After several days of walking, Laurent started recognizing the terrain and said he was feeling closer and closer to home. Approaching the village, the boy spotted one of his aunts walking on the road. She immediately brought him to his parents.
“It was a very emotional and happy moment,” Marthe recalled. They did not hope to see him again because they thought he was dead. And when Laurent’s former teachers heard that he was back alive they immediately asked him to return to school because they remembered that he was a smart boy.”
In June, Marthe went back for a follow-up visit to the village.
“Laurent is back in secondary school and is earning extra money selling sweets, soap and biscuits in a small stall along the road,” Marthe said. “He is very happy and promised to come visit his friends in the IRC if he comes to Kisangani again.”
Since February 2004, the IRC has helped almost 1,500 children and youth return to their families after years of separation as a result of war in Democratic Republic of Congo.