier.  Although a soldier commands respect, I was never respected.  Though a soldier should not display fear, I was always scared.  Carrying a rifle does not remove fear.  I was technically in a position of power, but I had no power.  I was just a kid.  I was trapped in a system that steals your childhood and leaves you only with hard, horrible memories.

I recall spending my nights, on full alert, guarding the military commander's home as he slept.  He was warm and comfortable, well rested and fed.  I was out in the cold, dark night, shivering with fear.  We wouldn't even be allowed to sleep the following day, we were to maintain his security as he moved around the region, while he goes to the bar or enjoys his meal. The commander should be the one protecting the children of his country, not using them as a security fence around his home.  We were treated like his dogs, left out in the yard to fend off his enemies.  Child soldiers are slaves.  You cannot say no, you cannot help make any decisions.  You are there to follow any and every direction and command given to you by the commander.  I could not move without letting someone know where I was going and when I would be back.

I was not a Christian during this time in my life.  I did not have any hope.  I did not have any place or any one to turn to for peace.  I did not know if I would be allowed to live the next day, or if my life would be taken from me, either by the enemy or by one of my own superior officers.  I never wanted to kill myself, but I was afraid that I would die.  I was afraid because I did not know what would happen to me if I did die.  Not only did I not have physical freedom, my spirit was not free as well.  I was trapped by the darkness and sin in this world without any relief in sight.  The only glimmer of light that was a part of my life was listening to a cassette tape of Frere Patrice.  He sang Christian songs, which lifted me up, the words were felt in my spirit.  There words provided me a small sense of peace even though I did not understand that the Holy Spirit was present at that time. 

I was a soldier for 6 years total.  There will be more stories relating to this time in my life in the future. 

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