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  • My champion!
  • In the beginning, it seemed we had finally found safety at Yele. The village was always full of lively chattering and laughter. The adults, civilians and soldiers, spoke about the weather, planting seasons, hunting, and nothing about the war. But gradually the smiles on people's faces assured us that there was nothing to worry about anymore.
  • Everyone sat on the verandahs of the houses facing the village square. Parents picked their children's hair, girls played singing and clapping games, and some of the young soldiers played soccer with the boys.
  • The soccer games reminded me of the league matches I used to play in when my family first moved to the mining town of Mogbwemo. In particular, I remembered a final match that my team, which consisted of Junior and some friends, won... My father walked up to me and rubbed my head before he held my right hand and raised it up, as he declared me his champion.
  • Cowards die many times before their deaths...
  • I distanced myself from games from games in the village and sat behind houses , staring into the open space until my migraines temporarily subsided... The sergeant called for fever, cold, and many other illnesses, but he never asked if anyone was having nightmares or migraines.
  • One morning the atmosphere in the village suddenly became tense. It wasn't clear what had caused the change, but something was about to happen... Lieutenant Jabati stood in front of his men, his hands crossed behind his back. He addressed them for hours before they were released for lunch.
  • Lieutenant Jabati sat on the verandah of his house and read a book... He caught me looking at him and called me to sit with him... "It is Shakespeare." He showed me the cover. "Julius Caesar have you heard of it?"... "Cowards die many times before their deaths..." I began, and he recited the whole speech with me.
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