Leymah Gbowee: My mom left to go to work. My dad did not come home the night before. So I was the only one at home when the shooting erupted in that part of — where we moved at the time. I tell the story that, in one minute, I was a teenager; in the next minute, I was an adult, taking care of over 20 people who had come. They were internally displaced. I was the only child of my parents old enough, living in the house at the time. So my aunties and those around said I had to take the responsibility of taking care. So you move from that child who was pampered and dependent on everyone into deciding who sleeps where, what documents to find to keep if you had to run, making decisions about if someone died, where you all would bury them.
So one minute, we’re sitting there, and then, all of a sudden, shooting erupted. I have to collect my sister’s kids, my two younger siblings, and then I became a head of a household. And it never went back to normal until today. Because then, by the time my mother came, she was so traumatized that she couldn’t do anything. So I had to function for her. I had to think, “Let’s go this place. Let’s come this place. Let’s do this.” So people would come in, and they’d say, “We need this,” and she would say, “Talk to Leymah.” And I would be like, “I’ve been waiting for a week for you to come home and take over your life.” But eventually, I would realize that that would not be the case, even up until we went to refugee camp.