Acaya Christine

ACAYO CHRISTINE was born in Kinene in 1974, one of twelve children. Her father died when she was very young, and one of her brothers was killed by the rebels. Her mother farmed to care for them and eventually remarried. Christine married before the war. Before giving birth to her fourth child, while walking to the medical clinic, she was captured and severely beaten by the rebels. There were many women and children captured at this time, and they were held by the rebels for two weeks with no food or water. She said she was sustained only by God’s mercy. After being beaten again, they were released and told to go find their way home. They were beaten so badly that they couldn’t walk, so they found a garden nearby to hide. People in a nearby village found them, boiled water to treat their wounds and fed and cared for them. She met a relative in that village who brought her back to her husband. When he saw how weak she was, he chased her away saying she was now useless. She went to her mother’s home and gave birth a week later. When she got stronger, her mother and stepfather talked with her husband, and he took her back. This was 1996 and the war had intensified, so they relocated to an IDP camp in Paicho. Life in the camp was very difficult, and she gave birth to three more children while in the camp with no midwife or medical care. Four of her children died from malaria while in the IDP camp. She was born again in 2006. They returned to their home in 2008 and she has since given birth to two more children and lost another child to malaria. She now has four children living and is working for school fees for her children.