Maison Rouge: memories of a childhood in war
Leila Liliane Juma was 16 years old when her family home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was destroyed by rebel soldiers. In this gut—wretching memoir, she gives an account of her life before and after her family was torn apart by the twin nightmares of civil war and invasion. Sincere and revealing, it gives a moving account of a young girl’s journey from a protected and secure family life, through a series of brutal conflicts that saw her father murdered and her former life utterly destroyed. Maison Rouge is a story of war, and unspeakable loss. It is also the story of survival. Eventually, through the United Nations refugee program, Leila and her family were finally able to relocate to Canada.
About the Author
Leila Liliane Juma grew up in Uvira, a city in the western Congo on the shore of Lake Tanganyika near the border with Burundi. Her life as a young girl was brutally disrupted by the wars in Burundi (1993), Rwanda (1994), and the Congo (1994—1997), finally forcing her family to flee to Tanzania. After some time in a refugee protection camp, Leila, her Maman, and her sisters and brothers immigrated to Canada. Leila now lives in Vancouver, where she works as a Women’s Support Worker. She is fluent in three languages?Swahili, French, and English.
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‘The Adventure of Moïse and the Animals’
‘The Adventure of Moïse and the Animals’ has been a beautiful and amazing life experience for me. It helped me step out of this cloistered world, cross all barriers and return to my childhood and re-live the happiest and the most memorable time of my life. It took me to place of innocent giggles, playful pranks, funny adventures, and much more that shaped me and my family into the survivors that we are.
I believe every child is special and is a unique blessing, as is my lovely young brother Moise Juma, upon whom the main character of the story is based on.
My brother Moise is an adorable, loving, kind and talented child. He is a ray of hope; He symbolises our aspirations and makes our family shine brighter.
I wrote The Adventure of Moïse and the Animals story to celebrate life of every child, every family and every animal in our world, including the life of my lovely brother Moise Juma, my beautiful family, our friends and Moise’s human and animal friends.
This story is a unique and special gift from my family to yours: to be shared and enjoyed together. This is a special gift to offer to a brother and sister for a birthday, or for a unique festival and celebration, or to read to a child to keep them happy at night.
I take a moment here to say “thank you” to my dear mother Cibibi Lina Iza, my lovely young brothers Moise Juma, Rajabu Juma, Adboul D. Juma, and my beautiful sisters Farida Juma, Shany Nina Juma, Mwasity Massy Juma, my nephews Amari Juma, Lucas Juma and my beloved father Juma Omari may God peace be upon him. God bless my family.
And also my special gratitude to my friends Myungsook Lee and her family, and Mark Perry.
This book is for all the children around the world. You embody all of our aspirations and celebrations. Cliché though, but memories last forever. So go forth and make wonderful memories!”
Leila Liliane Juma
Dear friend, As a young adult now, I still remember the love and the storytelling of my father and my mother during my childhood as if it was yesterday: from our wonderful long-lasting laughs, to the great moments that we shared, from the special and quiet nights to the unique days and celebrations, birthday parties and festivals. Together as a family, we gathered around the table, or sat on the mat around the fire, for quality time as a family… story time.
I learned from my parents the love of storytelling. This was their way of teaching me how to appreciate and celebrate life with love and kindness. They made me think positively, nourishing my thoughts by asking questions, and continue to educate me about who I am and who we are as family, and as humans.
I wrote The Habitants of GreenField because I want you, the reader, my fans to laugh and have fun while reading and living this story. I’m happy to share with you the amazing experiences that I have with these magical, unique and mysterious animal characters in this story, which came to me through a dream about another world than ours, the animals who live there, their lives and friendships. The story of GreenField and its’ habitants is the first in a series, each episode providing a new adventure for the characters and readers, and a strong message about hope and friendship that turns into strong family bond.
Happy reading, enjoy!