Lucia has something to say

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Letter From Zambia

There was a handwritten letter from Zambia on my desk today, and a pencil sketch of a rhino was in it. The return address is Maximum Security Prison, Death Row Ward. I was curious about the writer. And so I googled him. Here are some excerpts from his letter (in italics) and the story about one of the victims from a prison report as I learned it. (If you’re sensitive, you may want to skip this post.)

Dear Friends,
I am very happy to write you this letter for the first time. I am a Congolese by nationality, and I am on death row here in Zambia. I have got two children from my marriage.

On May 1, 1997, she was on her way to Mansa. She was given a lift in a Land Cruiser, and they were 3 women and 2 men in the vehicle. As they were driving, they were stopped by one man whom the driver recognized. As the driver was exchanging greetings with this man, four men sprung up from the bush, one armed with a gun and the other three with knives.

I am an artist by profession even when I was outside. I know how to make monuments, necklaces, malachite, etc. But it is now very difficult for me to do these here in prison. I do draw sketches and portraits in prison because we are allowed to do so.

These people wanted to grab the keys, but the driver resisted. The man armed with a gun fired in the air, and the driver surrendered the keys. When they got the keys, they ordered all those in the vehicle to come out, and they were taken into the bush while the men who has stopped the vehicle jumped into the vehicle and drove it into the bush.

The only problem is that I do not have materials such as water colors, brushes and drawing paper as they are very difficult for me to find. Now I am very lucky to find your address and I ask you to help me with colors and other drawing materials.

In the bush, the men raped the women and killed the men.

Please please do not forget me. I don’t have any relatives to assist me here in a foreign country. Here I have been for 10 years without a visitor from my relatives.

They assaulted her and raped her again after which she was told to run. She started running. At that time she was naked and bleeding. She walked in great pain, and it was not long then it became dark. When she left the scene, she did not see her friends. When it became dark, she slept by a log.

I do receive letters from my family in Congo. The only problem is for them to come here because they are very poor.

The following day, she continued walking not knowing where she was as it was in the bush. After walking for a long time, she came to a road and she sat by a tree. As she sat under a tree there came a woman from whom she asked for something to wrap herself in, and she also inquired where she was. She asked this woman to escort her to the police station, the woman refused but gave her directions and she walked up to police station.

That is why I call upon you to find me someone who can help me. I have sent this sketch so that you can know I am an artist. But it is not painted. I will paint some if you will send me colors.

Yours,

Sammy K.

20 Comments:

Blogger KC said...

Lucia- The way you did this--it gave me chills. Were you able to look past that prison report and see a redeemed artist? Because I sure can't.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:13 PM  
Blogger jen said...

lucia. mother of god.

i mean, lucia. mother of god.

9:31 PM  
Blogger meno said...

"if you send me some colors"

That's the saddest thing.

12:08 AM  
Blogger QT said...

That gave me chills too. Once again, I am reminded of how lucky I am.

6:40 AM  
Blogger gr said...

Are you saying she was imprisoned after this?

6:40 AM  
Blogger Lucia said...

kc: No, I can't see a redeemed artist. I see a criminal.

jen: Yeah, I've had trouble shaking this off. I'm not talking much, and I think it's related to this.

meno: It is very sad.

qt: We are lucky.

gr: He (the guy who wrote the letter) is in prision. She is the victim.

all: I was asking myself this morning why I wrote this. I think I wrote it for me, to work it out for myself. Interestingly, I had convinced myself there would be no comments and I was OK with that, because, really, what is there to say? But, really, I feel a little lighter having shared this.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Oh Lucia.

8:39 AM  
Blogger St. Dickeybird said...

Thanks for such a great post!

Very chilling. And I hope the man lives a long and painful life in prison.
:(

8:49 AM  
Blogger Thailand Gal said...

It seems important to see the humanity in an inhumane situation. We can choose to render people as non-human or try to salvage what might be salvageable. Yes, I see a criminal there, too. No doubt. Prison is where he needs to be. But I also see a wounded human being.

Peace,

-chani

9:51 AM  
Blogger Susan as herself said...

Man, that it an amzing and haunting story. I hope you can purge it from your thoughts soon, though... that must be bad to carry around all the time...

10:07 AM  
Blogger Citymouse said...

To me, "the woman refused" is what I can not get past

10:35 AM  
Blogger Sanjay said...

Chilling and also got me mad. I hope you can shake this off.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Steven Novak said...

What in the world?!

Steve~

1:41 PM  
Blogger Tink said...

I have goosebumps. The way you spliced what happened and that letter together was truly beautiful Lucia. Although at first I thought it was the woman who had written the letter, and I was outraged. All the same, how sad. How twisted.

1:59 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

I am glad that I did read this post. This will stick for a very long time.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

At first I thought _she_ had been imprisoned. I'm glad I re-read it.

You know, Hitler was an artist too.

Sad sad sad. And I don't mean him.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Hulai said...

wow this is terrible. thats just so terrible. that poor woman.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Popeye said...

It's never really easy to sort this out, is it? The distance between horror and beauty is not as far as I try to convince myself it is. Playing and laughing with children helps me when I hear stories like this.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous kat said...

I love the balls of this man... raping and killing and then asking a stranger for art supplies so he can bide away his time in prison. Ugh - some people in this world are so insanly sick.

12:00 PM  

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