Alexandre, from Angola, shares his childhood memories – and how they forged his future.
I grew up in a very poor village named “Zovo” in the municipality of Caungula, 12 hours or about 700 km east of Luanda, not far from the border to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I share my story in the king’s name, meaning my grandfather was a king, the village founder who also had many wives.
My childhood was not as good as we had hoped for. Although the Kingdom was ours, my grandfather’s many wives gave him many children. Africa is full of traditions, and Angola is no exception. One such tradition is that each son fights to get his share of the Kingdom from the father. This causes envy and persecution within the family, even to the point of killing one another. It is exactly what happened with my father, who lost many brothers. As a result, I had to struggle for my life, just get something to eat.
When I was a 9-year-old boy, I was simply a fisherman. One day, I remember, my uncle and I went fishing. On the way to the big river, where we used to fish, was a “Wuhamb”. It was 20 meters deep and 50 meters wide. We had to cross a small river before arriving at the big river.
My uncle was in front of me. We crossed an old fallen tree and I spotted something like a fish in the water. Only that it was not a fish. In reality, it was a giant snake. Looking at it more closely, I saw the whole body in the river. I whistled to my uncle, who walked back and quickly killed it with an axe. The snake was 3 meters long and difficult to pick up because it was too heavy. Eventually, we could, by force. We went to the cabin in the woods, where we had slept for 3 days whilst fishing and eating. We also ate the snake.
My suffering forced me to be a hunter. By the time I was 15 years old, I had learned to be a fisherman and a hunter. I learned to trap edible mice and birds just to support my family.
The persecution, not only in my father’s family, was beginning to affect me, as I am the first child. In 2013, I was forced to leave my village and come to Luanda to live with my uncle. There I received the opportunity to develop my life in Jesus. I feel transformed now, and I will continue to teach my people what I have learned during this time.
I believe this is God’s plan for me. HE wanted me to pass all these steps to prepare me to share the good news with others. This is my reality.