Finally found refuge
The abuse Hegira suffered at the hands of her aunts, who raised her after her parents divorced, left her an angry and violent person.
"I was not even a year old when my parents divorced. My father's family took me from my mother. As I grew up, I realised I was treated differently from other children. My aunts never taught me things nicely. They beat me up and sometimes insulted me when I made a mistake.
I easily lost concentration and eventually dropped out in grade eight because I had difficulties in learning.
To escape the emotional and physical abuse I suffered, I decided to run away from home when I was 14 years old and stayed with a friend who lived alone because her mother worked in another town. I started drinking and entertaining men sexually in exchange for alcohol. My mother heard from my aunts that I had run away. That was when she looked for me and took me to live with her. It felt good to finally have a mother, however I was still deeply hurt and angry with her for leaving me to be raised by people who did not love me. She did everything she could do to make up for the years she was away. She also told me that she allowed my father to take me because she did not want me to battle financially," she said.
Hegira was invited to the Universal Church in 2011.
"At a service I understood that I still had deep scars from the pain I went through because of my mother's absence. I attended Friday services and asked God to deliver me from grudges and hatred. I was encouraged to speak about the things that hurt me as way of letting go. I started sharing my abusive upbringing with my mother and that left me feeling lighter. I also stopped drinking alcohol because it was something that I did to shift my focus away from my problems.
I now have inner peace with everything I went through and I have a close relationship with my mother. The peace I have inside was able to remove the grudges I had harboured against my aunts. I visit them when I get time," she said.