This week I read one the most powerful and touching books of my life.
Slave – The True Story Of Girl’s Lost Childhood and Her Fight for Survival
Written by Mende Nazer and Damien Lewis
Mende is a Sudanese lady who was born and raised her first 12 years in Sudan’s Nuba mountains and she belongs to Nuba tribe. Her life was rich and save. She was successful at school and her father was very important to her. Even in that time at school there were signs of clear racism at school. Even though Mende and her village were Muslims like their teachers they were not equal at school. They were not allowed to use their own language and Arabic was the main language spoken everywhere. The teachers treated them wrongly by making them feel less worthy. Like they would have been superior against Nuba people.
Mende’s dream was that she would be a doctor when she grow up. Little she did know about how things would turn out…
In Nuba culture there were some things which I personally think are wrong and scary too. Girls were forced to marry at the age of 13 to a man who they were engaged to since they were born. They are also being circumcision to prove they are pure and untouchable. That turned out to be one of the most painful happenings of Mende’s life.
Mende’s life changed when she was 12 years old. Arabics attacked to her village and massacred people and took women and children with them. Mende was one of those. She did not know where she was going or what was happening to her. She was sold for slavery.
First she was a slave in an Arabic family in Khartoum for six years before she was sent to London. During those six years she was mentally, physically and sexually abused. With no pay, no holiday, no days off she worked every day to her family. Her mistress was a scary woman who totally crashed Mende’s self-esteem and soul. She called Mende with an insulting name for many years, beat her badly sometimes without a reason and made her to do everything in the house: cleaning, cooking, laundry, take care of children and so on. The woman took away Mende’s identity and even made her believe that black people were less worthy for real.
Rahab wanted to kill every hope Mende felt. She believed Mende was her property. She was not allowed to pray or have anything to herself. During those six years Mende was out of the house barely about 10 times. She did not know anything about what had happened to her family.
Mende was craving for love and human touch. Her memories of her gentle and wonderful childhood was fading away and her mind was under a constant pressure. She became very close with Rahab’s children who treated her more like human. She learned how to adapt to the environment: she knew how to avoid spanking and sexual abuse.
“Whatever they ask you to do you have to obey. Otherwise they will beat you.”
– An advise which was given to Mende before she ended up to Rahab’s family and which she gave to her follower before she left to London
When Mende was 18 years old Rahab sent her to her sister to London. It was a year 2000. In London she was no more beaten but mentally very exhausted. She even considered suicide. Rahab was in her mind strongly. She had luckily heard news of her family. They were all alive.
11st of September 2000 Mende ran away from her jailers with the help of other Sudanese guys. She finally got to taste the freedom again. But her battle was not over because her refuge was being denied in UK. Media raised into resistance against government and she was allowed to stay in UK.
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This book gives a whole another meaning for freedom. Even today free Mende has not been fully feeling save. But she is a very strong woman and one of the rare ones who have been able to escape from their captors. She revealed her country’s slavery to the world to know. She tells her story to the shocked world and dreams about being a nurse and having kids and family.
This year there was a movie released about Mende’s life as a slave. The movie is called I am slave.
I have a lot of respect for this beautiful lady. She spent her teenage years with no freedom at all. Can’t believe she is still alive. May God bless her life and let her feel save and free. Thank You Jeus for the freedom.
When I read this book it got me thinking about how lucky I am. I’m free and I can choose who I’m marrying and no one can touch my body or take away my identity.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.