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Morris's Story
Liberia
March 2000
Age: 15 years

Who do you turn to when the going gets tough? For many children, mum, dad and brothers and sisters can help in hard times.

But when 15-year-old Morris was going through the worst experiences of his life, he was separated from his family. It took many months to find them again.

"When the rebels came into the village, I was hiding in the banana bush. We saw them coming. We ran to another village.

"The rebels caught us, and took us to a house. Then they opened the door, and told us to come out one at a time. When you went outside, they'd slit your stomach, and people dropped. It was very bad in that house. I was very scared, I wasn't ready to die."

Somehow Morris wasn't killed but he was forced to work for the rebels. He carried their loot and cooked their food, while they captured and killed people in other villages.

"They beat some of the other boys with us, and didn't feed us. The soldiers were young boys, some even younger than me. One night, after they told me to cook, I said I needed to go to the toilet, so I walked into the bush, and then I just ran from them."

After months of living in the bush, Morris made his way back to his home in Madina, but he found no-one there. "I cried. Because I thought all my people had been killed."

He walked to the capital of Monrovia, believing his family were all dead. He made it to a peacekeepers camp, and started to build a place to live. Amazingly, he found his family.

"My Ma and Pa were there. They told me my six brothers and sisters were in the city."

The family returned to their village six months later. They found their house was still intact, so tried to return to their normal lives. But Morris was haunted by his experiences, and the trauma of believing all his family was dead. He is now in a trauma healing programme where teachers are helping him forget about the war.