The Day He Lost His Wife

By Muhango Innocent Amani

Balinabo is a Congolese citizen living in Uvira, in the South Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. From Monday to Saturday, he sells goods in his friend’s shop. He works from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., with an hour off for lunch. He attends church services only on Sundays because he is very busy. His wife, Lubolaga, is a high school teacher in a private school. Balinabo and Lubolaga live together in harmony and love each other. They both have an income, which enables them to provide for their family. They live in a big house with four bedrooms and a living room. The walls are made of concrete bricks and the roof is made of old corrugated iron sheets.

One Monday morning in October, Lubolaga was getting ready to go to school as usual. The weather was very cold, and it was about to rain. She put on a water-resistant coat and left for school, which wasn’t far, and she got there before it started raining. Lubolaga taught her classes that day and came home in the afternoon. Her husband came home for lunch at 2 p.m. and found his wife resting in bed. He had lunch and went back to work. A little later, two of Lubolaga’s friends came to visit her, because she had given birth six months ago. They brought some money for their friend to purchase sugar. An hour later, the women decided to go after taking a bottle of Fanta each.

In the evening, Lubolaga had to cook for the entire family of seven people, including her mother-in-law, who was living with them in a small house covered with grasses. The mother-in-law had moved into their compound after the loss of her husband, Balinabo’s father. Lubolaga had to purchase some more food because what they had was not enough for the entire family. At 6:30 p.m., she decided to go buy two kilograms of rice and sweet potatoes with the money she got from friends. She went to the market and bought what she needed.

On her way home, she encountered two unknown men carrying guns. They stopped her and asked for money. Lubolaga said that she had no money and told the young men to come back in a week when she received her salary. The bandits refused. One of them said, “We were sent to kill you because of your work. A year ago, you came from college and took someone else’s teaching position because of your qualifications. The person you replaced was not happy with you and paid us to end your life.” As soon as he said this, he shot her in the belly, and they fled. Five minutes later, several people rushed to the scene when they heard Lubolaga crying for help. They asked her what happened. She could hardly speak, but she told them she had been shot because of her job. They took her to the nearest hospital, and twenty minutes later she lost her life. The corpse was kept in a mortuary for three days before it was buried.

When Balinabo heard about the death of his wife, he fainted. He was taken to the nearest hospital. Fortunately, he recovered quickly and was able to arrange the burial ceremony for his wife. Balinabo was very worried because he was not sure if he could continue supporting his children and mother on his own. Two weeks later, he resumed his work as a shop assistant. The local authorities launched an investigation to identify the killers but their efforts were in vain.

17 November, 2023