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The iron woman: Widowed and raising an ‘army’ of twins

Author : | Published: Monday, June 27, 2016

Have you ever lost a loved one, a husband or wife? If yes, how did it feel like to be widowed, to be left alone in this cold cruel world, with a mountain of responsibility without a notice?

Well, in 2013, Nyachot Wichar, a mother of eight children – all boys – received sad news of her husband. A member of National Security, he was killed during the first days of the December conflict.

Ms Wichar, a housewife, was shook by grief for two main reasons: firstly, for losing her love, a should-have-been lifetime partner. Secondly, the thought of how she would raise the boys all by herself. She wept for days.

However, with the conflict, the 26-year-old widow, strengthened by the “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” adage, picked herself and moved on.

Nyachot’s story

Born in Leer – South Sudan 1990, at the peak of the north-south civil war, her family – 9 brothers, father and mother – moved to Khartoum the same year.

Here, she enrolled in school and continued her studies till the 10th year when they had to go to Pugnido, a refugee camp in Ethiopia where she met her husband.

“He was more than a caring, loving, and responsible man,” she described her husband.

“I gave birth to two twin boys in 2004, the same year I met my husband. Then my second-born twins were born in 2007,” she narrated.

By that time, the peace deal, CPA, had been signed. So they moved to Bentiu.

In 2009, after her husband becomes an officer in the National Security, they came to Juba where she gave birth to the third twin boys in 2010.

“I had lost hope of bringing forth a baby girl but my husband encouraged me,” she remembers.

In November 2013, she gave birth to the fourth twin sons.

On 16 December 2013, things changed for Ms Wichar completely. Laughter turned to cry and joy to sadness. The beautiful kids and the beautiful women are no longer as they were.

Her husband was killed during the crisis, and unfortunately, she did not see the body of her husband.

“One of his colleagues brought me a photo of my husband’s body and his clothes as a proof of his death,” she said.

The army of twin boys

Ms Wichar and her twin sons – Garwec, Wol, Gatdum, Gai, Duol, Dau, Ruai, and Ter in their tent at PoC, Jebel Kujur.
Ms Wichar and her twin sons – Garwec, Wol, Gatdum, Gai, Duol, Dau, Ruai, and Ter in their tent at PoC, Jebel Kujur – June 26, 2016. Photo: Magdoline Joseph/Eye Radio.

When things got worse at the UN camp in Juba, she decided to take them to Kakuma Refugee, Kenya, Camp in hope of a better living conditions.

At the camp, the twins would fall ill frequently, one after the other, due to the different whether condition.

With the average temperature at 40 degrees Celsius, Kakuma’s environment is tough with regular dust storms, high temperatures, poisonous spiders, snakes, and scorpions. Malnutrition, communicable disease outbreaks and malaria.

As a result, she moved to a refugee camp in Uganda. But looking after the boys was still a major challenge in terms of feeding. She could not get any money to supplement the diet of the twins.

Towards the end of 2014, she come to Juba, to the UN PoC at Jebel.

“I wanted to be where I would do a paid job at least buy my boys luxurious foodstuffs such as meat and milk,” she continued.

She joined a midwifery course. But before completing the course, she got a job with the Warrior in 2015.

Six of the twins are studying at Shining Star School.

“With my little pay, I’m the one who pays for their school fees,” Ms Wichar stressed.

The other two twins are studying for free, courtesy of the school administration.

“I want my children to live their normal life like any other children because I am sure if their father was alive, he would afford everything for them.”

A curse

Most of her relatives (husband’s side) look at his twins as a curse.

“They don’t help me because they think giving birth to several twins babies is evil, and curse that’s why, they believe, their son (my husband) died,” she added.

“Being a widow and a mother of 8 children at the same time is not a crime and it’s not a curse.”

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