In eastern Congo it was a time of turmoil and violence. In 2013 conflict broke out and Tino fled to neighbouring Uganda. He lost all contacts with his mother Nadine.
After Years Apart Mother And Son Reconnect Across Continents
Tino* was born in 1992 in Kisangani, in the north-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Tino and his five siblings had a happy childhood and close-knit family.
When Tino was 16, his parents divorced and his father moved to Goma in North Kivu with the children. In eastern Congo this was a time of turmoil and violence. In 2013 conflict broke out and Tino fled to neighbouring Uganda. He lost contact with his siblings and with his mother Nadine*.
Nadine was now working in Kinshasa and she met a French man to whom she got married. In 2014 they both moved to France. In her newly opened hair salon, Nadine had the photo of her family back in Kisangani. She could not stop thinking about her children and was running out of ways to search for them. She had talked to all her friends back in Congo, tried getting in touch with several agencies. She had also registered onto the REFUNITE family tracing platform.
One day she received a message on her phone: “Vous avez 1 nouveau message. Pour le lire allez sur m.refunite.org”. She was not sure what to do but she desperately wanted to find her children. The next thing that happened was a phone call from Uganda:
-Maman, c’est toi?
Tino and Nadine were in disbelief. After five years looking for each other, Tino had a lot to tell to his mother but could hardly find his words. So he just said one thing: “Je t’aime beaucoup maman”.
Tino has also found his siblings who are in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Tino’s elder sister is taking care of them.
29th March 2018.
*For security reasons, all names have been changed to protect the identities of the interviewees. The photo does not depict them.