Consolatrice Mahoro Presents on Surviving and Change
BY MATT MCCORMACK
Consolatrice Mahoro, ’17, touched her audience with her personal stories of tragedy and hope at the Remley Women’s Center.
In a presentation titled “Engage in a dialogue of women survivors and change,” Consolatrice Mahoro, ’17, spoke to students at Remley Women’s Center on March 31 about the horrors she had witnessed while traveling through Africa.
Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mahoro had to escape the war by fleeing to refugee camps in Uganda. The journey from country to country was far from easy for the teenager.
Mahoro explained how the expedition took a toll on her body as she trekked through the forests to Uganda. Mahoro said her mother, Dassy, instilled confidence in her by saying, “Today, you’re suffering, but tomorrow, you’ll have a better life.” Mahoro spoke of the suffering she and the millions of others in the Democratic Republic of Congo endured, saying, “The war in Congo DR has had a devastating effect on my homeland.”
According to Mahoro, while she, her mother, and her siblings made the trip, bombs exploded nearby. One of those bombs burned the top of the bag of clothes that the refugee was carrying on her head.
During this time, Mahoro pondered her future and wondered if she should marry, or do something different with her life.
Mahoro said she wanted to be a judge so she could hold people accountable for their actions, but her mother believed that she would be safer in a more conservative position, such as working in a secretarial setting.
As her journey continued, Mahoro contemplated her dream job even more. “I will either be a judge, tourist, or social worker,” she said, adding that she wanted to make something of her life, despite having to drop out of school multiple times while fleeing from Congo. “I saw myself finishing high school,” she said.
Mahoro faced an uncertain future when she had to leave her homeland because of the conflict and war. She said it was not easy to leave home, but she was forced to do so, and looked to her mother as a source of inspiration. “My mother always knew that I am growing to be an educated young girl and to make her proud, as well as our community,” said Mahoro
Despite stating the tragedies she witnessed in Congo and Uganda, Mahoro wanted to leave the audience with a positive outlook on life. Mahoro concluded her presentation by saying: “I have grown to believe that tough times never last. I always expect that even a situation that is unfavorable today will change for the better. As a leader, I will uproot these problems that are tearing apart communities and help heal old wounds.”
This will be achieved, according to Mahoro, through listening and through informing communities of ways to solve their problems. “I dream of the change that I can create in my country,” she said.
After the speech concluded, some students in attendance said they were overcome by Mahoro’s message. “I was totally touched by her personal story,” said Haley Smith, ’17. “I learned so much about a country that I didn’t know about. To hear that women’s rights are being oppressed today and hearing the stories of such tragedy really moved me.”