By Joseph Nashion
Many children in South Sudan and other parts of the world have been brought up by their stepmothers due to numerous factors. One of the factors include but not limited to; divorce, death and wars which have led to family break ups that leave many children at the hands of their step parents.
In most cases the experiences encountered by children brought up by their step parents especially mothers is horrifying that leave children with permanent scars, psychological or physical due to the unspeakable torture they undergo.
But the case of Victoria Elia Costa who is currently a banker; the story is different. In fact she attributes to whatever she has achieved in life to her loving step mother. She says her step mother is worldly mother; she did whatever she did because she wanted her to have a bright future.
It is not that her father divorced, her real mother or that she died, but the two were separated from each because of war.
She said that her mother conceived her while both parents were still at school then the father was to go and study in Juba so he informed her step mother that there is a woman pregnant for him so once the child is out they should take very good care of that child.
In the 1990 because of war, they migrated to the Democratic Republic of Congo to seek refuge in Nuunuwas at the age of seven. The people from the side of her father came and met with those from her mother. “They had certain things to be cleared in terms of dowry so now I started staying with my step mother.”
Victoria says in the beginning at her young age, she thought she was being mistreated because she could reach an extent of running back to her biological mother but still her mother sent her back and advised her that her step mother loves her and would like her to be a responsible girl in future.
“I was not the only girl or only child in the house we were many though she paid more attention to see each and everything I did and I used to do all the chores in the house, I don’t deny the fact she over worked me among the children in the house,” she added
“At the age of 8-9 I used to cook for the all family though mingling remained a challenge. We then returned to South Sudan where I handled each and everything of the house and it was my responsibility to organize the young ones to go to school.” She says adding that even her own sisters (Stepmother) kids were in the house but she never wanted them to do any of her work.
Nuunu said that after her primary leaving examination her step mother decided to send her to Arua in Uganda without anything even clothes.
“Just like a hen bought from the market and brought home for rearing that is how I went to study in the secondary while staying with one of her sisters .I expected her to take her sister’s kids but she left all them and sent me and today I don’t think there is nobody who can do it for another person’s child.” Nuunu says. “I have very important things to recall about my step mother and it is a testimony that I will continue to remember her and I will also tell my children in future. She used to tell me that if I left school to follow up men it will be my greatest mistake .”
She warned me that a man will pregnant me and leave me with that child and that is exactly what happened in my last semester at the university. The guy who impregnated me just on confirming to him, he disappeared till today. I now drive myself to work place despite the fact that I underwent some domestic workload at my early age. I am happy though it’s unfortunate that my step mother passed away when I was doing my s.4 final examinations so she is not there to enjoy the fruits” she disclosed.
She urged fellow youths whose experiences at hands of their step mums might have been the opposite, not to surrender because, “I think it is because of their own making but God has good plans for them.
“Today for instance they are people who still think I was a true daughter to that step mother so I have remained a living memory to her people.”