It has been many years since my nightmares have been passed but they have always remained in my memory. Before I came to live here with my Aunt Marie in Maryland, I lived with my mother and father in Virginia. My father was a commander and my mother was a good housewife who loved me so much. All the hardships and hostile experiences of my life began when a civil war started in Virginia. I was only nine years old then. One evening, my mother and I received terrible news about my father’s death during his service to the country. The news was quite terrifying for us and it felt like the sky had fallen down.
A few months after my father’s death, my mum decided to move to Maryland where Aunt Marie lived as it was no longer safe for us to live in Virginia. We set off our journey but unfortunately, the streets of Virginia were filled with crowds of people who were also moving to a safer place like us. I held my mum’s hands very tight but the crowd was too big and I was knocked down to the ground. The minute I looked up, I knew that the crowd had separated me from my mum. My heart stopped as there was no sign of mum everywhere I looked.
I stood stiffly in the crowd, feeling horrified, scared and nervous. Later on, two men called Toby and Scott came over to me and offered help. I explained to them what had happened and they told me to follow them to find my mum. Although we searched for many hours, we could not find mum, so they told me to stay at their home until I could find my mother. They took me past the main streets, villages and finally stopped at a fenced area where there were no homes.
All I saw there was people working as slaves in many tasks and most of them were being beaten on their backs and legs while doing work. Everywhere I looked, a lot of scary-looking men were yelling at the workers and that was the time I finally realised that Toby and Scott were captured terrorists. Just as I was feeling very shocked and confused, Scott started ordering me to work in the mining section. He threatened that he would kill me if I ever tried to run away.
The place was like hell for me. I had to work in the mining area up to ten hours a day and was always beaten as a punishment for not working fast enough. I had to carry heavy loads and worked in the sun or rain every day. I was fed only once a day and the food was terrible. I was very hungry and debilitated; however I worked all the time as there were many men who would torture me. I had a very harsh time as I was both physically and mentally abused.
No matter whether I was sick, exhausted or tired, I was forced to work. When I worked slowly, they beat my legs and when I could not carry loads, they beat my shoulders. There was not only a few seconds for me to rest and I could not even dare to think about resting. There was no payment but continuous work. My arms, shoulders and legs were so sore that I thought that I would definitely die. I cried a lot and always thought about my family to...