No one could have predicted a year ago the life tolls that we would experience during the spring-early summer of 2020. I know families who have lost loved ones and individuals who have lost jobs. All of us have lost life as we knew it.
Sadness, grief, worry and despair can be immobilizing. But our resiliency is needed now more than ever to help our community and the world.
My friend, Kashoro Nyenzezi, suffered tremendous loss in her earlier life and rather than succumb to feelings of hopelessness, she became a beacon of strength and resilience, inspiring the same in others. Her story is a beautifully significant reminder that despite the challenges we face, we can and will get through this.
As a teen girl, Kashoro was brutally attacked and left for dead by a gang of rebel soldiers during the civil war in DR Congo. She was found and brought to a hospital where her life was saved although there were no surgeries that could remove the horrific memories and emotional pain. She managed to escape DRC, arrive in the USA and gain acceptance at a university where she studied public health.
The tragic event experienced by Kashoro was not the ending of her story – it was the beginning of a new chapter. She knew there were thousands of other young girls like her and she couldn’t remain silent. She needed to be the voice for all of the other young women who had been victimized in the DRC. “We have some women who have no place to live after they are raped because their husbands and families reject them. They find themselves on streets.” These women often experience ongoing suffering from their injuries and have a child from the rape that is also shunned in society.