Refound Dad

By Patrick Bwira Baeni

One family was living in Bukavu, one of the big cities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The parents were enjoying having their firstborn, whose name was “Uwase,” when the war started. This war burnt out because there was a misunderstanding between foreigners from Rwanda and the Congolese people at that time. So, Rwandans who were in different cities were hunted and many of them run away and went back to Rwanda where their lives seemed in security rather than in Bukavu.

In African families, it is the duty for the father to go out and look for food for the family. When the war burned out, the father was out of the family looking for food. It happened that he didn’t find any way to come back home and take care of his family since roads were dangerous to people of his morphology. Then the family got separated for a week, and since the situation kept getting worse and worse, the mother and Uwase fled to Goma, where they took asylum because it was the hometown of the mother and father. She was alone with her daughter, who was at least one year old.

They lived separately with the father for a long time because, from Rwanda where the father took asylum, he was getting Congolese endless atrocities news. Due to those endless wars, he was unable to come back to Congo to look for his family.

When Uwase was 4 years old, the family-in-law allowed her mother to get married to another man because their son had been missing for a long time, and Uwase’s mother was still a young lady. Those were enough reasons to allow that young woman to get engaged to another man and get married. A number of people were turning around and dredging her. She couldn’t accept those things at the beginning, but when she received authorization from her in-laws, she fell in love with one charming guy. They got married and had four children together. Uwase was the fifth kid and felt like the firstborn of that family. She knew that man as her real father for a long time.

When Uwase was 15, some of her uncles told her that she had her own father and that the one they were living with was not her biological father. And they told her the story of how they were separated because of war, and they thought that he was already dead because he had been speechless for a long time. Then they allowed her mother to get married to another man.

Then, Uwase asked her mother this way: “Mummy, is that true that I have my own father apart from daddy?” “Who told you that?” her mother replied. Uwase, very sad and angry said “I will not tell you the one who told me, just know that I have been told that my biological father is still alive”.

The mother realized that Uwase was aware of everything and nothing would stop her from knowing the truth any longer. She decided to assume, then she said that “My daughter, I am sorry because I hadn’t told you yet about your biological father. However, I was waiting for the right time to deliver this information to you, unfortunately, you got the information before that time reaches.

Full of tears, Uwase hugged her mother and whispered in her mother’s ears that “Why, mummy, why did you hide this secret for that long time, why?” Her mother also crying replied, “Keep in mind that I kept that secret to protect you. But I am deeply sorry”.

After ten minutes, the mother asked her daughter to sit on her bed and then Uwase asked her mother how she would get in touch with her biological father. But  since the current then husband knew that his wife was married before and that man was killed during the war that burnt out in Bukavu, she replied that “I have no way to get in touch with him right away but I will keep on searching and I will let you know if I find one.”

Uwase continued asking her mother how to get in touch with her biological father. As she got no answer from her, she decided to go and ask her uncles. Because she asked constantly, one of her uncles gave her the telephone number of her biological father. Then she stole the telephone from her mother and called her biological father. They set up a program to meet in the neighboring city of Gisenyi in the Republic of  Rwanda. On the due day, she crossed the border happily, for she had to meet for the very first time her missed dad.

When they met, they just hugged with tears in their eyes. They sat in a certain hotel drinking some soft drink meanwhile they were chatting and tell stories. But since the father was still doubting, he asked Uwase to forgive him because he wanted to check something on her left buttocks to be sure that it was really his daughter. Knowing that he is really her biological father, Uwase showed him her buttocks without any shame. After checking, he discovered what he was looking for. He saw the scar and then confirmed that Uwase was his biological daughter because, the father remembered that when Uwase was a baby, she got injured from her buttocks. That was a sign to prove him the originality of his daughter.

Since then, they have become too close. Her father showed her his other children and introduced her to them. And they started living as brothers and sisters. Even though Uwase went back to Goma, she was going to Rwanda every weekend to go and meet her brothers and sisters, mainly her dad, whom she rediscovered after fifteen years.


9 June, 2023