A Child's Story - Katumu Williams

05/18/09

Katumu Williams was born on a Sunday. 7am on Sunday, April 4, 1992 to be exact. Sixteen years later at 9am on January 27, 2008, also a Sunday, Katumu gave birth to a baby girl of her own, later named Rebecca by "Mama Angie," COTN-Sierra Leone Country Director.

Before the pregnancy Katumu had lived with her father, her two brothers and one sister in Kenema. She remembers her mother did not have much of an interest in education. As Katumu says, “She doesn’t even know the way to school.” However, her father had different ideas and sent all his children, including Katumu, to school.

Church was also a part of their lives because of Katumu’s Aunty Adama. “My father was a Muslim,” Katumu explains, “But now I can say 'Thanks be to God' because he has changed. He is now a pastor.”

But everything changed when Katumu got pregnant. Her father pulled her out of school and sent her away to his home village, Ngolala, to the same Aunty Adama that had carried the young Katumu to church every Sunday. It would be at the COTN clinic in Ngolala that Katumu gave birth, her aunty at her side. “The thing was very painful!" recalls Katumu. "But we went about it successfully.”

Then in June 2008 when Rebecca was five months old and Katumu thought that her school going days might have come to an end, everything changed yet again. Katumu met Laura Brost of Orlando Florida, a leader of that summer’s US intern program, and the relationship which developed resulted in Laura offering to sponsor Katumu.

This second chance at education is something that Katumu craved. She believes that, “Nowadays, in our time, without education you are nothing in this world.” Indeed the importance of education is something she believes the other people in her village did not understand before COTN came to Banta and she comments on the particular impact that has been made by the fact that two of the teachers in COTN’s secondary school are female.

COTN has also helped nurture Katumu’s spiritual development. She regularly attends morning prayers, Sunday services and midweek Bible studies. Commenting on church she says, “You will not just go and be a listener, but a doer. Also, pray for your enemy so they will not be your enemy tomorrow.”

And what of tomorrow? After completing the education she values so highly Katumu intends to go in to business and take good care of her family. She really appreciates how hard her Aunty has worked to take care of her, saying, “I have so many plans for her.” And Rebecca? Katumu laughs, “Ah. Rebecca will be the top. She will be the top. Because for Rebecca I am straining to have my education.”
When Katumu says, “If COTN was not there, there would be no education and a lack of medical facilities,” she speaks as someone who has lived the difference COTN has made.

COTN was there when Katumu’s world was turned upside down. It offered her a safe place to give birth to her beautiful daughter. It offered her a second chance at school. And every Sunday it offers her a place to learn about and worship the Father who will never leave nor forsake, who offers life in all its abundance.