When I was eight years old, I was abducted from the United States and taken to Africa. It was 1977. We landed in Rhodesia during the Bush War and I was soon separated from the man who kidnapped me.
I spent the night alone in the bush, and then made my way to a tribe who gave me water, food, and safety. This tribe became my new family. They cared for me as one of their own. They taught me how to sing their songs, and how to plant and harvest. I was even given my own dress. I loved my tribe, especially my Mama Eahton who adopted me as her own.
My village was peaceful until a faction of armed guerrillas rode in while shouting and making threats. When the guerrillas entered, an adult quickly hid me. After they left, the men in our tribe began to carry guns.
One week after the hostile visit, in a ceremony full of dancing, drums, and celebration, I was given the name Aisha. Aisha, which means ‘she is life’.
Days later, the guerrillas came near the village again, and shot me as I was playing in the grass. I began to die of blood loss and shock. I crossed over into death and met five beings, one after the other. They led me through my confusion and pain to acceptance, peace, and then to all-encompassing love.
During my journey I looked back, to see my Mama Eahton was holding my body and wailing. Though I treasured her and did not want her to be sad, I journeyed onward into the love that was pouring into me like a warm river.
I began to hear a song that made me pause in my journey. Mama’s wailing had turned to singing. Her calling song reminded me of why I needed to live. I decided to return. I turned around and moved back through the veils that separated us, like a long stream of light from a stained glass window I returned to my body. Now held in my Mama’s strong arms, I was ready to be carried back to our village.