Today again I went to the Mayor’s office to inquire about his letter of Recommendation for my Citizenship. It remains in “Committee”. Each day I go with with a smile on my face an encouragement to advance the cause.
Since I am now a regular more are starting to greet me.
As I was talking to the Mayor’s Assistant she began to share her story of the genocide with me. As you may know, this is not a subject that the people want to discuss and it is in fact considered rude to inquire so for those that want to share, I am grateful to hear their stories 1st hand.
She was 19 during genocide. About 5 days into the killing they came for her family. It was her father, mother, little sister and little brother. Her Father told them they would kill him but when he was dead would probably leave. He told them to hid until he was killed, then to run. She heard her Father argue with the killers then they began to cut him everywhere and the sounds were something terrible. He walked back into the house bleeding everywhere and went to the room he shared with his wife and layed down on the bed and died. They waited in silence till the noise was gone and then, without a plan, they each ran in different directions. She went alone, her Mother took one child and the other was solo too.
She ran for days and kept hiding during all the killing.
Can you imagine being 19 and having this seered into your brain? Things your eyes should never see.
I asked about food or water. She said, “when your mind thinks, they will kill you they will kill you if they find you, your stomach does not ask for any food”.
This was April 1994. She did not return to her home until 1995. She was thankful to find the rest of her family had survived.
Then she talked about forgiveness. I asked about forgiving, but not forgetting? She said “no, we must do both”. I asked how long it took. She said she was still angry in 1995, 1996, 1997 etc. Then the killers started to return to the country. They came with kindness. She then found her faith and knew she must not only forgive but forget.
Tomorrow she will share more.
The first time I came to Rwanda 5 years ago I can with a broken and bitter heart about a boyfriend who had not been faithful. I hung onto the bitterness for a long time. Then I met these people and found inspiration from these people who have suffered to so much and have found a way to move forward.
What bitterness, anger or hatred have you been hanging onto too long? Perhaps you too can learn from these amazing people in Rwanda too.