Tears of the Desert
May 21, 2021
Sergeant Rex
May 21, 2021

By Mende Nazer and Damien Lewis

Mende Nazer’s happy childhood in the remote Nuba Mountains of Sudan was cruelly cut short when raiders on horseback swept into her village. The Mujahidin hacked down terrified villagers, raped the women and abducted the children. Twelve-year-old Mende was one of them. Sold to an Arab woman in Khartoum, Mende was kept as a domestic slave, without any pay or a single day off. Her food was leftover scraps, and her bed was the floor of the garden shed. She endured this harsh and lonely existence for seven long years and was then passed on by her master to a relative in London. Eventually Mende managed to make contact with other Nuba exiles who, with British journalist and filmmaker Damien Lewis, helped her escape to freedom.