I expected humanity to show me love and compassion like the dolphins shows for species not
their own. But instead I found love and compassion in non-fiction reading books. Being born in a war zone and losing my father there, to being raised in a Xenophobic place, and losing my friend, I was ready to become a reflection of what I saw happening around me. For one, avenge my father’s as well as my friend’s death.

I was born in a world where people were brutally raped, butchered and murdered. Where people disappeared in a blink of an eye never to be seen again. The world was a cruel, cold, hard place to live in with so much hate around I could smell it.

Now rewinding to some years back. In high school there was an announcement on the intercom about a competition called the book reading marathon. I decided to give it a try, told myself that maybe this competition could fast track my mission on how to master the art of hate since hate was a popular clothing brand and a lot of people were wearing it.

I too was ready to wear the brand, after all it left me fatherless and forced me to leave my natural habitat to look for refuge elsewhere. I entered the book reading marathon to find out more about the cruellest of the cruellest people in the world, only to come across Dr Denis Mukwege.

The first time I read about him I felt a sense of cognition dissonance. I wept for six days and six nights. I learned that there were actually people in the world who wanted to change the status quo of people who against all odds are trying their best to make the world a better place. And there I was trying to ruin it. I dug deeper and found Abdulkadir Yahya Ali a Somalian peace activist, Ayo Ayoola-Amale a conflict-resolution professional, Samantha Smith and many more. I started reading books to deepen my hate, but found love.

Books taught me how to ask people to put more pressure on the Congolese government to end war so that I could go back home. Books taught me the history of the world so that I don’t repeat the same mistakes. Books made me a Human Rights activist. Books taught me how to speak up. Books gave me the confidence to face the world again only this time with love, grace, compassion and kindness.

I know that war won’t end today nor tomorrow or Xenophobia and Racism won’t just vanish, but I am doing everything in my power for peace, besides I’ve got books on my side. As for the reading marathon, I won it that year as the person who read the most books.