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  • Writer's pictureBeth Duff-Brown

Born a Sin in Africa

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

A personal story published in New Lines Magazine about my improbable friendship with a woman who was abducted as a little girl from my Peace Corps village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She never saw her country nor her family again.

When a stranger reached out to me two years ago asking for my help — I knew that our improbable friendship and the search for her family would become the last chapter of my book — even before I had finished some of the others. Those of you who know me well know that I don't always do things in order.

You can read about her journey and this forgotten piece of Congolese history in which the victims were children, many of whom are still searching for answers and trying to find closure to the hurt they have endured for decades.

The Third Goal of the Peace Corps is for volunteers to return home and help promote a better understanding of other cultures among Americans. That is what I'm trying to do with this story — as well as adhere to an African proverb:

Until the lion learns to speak, the story will glorify the hunter.

As I write in my story, I hope telling stories like Monique’s will help give voice to the lions.

Clockwise: Monique's three half siblings; the only photo Monique has of herself, taken at 8 years old by her first foster family in Belgium; Monique's mother and stepfather; and Monique and Beth in the south England seaside town of Eastbourne.

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