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            I love the jungle, The jungle for me is like a bond between mother and child, inseparable. From the day I was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I had always explored the vast rain forest in hopes of finding something new to do. The African rainforest is a beautiful, but deadly place. You could take one step into the deep veins and loose yourself in minutes, or you could take one wrong step into quick sand where you will die a very slow tense death, or just maybe an Anaconda will eat you whole, your whole life flashing by in seconds. With my life at stake I take caution even though I know the jungle like the back of my hand, my name is Amare and I am 11 years old.

            Ever since I was born in the tropical jungle region of Africa, I have had a desire to get away from my village and create a permanent home in the jungle. In my hometown, wars come through often. This scares me. Were also not the richest community, there was a time when we were so low on food that I saw people I knew, my friends starve, and die in front of my eyes. This is another reason why I love the jungle. I can self-provide for myself here and I don't need help from anyone else. Over time I have learned what plants are poisonous and which are not, which bugs I can eat, and which ones will kill me as soon as they lay eyes on me, and many other things.

They say the wars getting better but all I see is it getting worse by the day. There have been multiple times where the rebels have tried to kill and ransack our town but the National Army protects us in the end. In these situations me, my mother, father, and my older brother hide under the table in the living room. I always urge them to run into the bush with me, but they hesitate; whispering “Don’t be foolish Amare! If we take one step outside of this house we will be shot.” That’s when I would be scared, when our fates weren't in our control, but in the choice if the rebels wanted to loot our house before th e army came.

            It was an early Friday morning when the peace finally came to a permanent end in our nice little village, as I was doing yard work sirens started to go off. I walked outside of our home out to the sidewalk. Large trucks and tanks were storming up and down our street with soldiers hanging off the side carrying large AK-47’s slung over their shoulders. At first I didn't know what to think until I actually saw them running off the trucks rallying up every person in sight and dragging them to the square at gunpoint, I jumped at the sound of gunshot.

A block down one of my neighbors had refused to get in the truck. I ran inside, running into my mother who was about to look what was going on. “Mother we must leave. The rebels are he-“ I was stopped when two soldiers crashed the door open holding my mother, brother,  father, and I all at gunpoint, taking us to the square.

            When we got to the square there were lines of people, all of my close friends and acquaintances being held down on their knees with their hands behind their head. My family all got down on our knees starring up at the stage when a large commander came out holding a large rifle. “Hello citizens of Africa, we are the rebel forces. Africa’s government and army are taking away our rights as proud citizens of the glorious nation of Africa. As many of you don’t know, we have conquered your army, and we are in control, of this small town now just as we have been doing to many towns over these last few weeks. That’s when all of a sudden chaos broke loose, multiple people started sprinting, there efforts being shot down by the bullets of the rebel forces. Then multiple cries would be let out as the shot bodies were left to stay as the commander continued. “Well, what a shame.. As I was saying all Men in this town will be executed for efforts against rebel forces, for the women you will be taken to the capitol for labor work, and all boys will be recruited for the rebel forces fighting against the dreaded Government of Africa!” This now caused multiple people to make effort to try and run again but only to again be shot down. My family looked at each other as they pulled up all the men of the village including my brother and father. Both my mother and I let out screams of pain and tears as the commander gave the countdown for the execution. As he counted down I looked around, directly behind was the bush leading into the jungle, I could easily make it into the jungle and stay there while things settle down, but I will never fight for the rebel forces. As the commander got to  I whispered in my moms ears “ I will cross paths with you one day mother I love you very much, stay safe “ As the general counted down to two and my mother tried grabbing me I took off into the bush screaming with tears streaming down my face. Bullets flew behind me, none hitting me.

            Over the next two months I would live off the jungle as I always planned frequently thinking of my Mother, Father, and Brother. What a sad life it had turned out to be, I had always had nightmares of the rebel forces finding me one day in the jungle and executing me like they had once done to my father and brother, but one day when I would be collecting vines I would hear chanting and music coming the direction of my old village. I got up and slowly approached the noise peeking my head out of the trees. It was some kind of ceremony with pictures everywhere hanged on the walls of buildings and trees. I knew those pictures, it was family’s I had known before they dreadful day when they were executed. At this point in my life I would have nothing to loose not knowing whether if I would be shot when I walked out of the jungle. I walked out looking at the faces on the pictures finally coming around three familiar ones with a woman sitting in front of them, starring at them for hours. It was me, my father, and my brother. I walked up to the woman and tapped her, as soon as she would turn around I would know who it was, my mother. My mother screamed with tears of joy, hugging me tighter than ever before. She told me that the Army had taken over the capitol and that the war was over. From that point life had gone back to being pretty normal for me for the most part, except after that day I couldn't do childish things anymore, I had seen my loved ones lives taken away before me and from now on I was the man of the house, I was no longer a child.

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