Love Above AllForgiveness of a Young Rwandan                        wan                        w nd       Genocide Survivo...
AuthorHouse™1663 Liberty DriveBloomington, IN 47403www.authorhouse.comPhone: 1-800-839-8640© 2010 Jean De Dieu Musabyimana...
Author’s NoteThis is my true story, my life started from th year 1981 till                                         om the ...
INTRODUCTIONRwanda is a small country,only 26,338 k 2, located in                                       38 kmEast Africa, ...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaand provinces), to churches, to schools, even in stadiums.They went there just because they though...
Love Above AllAfter more than two months in such a hard life, my motherwas discovered. She was killed with that big stick ...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanasaying, “don’t cry my baby”, others clapping and shoutingof happiness. This happiness didn’t last ...
Love Above Allmy both parents. He answered and the next question wasto know if they were both alive. When he was asked thi...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaplace called RUBENGERA; a western part of our countryand their native place was KADUHA of GIKONGOR...
Chapter Two:  1989 STARTING MY SCHOOL             LIFEI can say here that I was an alre                           as    al...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanawas attending was also near the Church. On Wednesday,it was a culture at our school to gather and ...
Love Above AllI was even punished at least three times a week because ofbeating them or throwing balls to them. I was beat...
My childhood Choir.        10
Chapter Three:                   MY FAMILYWho was my Mother?In all that difficult life, my moth tried her best just to      ...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanabut she didn’t do anything wrong to the society. She didn’tbeg even a single day. She had learnt t...
Love Above Allbottles of banana beer. Above all, he liked praying God verymuch; he was a Christian in the catholic church....
Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaInterahamwe were characterized by rudeness and doing allsorts of bad things to Tutsis. My elder br...
Chapter Four:      TWA, HUTU AND TUTSII didn’t learn things related to ethnic g                                  ethnic gr...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanathemselves superior to other ethnic groups and so on. Brief,the history that we learnt at school a...
Love Above Allthe country. At that time being called a Tutsi was an insultat en extent that someone who wanted to trouble ...
Chapter Five:              THE GENOCIDEWe were in the middle of second te h                                  d term holida...
Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaCND”(In fact the real name of the militias that we havebeen talking about was FPR INKOTANYI. Durin...
Love Above Allwe could stand on high hills and see these houses beingburnt.In the following morning, young Hutus, extremis...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanathat we should also leave the place. When he talked to oneman who was our neighbor, a Hutu and a c...
Love Above AllIt was a rain season that time. We had to pass where peoplewould not see us. We passed through a banana plan...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaalso told me and my mother to spend the whole day in thehouse.No more compassionTowards 10 am, I l...
Love Above Alllove or compassion instead he wanted to save the space inthat toilet! Mupenda together with Nshimyimana left...
Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaAs time went on, killers got more and more dangerous. Andwe were also being told about Tutsis kill...
Love Above Allwhen we were in that bush near the river. The river floodedand reached where we were hiding. It was necessary...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanawe managed to get out. We sat on the opening of that pitfor some time. We were very muddy like pig...
Love Above Allreturned in the banana plantation where we had spent theday. The whole night, killers were moving in a path ...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanawe were Tutsis who were still hiding. She welcomed andshowed us where to sit. My mother said that ...
Love Above Allmy mother called her in a low voice. She recognized us andwas surprised to see us alive. May-be they thought...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaeven eat these grains because of chemicals preventing insectsto spoil them. We had to wait until w...
Love Above Allthat forest. I was so fast that the shepherd didn’t catch me. Ireturned to the banana plantation of YOZEFU. ...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaand hungry that I was being brought by the wind. I wentback in the coffee plantation and luckily I ...
Love Above Allshe covered herself with dried banana leaves in that pit whichwas not deep. After one hour, that’s when she ...
HITIMANA and I.      36
Chapter Six:             My Mother’s Prayer.My mother seemed to have lost hope of l She continued                         ...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanahiding. We hid together the whole day and he stared tellingme how he went back to his home and met...
Love Above Allfrom a distance, so I couldn’t hear what they were saying.Immediately someone called NKIKO come. He was livi...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaknew me very much because I used to spend the day athis uncle YOZEFU. They left but I was very afr...
Love Above Allthis, she said her usual prayer she used to pray. It rained atthat time until late in the evening. In the ni...
Jean De Dieu Musabyimanatrying to take off her clothes. Of course she couldn’t defeatthem they ended up by raping her. When...
Love Above Allcame to pick it and saw me. He stared at me and wanted tocome and greet me but when he saw leftovers of that...
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In 1994, in Rwanda, a country from the central East Africa; genocide was perpetrated against Tutsis by some extremist Hutus. In less than 100 days, over one million of Tutsis were exterminated and his family perished among them. Eleven years old then, He become an orphan.
His struggle started then, commmemorating his lost family and the way they died, searching if any of his relatives survived, and fixing to earn everyday life as he did not hope for the future. This struggle took long. However, as time went on, he started gaining hope for the future. He started thinking beyond his-self

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Love above all pdf copy

  1. 1. Love Above AllForgiveness of a Young Rwandan wan w nd Genocide Survivor ivor orJean De D Musabyimana an n Dieu
  2. 2. AuthorHouse™1663 Liberty DriveBloomington, IN 47403www.authorhouse.comPhone: 1-800-839-8640© 2010 Jean De Dieu Musabyimana. All rights reserved.No part of this book may be reproduced, stored ina retrieval system, or transmitted by any meanswithout the written permission of the author.First published by AuthorHouse 12/20/2010 2010ISBN: 978-1-4567-0044-7 (sc)Printed in the United States of AmericaAny people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models,and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.This book is printed on acid-free paper.Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any Web addresses orlinks contained in this book may have changed since publication andmay no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely thoseof the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher,and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.
  3. 3. Author’s NoteThis is my true story, my life started from th year 1981 till om the hnow. First of all I am so sorry because I did not use the dates use diof everything that it took place. Was to hard to remember . W toothem, especially during the Genocide, that is why I chose he Genoc dnot to use the dates. But ev pe every person and names I used arereal. I used some harsh words but my aim was not to offend hwany one who reads th boo I was trying to make the story this book. hiscomplete because I wa trying to describe what happened. cau wasAs you read, you w also find some good words giving hope ead, ad, willfor the fu ure LO future. LOVE ABOVE ALL uture. e. v
  4. 4. INTRODUCTIONRwanda is a small country,only 26,338 k 2, located in 38 kmEast Africa, in the region of Great L Lakes It is also called a Lakes.country of thousand hills because of it high mountains. It use its ewas colonized by Belgium. This is my homeland because it m. iis where I was born and wh I live. whereMy father died only three months after my birth. He died lywith twins who were m elder brothers; then I was only left ere mywith my mother a one brother in a very bad situation y mothe andof poverty. A my young age of six years, when I started ert At ty.primary scho that’s when I was taught that Rwanda is ry sc ool, school,inhabited b three different ethnic groups: Twas, Hutus and d byTutsis. I learnt that Tutsis were very bad, that they did badthings to other ethnic groups. I also later on learnt that Ibelonged to that ethnic group of Tutsis. For this, I grew upashamed of being called a Tutsi.When I was eleven years old, the genocide against Tutsis,which had been prepared for a long time, started; it was in1994. Tutsis in all corners of the country began to flee theirhomes to different offices of the local government (districts 1
  5. 5. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaand provinces), to churches, to schools, even in stadiums.They went there just because they thought they would easilyget protection from local leaders.After a very short period of time, Rwandan Defense Forceof that time, which would protect these refugees, startedfiring and slaughtering them instead. Few of these refugeeswho managed to escape these bullets, when they tried to fleeagain. Their some neighbors Twas and Hutus were waitingfor them in villages with local weapons including machetes,lances, swords and many others. The country w full of y wascries here and there.My grandfather (my mother’s father) was a very old man )aged 82. For him fleeing was not his concern. He thought h s conthat none would kill him because he w very old. We left use was ehim home and went to a neighbour of ours who was a Hutu eighb bourand who had promised to protect and give us where to hide. opAfter three days, INTERAHAMWE (the name which was ER RAH Agiven to those who were tr o w trained to kill Tutsis) reached ourhome. They me there my grandfather and started arguing met herewhether to kill him or not. Some were against others for.They ended up sa nd d ded saying that the one killing a snake doesn’tshow com ssion That’s how he was beaten a very big stick compassion. mpas(named “ubuhiri” in my local language) ubIn the chest and his dead body was thrown into the pitlatrine.These killings became more and more serious. The one whowas hiding us told us to leave his house and find elsewhereto hide. He afraid because it was possible for us to be killedbefore him..I remember it was raining cats and dogs. Wethen started hiding here and there in banana and sorghumplantations, in forests and in pits. 2
  6. 6. Love Above AllAfter more than two months in such a hard life, my motherwas discovered. She was killed with that big stick and asword after being raped. I was then left all alone and I hadto continue hiding.After one hundred days of the genocide against Tutsis,Rwandan Patriotic Forces, most of them were Tutsis whohad fled the country in 1959 and 1973 together with someHutus who didn’t support the genocide, managed to stopthe genocide.I was the only one left in my familyand I had t struggle d tofor life at eleven years. I started looking fo jobs of being ng fora houseboy. One parent, whom I was working for, afterlearning that I was bright at school dec ool d cid to bring me back l decidedto school. That’s how I joined scho again. I also started oined schoolbeing interested in the wor of G (Holy Scriptures) what word God rdhelped me to accept the life I was living. It relieved me and he lallowed me t accept what happened to me until I decided ptto forgive those who ki ose ho killed members of my family. I visitedtheir families a told them how I forgave them from the milies and iliesone who planned to kill me to the one who raped and killed ho an nnemy mother. For the time being, sisters and children of the othe F her.one who ki l my mother are among my friends. killedI have really forgiven them from the bottom of my heart andthanks to the True Love from Almighty God and it is thesame Love that I tell everybody.LOVE ABOVE ALLUppercase: My First DayMy very first greatest day was November 08th, 1981 when Iwas born. I think members of my family were very happythat day when I was crying, my mother trying to sooth me 3
  7. 7. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanasaying, “don’t cry my baby”, others clapping and shoutingof happiness. This happiness didn’t last long because onlyafter three months my father and my two brothers died thesame day. These two brothers were twins and I was bornafter them. I was told that that they loved my father verymuch and he had to take them with him whenever he waswalking near home.Only after three months I was an orphan. You can ask yourselfwhy I should be called an orphan when I had a mother. Atthat time, a house without a husband was meaningless and ninit had no value in the Rwandan society. Even whe there en w whenwas a party in such a family without a husband, it was not usbandaccepted for the mother to address her audience. They had to udienask a husband in a nearby house to give a speech of the day. giveThis is why children without fath s w called orphans. fathers were hersRemember that this is what I was t by my mother when w toldI grew up after spending a very l g long time asking her aboutmy family and telling m n g me nothing. I was a stubborn andcurious child. I wanted to know everything. I was different nte tedfrom my elder b ther who was calm and did what he was er brothertold to do. He wa not talkative and he liked helping my o. wasmother in diffe r n differen activities. erentBeing talkative, I liked asking my mother why we hadn’t lka ia father. She didn’t like me asking her such a questionand preferred not to tell me the truth. When she was ina good mood she would tell me that my father had gonesomewhere and would be back very soon. But if she was sadshe would kick me telling me that I like asking nonsensethings. One day when I was at school, they asked me namesof my parents and I failed. My teacher told me to bring myelder brother who studied at the same school for him to askhim. When I brought him, my teacher asked him names of 4
  8. 8. Love Above Allmy both parents. He answered and the next question wasto know if they were both alive. When he was asked thisquestion I was astonished to hear that my father had diedand I immediately said that my brother was telling lies. Iadded that my father had traveled and that he would be backsoon. Both my brother and teacher laughed and my teacheragreed with me but it was a way of cooling me down. By thattime the only thing in my head was to report my brother tomy mother as soon as I arrived home that he insulted myfather saying that he had died. When we got home I toldmy mother that Fidele (my brother) had insulted m father ed mythat he had died. When she heard this she laug laughed at me gheand seemed to care less about what I was telling her. I got tellingvery angry and when she saw that I was ge i angry, she as gettingrevealed me the truth and said that my f hat father was dead.That is when I knew that my fath is no longer alive but father herdo not ask me the cause of his dea I thought he died a s death.natural death. For me I kn th the only cause of death knew thatwas sicknesses. The same for my father I thought he fell sick meeand died. It is clear that I w still very young. r th wasA Heart Full Of S O Sorrow Does Not Make Words ClearWhen I g w ol I knew the reason why my mother had grew old,avoided talking about the death of my father. What I know is alkithat they loved one another and my mother loved her twinsand this would be the only reason. He avoided rememberingthem: care that she was receiving from my father, her belovedtwins and she must have suffered a lot when she was givingbirth to these twins. During the genocide against Tutsis,when it was possible for us to die, that’s when she told methat they were all poisoned.When I became somehow old, my family was living at a 5
  9. 9. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaplace called RUBENGERA; a western part of our countryand their native place was KADUHA of GIKONGOROwhich is in the Southern province of our country near avery big natural forest called Nyungwe. After the death ofmy father and my two brothers, life became very hard forher, especially because they had died of poison, she was notsecure that is why she decided to shift from that place andwent to her paternal uncle who was living at Ruhango inGitarama. One may say that it was to my grandfather’s. Thatis where I got my childhood nickname. I was told that atthat place of Ruhango, there was a fool who used to go to dthe district office to accuse people who had eaten h cows en his(of course no one had eaten his cows it was beca because of hisfoolishness). His name was Sedede and I w named after d washim. I told you earlier that I was a stubb stubborn boy, I used to bdisturb my brother and he used to be me.Then I would ed t bbeatrush to my grandmother to aco accuse him. I used to do this ccuseevery single day. That is w s when they started saying that Ibehaved like Sedede.That is h I got the name and I grew That howup being called like this. etTo what I was told there were misunderstandings between told, tthis grandmother (the wife of my Grandfather’s brother) and andmo dmother othmy mother. This is the reason why my mother shifted from othe her.Ruhango and went to Birambo in Kibuye where her paternal a daunt (considered as my grandmother) was living. We livedthere and my mother got a job in a nearby organizationof Sisters. There was a sister called Mama Deo who was agood friend of my mother. Time came when the Sister wastransferred somewhere else. This caused us also to leaveBirambo and we went to live at a place called Rubengera.It is there that I grew up because I even started my primarystudies there. I was living together with my mother, my elderbrother and my grandfather (the father of my mother) 6
  10. 10. Chapter Two: 1989 STARTING MY SCHOOL LIFEI can say here that I was an alre as already grown up child. Iremember almost everything th happened to me. What th ng thathappened before that tim w told to me by my mother t time was mewhen she was still alive a my uncle. As I said, I was a l al andstubborn, curious and sociable boy. It was therefore not a urioproblem for me to get accustomed to school life whereasother ch dr h problems and would spend the day children had hildren rencrying and wishing to go back home before it was time. I nd wish wremember my life very well from when I was in primary 2.I was clever, I liked playing football and I was very goodat singing. I was a members of a children’s choir at SundaySchool. We were trained to sing by Sisters who would putus in different levels according to our voices. For me I wassinging a low voice and I was one of those who used to playsketches about the birth of Jesus.Even if my parents were Catholics, this did not preventme from growing in a Protestant Church. The school I 7
  11. 11. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanawas attending was also near the Church. On Wednesday,it was a culture at our school to gather and pray beforeleaving for lunch. All children at school liked that day andeverybody wished to be there and participate. Another daythat children liked was Friday when we would do differentphysical activities like cultivating or collecting coffee fromschool gardens. In the last hour we would sing and dancecultural and traditional dances. Children enjoyed that dayvery much because it was an opportunity for them to talk yabout this and that. This was also a very good day to me asI liked singing and was very good at interpreting s ng songs thatwere sung by singers.I remember one day when we were sittin for an exam sittingof music. Every student, following the al g alphabetical order,would stand in front of students and s ts a d sing a song that theymastered well. The teacher wo er would award marks according ouldto how one had sung and accord d according to how other studentsenjoyed the song. When it w my turn, I started singing a en waslove song, which was up to date at that time, and it was even asbroadcast on Ra o Rw Radio Rwanda. When my teacher heard it, hestopped me for a wwhile and went to call one of his colleagueswho was teaching from an other hall to come and listen. I as eacchidid my be to sing and when I finished, my teacher asked y best t si estother students to clap for me and he gave me ten out of deten. Singing itself was not surprising. What was surprisingwas seeing a very little boy singing a song full of sharp lovewords. They could not understand how I took my time tolisten and memorize that song. All these were at the originsof me being loved by my colleagues and teachers. I was evenvery often named class monitor because of this.Rwandans say that all things are not perfect! I had a verybig problem of hating girls. I didn’t cooperate with them; 8
  12. 12. Love Above AllI was even punished at least three times a week because ofbeating them or throwing balls to them. I was beaten byteachers many times because of that mistake some teacherseven remember me because of this. I remember one dayafter the genocide, I met one lady who was my teacher inP5, and we met in Kigali and talked for a while .She wasreally happy seeing a child she taught had then becomegrown up. Before we separated, she asked me if I still hatedladies the way I used to hate them. I answered her smilingthat I no longer hate them because I then knew their value!She also smiled at me and told me this: “ If you h ou have nowknown their value, it also requires you to pay atte y attention and tentbehave well.” She added that even if I had gro up,but I d grown owhadn’t changed very much I still had that sense of humor. hatShe also reminded me that teachers loved me because I was s oveddclever and she suggested that I kep up Even if my mother kept u pt up.was very poor and we lived a ha li this didn’t prevent me d hard life ardfrom doing well at school. I was often among the first five ol. l.places. Sometimes I wou g home miss my mother and would get uldmiss food but this di didn’t a ect my performance at school. idn’t affI knew that my mothe struggled for our better life. If she motherfailed,then I ha to accept it like that because she really en had nloved me at an ext that she would sometimes, when food e t an extentwas not enough, only drink water for me to find food the ot enou en ugh,following d The situation was really very bad. We hadn’t g day.even where to cultivate for we were not natives of that place.if may be better to give the place’s name since it may havebeen mentioned far lardier. Even the house in which we wereliving was not ours. 9
  13. 13. My childhood Choir. 10
  14. 14. Chapter Three: MY FAMILYWho was my Mother?In all that difficult life, my moth tried her best just to mothertake care of me. When she was back from fields (cultivating he wfor others) whether she had got something or not, she had hadto know where I was. Sh would call me trying to find me S Sheeverywhere and this surprised our neighbors. In normal re iscircumstances, it is not surprising for a parent to take care of stances, ances, cetheir child but fo people from remote places deep into the child forcountryside lik where I grew up, parents seemed to care less yside like eabout their children. All they cared about was finding foodfor them and that was enough. It was not the same for mymother. When I reached P5 she was still washing my bodyand clothes. All these didn’t prevent her from giving thequality of education I was supposed to receive from a parent.I had to go with other children in the neighborhood to fetchwater and firewood. From this poverty of my mother I learntsomething important and this is being patient, acceptingand managing life the way it is. My mother was very poor 11
  15. 15. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanabut she didn’t do anything wrong to the society. She didn’tbeg even a single day. She had learnt to use strength ofher arms for us to live because she had not even receivedmuch education. The highest level of education she had wasonly primary. Despite all these, my mother was a personwith integrity among others and the only tool that she usedto arrive at these was accepting and managing every lifethat appears. This is the weapon and tool that my motherinherited me and it helped me a lot as you will see as youread this story.Who was my Grandfather?As I said above, I was living with my mother and h mgrandfather. According to what I was told after the genocide, as d fmy grandfather had been a traditional leader during the radit na itiokingdom period known as a “ sous chef” to mean the one swho assisted a chief of a given region. When the hatredgrew stronger among Rw Rwandans, Tutsi were mistreated and wandalmost all their lands were taken. He was left alone at home dssafter his children had g dre gone. He was left with a small land,which couldn’t help him at all. Later on he decided to sell ouldn’t hel uldn tthat little land and follow his young daughter who is my ttle an an e ndmother. This gra r. s grandfather was very old because by the timehe was killed in the genocide he was eighty-two years old ill d(82). He was a smart old man and I think the smartness thatI have originates from him because I also like being welldressed following my financial means. He had three suitsthat he alternated and he requested that they should be keptclean. He also wore glasses and even if he had a stick thathelped him to move he was still very healthy and strong.His job was handcrafting traditional straws used to drinkbanana beer. He was very fond of banana beer and he wouldtake these straws to local cabarets and exchange them with 12
  16. 16. Love Above Allbottles of banana beer. Above all, he liked praying God verymuch; he was a Christian in the catholic church. If he wasnot busy with his straws, he would spend most of his timereading religious books. Some of the books that he likedthe most include Martyrs of Uganda, a Christian Book andThe Holy Bible. Sometimes I would be told that he left fora crusade of the Virgin Mary or he went to pray at Kibeho.If it was a matter of going to Kibeho, he had to spend fivedays on the way because he had to go there on foot. This isto show you that he really liked praying. Even the day hewas killed he was praying.Who was my elder brother?I didn’t live with my brother for a very lon time for when he er y longcompleted his primary studies, he wa refused to continue. e was asHe left Kibuye in the wester p western province where we were rnliving and went to Kigali a his u li at uncle’s where he learnt theprofession of welding. I used to visit him in holidays. He dwas very calm and didn’t like people who disturbed him. ddIt wasn’t easy fo him t forget the fact that he was denied y for togoing on with h s n his studies while he was intelligent. As a resultof this he became a drunkard,and that worried my mother. e eccamThe Rwandan po wan n policy at that time denied Tutsis’s children to ndango on with their studies in secondary schools. When they thfinished their primary they had to go in lower professionalschools and it was also a sin being a Tutsi again poor. Hefulfilled all the requirements of not finding a secondaryschool in Rwanda. In the evenings after working hours,he used to spend his nights in pubs where he felt free andhe often used to fight Interahamwe (a Hutu militia groupbelonging to a political party on power in Rwanda at thattime. The group had received military trainings and it isthis group which killed Tutsis during the genocide) These 13
  17. 17. Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaInterahamwe were characterized by rudeness and doing allsorts of bad things to Tutsis. My elder brother couldn’t standall these for he was also strong. My uncle didn’t agree withhim, he was always preventing him from fighting them. Iremember one day when I was in holidays in Kigali with mycousins. My brother took me at CND where RPF soldierswere living. On our way back home my brother also tookme in a pub called KIGALI NIGHT. It was said to belongto the former president’s son late Habyarimana. My brothersat on a stool at the counter and he lifted me on another one.He asked the waiter to give me a soda and he took a bottle kof beer. Like after two hours came a very short man he was rt m man,moving around the place where we were sittin He was e sitting.also talking to the waiter as people who kn each other. ho knewThe waiter asked that man if he n eded a bottle of beer. neededdHe responded that he would prefer drfer drinking but he added refe dthat he had nowhere to sit as the counter was occupied sby INKOTANYI meaning my b in ng brother. My brother askedhim who was an INKOTANYI that he was talking about. OT NY TANThe man said; “ You Tutsis aren’t you afraid? Do you see u Tutswhere you are s ng an you dare saying these words?” He e sitting andadded: “A child resembles his father, do you see such a little A resboy daring to sit at the counter?” He was pointing at me. rin to s ngI was only nine years old. My brother went out and asked ly nime to finish my soda while he was out. The other man nishimmediately sat on the stool that my brother was using. Hepushed my brother’s beer in front of me. I didn’t know thatmy brother had already got angry. He was verifying if therewere some other people out for him to come and beat thatman. He came in a hurry, took his beer and asked me toget out. He took the man off the stool and beat him withthe bottle that he had. The man fell down and my brothergot out, took me and hurried to the road where we tookmotorcycles and went home. 14
  18. 18. Chapter Four: TWA, HUTU AND TUTSII didn’t learn things related to ethnic g ethnic groups in Rwandaamong things I learnt from my par parents and neighbors. Ifirst heard about this when I wa i P4. It was in a history en was inlesson where we were told th three ethnic groups inhabit ld that hatRwanda. We were also ask d which group we belonged to. so asked kThese groups included T Hutu and Tutsi. According to uded Twa,that lesson they a riv in Rwanda in different periods of n arrivedtime. Twas w t first to arrive in Rwanda. They were was were the shunters and they lived in forests. Hutus followed them. rs d theThey were fa ere farmers and we were told that they had a verygood relationship with Twas. Tutsis who were the last toarrive in Rwanda had broken this relationship accordingto the same lesson. These Tutsis are said to originate fromEthiopia, and they came breeding their cows along the riverNile, which have its spring in Rwanda. When they arrived inRwanda they stopped and settled there. When they arrived,according to the lesson, they became leaders of those whoarrived before and started colonizing or exploiting them.They told us that Tutsi were very bad, they considered 15
  19. 19. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanathemselves superior to other ethnic groups and so on. Brief,the history that we learnt at school aimed at making theseother said ethnic groups hate Tutsis. Each year we wereasked our identification; apart from our names, those ofour parents and birth time, we were also asked our ethnicgroups. Only P1 students are the ones who were not askedsuch questions because their parents had to answer them atthe beginning of the school year.You are a Tutsi!In P4, that’s when our teacher asked each of us their h o uidentification. He asked Hutus to stand up then Tutsis. As thenI told you my mother had never told me ab about my ethnicgroup before. First, I stood up in a group of Hutus because it group ofwas there that many of my friends and neighbors belonged. nds and sMy teacher knew my family, th why he hesitated seeing ily, that’s hat’sme in a group of Hutus. H ask me if I was sure of my . He askedethnic group. I said that I w sure but he sent me home hat was tto ask my parents bebecause we were living near our school. ecauseWhen I arrived home, I only met my grandfather and asked ved me,me why I was ear to get home. I answered him that I earlywas sent home to ask him our ethnic group. He laughed nt om meand told me to g and tell the teacher that we were Tutsis. ld m t goI went back to school and told our teacher that we were ackTutsis. The teacher beat me three sticks on my buttocksand told me never to tell lies. From that moment I knewthat I was a Tutsi and I was then standing in a group ofTutsis. When we were told to stand up, we were ashamed ofbeing Tutsis especially because the former government wasfighting militias who attacked from Uganda. Most of thesemilitias were Tutsis who fled the country because of killingsaiming Tutsis in 1959. This caused some Hutus, extremists,to take advantage of this situation to hate Tutsis who were in 16
  20. 20. Love Above Allthe country. At that time being called a Tutsi was an insultat en extent that someone who wanted to trouble you wouldcall you a Tutsi. This situation was the same even in schools.Hutus were very proud to be Hutus but Tutsis were not. Thishad even a bad effect on us who were Tutsis.One day I fought with another child who was a Hutu atschool. Of course we fought like other children do; notbecause one was a Hutu and the other one a Tutsi. I strokehim on the nose and there was nosebleed and he went homecrying. After one hour, his father was at my ho home, veryangry, and with a very sharp machete. I was in an a a avocadotree, which was in the compound at home. I wanted to ome.collect some but I hadn’t started yet. He m my mother metoutside preparing food. He asked h a her angrily: “ Where isyour son who beat my son?” Wh m mother saw that When my henmachete glittering, he told him th I had gone to fetch ld him thatwater. He added that if he had see me, he would have killed e h seenme. He also added that we w “Inyenzi” cockroaches and t w wereleft the place. He ca called us cockroaches because by that alledtime all Tutsis were ca sis re called so. It was a way of inciting allRwandans to hate Tutsis. They were also accused to support ns ha smilitias who h attacked the country because they were s who hadalso named “Inye amed “I ed “Inyenzi”. Being called “Inyenzi” had a meaningthat you we an enemy of the country. My mother thought werethat I was at the origin of all these but it was not the casebecause the government had done everything for Hutu tohate Tutsis. On this she told me to come down the tree andshe stroke me seriously. 17
  21. 21. Chapter Five: THE GENOCIDEWe were in the middle of second te h d term holidays preparing ermourselves to start the third one. For Christians, we were ne. Forremembering the death of our Savi as we were approaching SaviorEaster. As a member of a chi children’s choir at a Presbyterian hildChurch, we were rehearsing songs and sketches about the hearsindeath of Jesus Christ t be presented on Easter. It was in rist tothe morning whe my mother got up early preparing herself ing whento leave for f r farm w works. Before she left she also woke meup and asked me to go to fetch water. Water was not from da dvery far from my home because it was in a distance of r fromabout one kilometer. It was near a pub of someone calledUZARAMA who had a young brother called MAFEDIwho was a carpenter near the place where we fetched water.Arriving there I met a group of people most of them beingyoung and few old men. I was curious to know what wasgoing on there. I approached them and they were listeningto the radio, which was broadcasting instrumental music.I heard one person among the group saying this: “ May behe was killed by those INKOTANYI who were brought in 19
  22. 22. Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaCND”(In fact the real name of the militias that we havebeen talking about was FPR INKOTANYI. During thattime they were negotiating with the government in place.They had even been given places in the Rwandan Parliament.That’s why they had brought some of their soldiers to watchover the security of their members of parliament. This meansthat militias were already in Kigali- the Capital city ofRwanda and they were the ones who were accused). Anotherone said: “Tutsis are very serious. They have killed him.).Immediately I heard on Radio Rwanda an announcementsaying that the President of the Republic had been k en killed andthat all citizens were required to stay at their hom I was r homes. omeafraid listening that Inkotanyi killed the Preside I knew President.that we were also concerned because even T ven Tutsis who wereinside the country were also called INKO INKOTANYI. KOTYou may ask yourself the reaso w I was afraid and yet reason why onI was still a child. I remembered two things. One is when em mberedmy brother came to visi u At that time my colleague visit us. sitof class told me that he h hatt heard his parents saying that mybrother had jo ed IN joined INKOTANYI. The second thing, Iremembered the f ered th father of the other child we fought. He redhad called us INKOTANYI and the same INKOTANYI lle u INK edwere being accus to have killed the president. These two ng ac accusedthings made me afraid. I fetched water and went back home adimmediately. I found my mother had already come back.She was in a nearby family all confused about this death. Itwas a particular problem for my family because if all peoplewere asked to stay at home, it wasn’t easy for us because wedepended on our mother going out to work and earn ourdaily food. Only after two days, Tutsis from MUSHUBATI,a neighboring sector, started fleeing saying that they werebeing killed and their houses burnt. The same evening, 20
  23. 23. Love Above Allwe could stand on high hills and see these houses beingburnt.In the following morning, young Hutus, extremists, stoppedsome of those Tutsis who were fleeing and they took onecow from them and ate it. In our region killings had notyet started. Even many Hutus were not aware that thegovernment was supporting these killings that were takingplace in other sectors. The leader of our sector with otheryoung people started trying to find those who ate that cowfor them to be punished. I remember that they arr arrested onewho was called Sosthene and the went to show them where w thhe had hidden meat in the bush. They put the s ut the stomach ofthat cow on his head and started beating him. They found ng hiAnother one who was nicknamed Komini they found him Komini, iin his house where he was hiding. They beat him and he dingg.died. A third one called Musonera was found also at his usonerhome. He was hiding in the ro The meat that he had n roof.brought was already on fire. They put that pot of meat on nhis head and took him to t road beating him. They asked m thehim to drink th boili sauce. In the evening of the same k that boilingday, Tutsis from a sis is another neighboring sector called Giharaalso started flee arted fleeing We were standing on the road from that ted eeing.sector. Am ng t Among those who were fleeing, I saw a child who monwas my fri friend at school. We were together almost everyday for he was really my friend. He was called Claude. Igreeted him and he told me how these things started thathouses were being burnt and if you didn’t escape they werealso killing you. By the time we were talking, members ofhis family had continued walking. He also left me just notto be lost. All those were going to the office of communecalled MABANZA in which we were living. The followingday, Tutsis of our sector also started leaving their homesgoing to the same commune office. My mother decided 21
  24. 24. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanathat we should also leave the place. When he talked to oneman who was our neighbor, a Hutu and a cell leader, he toldher that we shouldn’t leave. He added that if necessary wewould hide at his home. He was called NSHIMYIMANA.The following day, killings were already taking place wherewe were living. We went to that man and my grandfatherrefused saying that he was very old, that no one would killhim. He thought it was like in previous killings of 1959 and1973 where sometimes children, wives and old people werenot killed. That’s why he preferred staying at home readinghis religious books.When I find you, I will kill youMy mother was hiding inside the house and had to spend housethe whole day inside. For me I us t be outside playing sed used towith other children. One day, we w playing and a man werecalled ALOYS saw me. He asked me where my mother was eand the reason why we had n fled. I told him that I didn’t e ha notknow. He asked me to tell this to my mother: “ If you don’t etflee and I see yo again, I will cut you into pieces.” I was very you gain,afraid and imm nd immedi d immediately left the place where we were playingand joined m mo ne my mother inside the house. The following day edlike at 2.00 p Nshimyimana came in a hurry and told 2.0 pm, 00my mother that he hadn’t anything he could do for us that er hwe had to leave his house. Killers were even searching intohouses where they thougth Tutsis were hiding for them to bekilled. My mother took a minute of silence thinking. I don’tknow what she was thinking of but I guess she was thinkingof a long journey ahead in order to join others. It was noteasy because other Tutsis were no longer at the communeoffice. They had been sent at one stadium at a distance of 20kilometers from the commune office. She took my arm andwe got out of the house. Immediately, there was a heavy rain. 22
  25. 25. Love Above AllIt was a rain season that time. We had to pass where peoplewould not see us. We passed through a banana plantationwhich was there and in a field of sorghum which was near ahouse of an old man named NYIRUBUHINGWA towardsa small forest near a home of my former primary teacher.When we arrived there, my teacher was with her husbandstanding at the door. They didn’t recognize us because therain had beaten us very much. The husband called us andasked who we were. We turned our faces and my teacherrecognized me. she called me in my nickname and askedwhere we were going. My mother replied that we w going e wereto the stadium where others had gone. The husband warned usban andus not to approach the road to avoid being k lle because ng killedthere were already roadblocks. My mother suggested that otherwe hid in that banana plantation and w for the night. and waitIn the night we went back to Ns mNshimyimana’s house and Nshiknocked. They asked who were knocking and we kept ho wsilence. Nshimyimana came to o am me open and was surprised tosee us again. He asked my momother the reason why we hadn’tjoined others to the stadium My mother replied that it was e st stadium.not easy because of road aus f roadblocks everywhere in the roads. Weentered into the ho nto house and met them eating. They broughtus water for us to wash our hands and eat. My mother said er r uthat she want fire instead to get warm. They took her in he w nted wantedthe kitchen. I approached other children to eat. I was very enhungry but I failed to open my mouth because of the coldcaused by the heavy rain that has beaten us. They told meto get warm first. I approached my mother in the kitchenin front of the fire. I immediately fell asleep. They wakeme up, brought food and I ate in the kitchen. After that,they gave us a mat and we slept there. In the morning,NSHIMYIMANA told his children to close the main gateand open another one on the other side of the house. He 23
  26. 26. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaalso told me and my mother to spend the whole day in thehouse.No more compassionTowards 10 am, I left my mother and went out to sunbathin the back compound. This compound was built usingsorghum trees. It was easy then to see people passing behindit but for them it was not easy to see you. After like thirtyminutes, I saw many people armed in traditional weaponsapproaching the house we were living in. I was ab to see as able bthis easily because it was not far from where we were hiding. weJust a distance of some fifty meters. They saw my g aw y grandfatherreading the Bible. A person named JEAN D’A N D’AMOUR criedsaying that he had seen Inyenzi(cockroach). The whole group kroach h)went towards my grandfather and sto around him. They d stood ooasked him where other members of his family were (me and embersmy mother). He told them that w had gone to the stadium. m weImmediately, JEAN D AMO D’AMOUR beat him with a very big A OUpiece of tree called UB UBUHIRI in the chest. Another one called BUHIRMUPENDA, a young brother of NSHIMYIMANA (the A, oungone who was hiding us), arrived and prevented them saying hi hidinthat the man w very old. Jean d’Amour said that they had e man wasno more com re c mpas compassion. He added that the one killing a snakedoesn’t show sympathy. He beat him twice in the chest and hothat was the death of my grandfather. Almost all of them leftthe place leaving Mupenda, Faustin and Nshimyimana whojoined them later. They agreed on throwing him in the pitlatrine but Faustin refused because the pit latrine belongedto his uncle. They argued for a very long time but finally theydecided to put him in that pit with all his books. My belovedgrandfather who liked praying was killed praying. When Italked to Faustin in 2009, he himself told me that refusingthat they throw my grandfather in that pit latrine was not 24
  27. 27. Love Above Alllove or compassion instead he wanted to save the space inthat toilet! Mupenda together with Nshimyimana left afterkilling my grandfather. Faustin entered in the house andtook my school bag and a saucepan. He didn’t find theremany things for we had taken them to Murenzi’s house(the father of Nshimyimana). Remember that we were alsovery poor. The situation became worse when they found inmy schoolbag a booklet talking about RPF INKOTANYI.Its title was “AMAHAME Y’UMURYANGO FPRINKOTANYI”(Principles of RPF INKOTANYI) This wasa militia group that was fighting with the government. The rnmmajority of its members were Tutsis. I had borr borrowed this rrowbooklet from my colleague of class called UWIM UWIMANA. Noone among members of my family knew tha I had it. Many w thatpeople were surprised to see the booklet and all wanted to oookletknow its content. One of them said my mother and me had id mto be found and killed by all means because we knew many meanssecrets of INKOTANYI. It was a very big problem for my I. Imother and me that eve evening. The same day young men veninincluding Faustin, th one who had found the booklet and the heATHANASE passed n E p sed near Murenzi’s house shouting thatSEDEDE (me) an his mother were hiding at Murenzi’s E andthat they had to be brought and killed because they were hey d t yINKOTANYI. Luckily, we were not there; instead we were OTA YI. L ANYat his son N n Nshimyimana. They immediately went to an oldman called NYIRUBUHINGWA to eat a cow belonging toa Tutsi called KAYUMBA. He had left that cow when hewas preparing to take refuge. In other words, that cow savedus because after finding it they didn’t pay much attentionon us to be brought and killed. The following morning,that’s when we heard that those who were in the stadiumand in the Catholic Church had been fired using guns andgrenades. 25
  28. 28. Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaAs time went on, killers got more and more dangerous. Andwe were also being told about Tutsis killed here and there.The time came when they searched in houses of Hutus theythought could hide Tutsis. This is the reason whyNshimyimana told us to leave his house and go to hide tohis father Murenzi. It was not far. We went there, but wedidn’t spend much time there because extremists were sayingthat another Tutsi called GAKWAYA,who used to pray withNshimyimana’s mother, was hiding there. We startedspending the day in bushes and go to that house in theevening to eat and sleep. This also didn’t last because killers ecaustarted searching these houses even during the night That’s e ni night.when we started spending the day and night in b ght n bushes. Wealso started eating non-cooked food like ban e bananas, potatoes,sorghum trees and others we could find where we were uld ndhiding. Days after days, killings beca intense and a big gs b am becamenumber of Hutus joined these extr extremists and participatedmassively. At that time, H Hutus t trust were very few. We tohad become animals bec because for us the day was very bad. causeWe preferred the ni night a the rain because extremists ight andcouldn’t look fo Tutsi under the rain. Again during the k for Tutsisnight, they sea hey search in houses not in bushes. The only ey searchedproblem was th for us the day had become longer than the m was thatnight. We use to hide in banana plantation near our home. e used edThey started then searching there and my mother decided rtedthat we should change and go to hide near the river calledNTARUKA. This was separating my sector Rubengera andGihara. My mother used to go to cultivate there before thegenocide. To reach that place we had to go down a mountaincalled KAMPEREZO. We hid in bushes on the bank of thatriver during the day, during the night we had to go up themountain to find a family that could give us food. Then wewould sleep in banana plantations waiting first hours of themorning for us to go back to the river. One day, it rained 26
  29. 29. Love Above Allwhen we were in that bush near the river. The river floodedand reached where we were hiding. It was necessary for usto leave that place and go up the mountain. We reached ahome of one man who was a believer in an Adventist church.His name was NARCISE, The rain was so heavy that nobodycould walk under it expect us who were like animals. Weentered that house and inside we met his son calledDAMASCENE. When he saw us, he was very afraid butshowed us where to sit. The rain stopped in the evening. Thechief of the family arrived and he met us in the house. First,he didn’t recognize us for we had spent more than a month hanliving in the bush, being beaten by the rain, sleep in the sleeping epinmud and without changing clothes. We were lik fools. To likerecognize us he had to come closer. That is when he asked: h“Are you still struggling for life?” He add that almost all He added ddTutsis had been killed. He told his so to light a fire for us d is son onto get warm. They also cooked for us; we ate and went to ookeddbed. Towards the morning, we go up early and went to our ngg, gotriver. When we arrived, the ri was still overflowing. We d, t riverwent back and saw a pit ca caused by water flowing down thatmountain called KAM le KAMPEREZO. When it rained, water onthat mountain wa very strong that it hit soil and passed untain was ntainunderground to r gro d reach the river. The day was going to meet oundus out tha wh we decided to enter that pit. We went that’s when hat’sthrough it like a distance of ten meters and stopped there. ikBeing underground, it is not easy to have an idea of time. Ihad to go near the opening time to time to check if it wasnight yet. We were surprised to see that water had reachedwhere we were sitting in that pit. After ten minutes, waterwas so strong that it could even take us to the river. Westarted going back in the direction where the opening of thepit was. We had to go in the opposite direction of waterotherwise we would find ourselves in the river. It was noteasy to get out of that hole. Even today I don’t know how 27
  30. 30. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanawe managed to get out. We sat on the opening of that pitfor some time. We were very muddy like pigs. We had to sitthere waiting for the night to come and being washed by therain. In the night we went up the mountain but now on itsleft. We reached a house of someone called YOZEFU. Hewas a Hutu and he had a child that we studied together. Hisother three children were in the children’s choir I told youat a Sunday school. We entered that house and met themother of those children. He took us in the kitchen for usto get warm. She sat at the door of the kitchen p preventingall children to get inside. When she finished cookcooking, shegave us food and told us to spend the night the But we there. ere.had to leave very early in the morning to find el elsewhere tohide. It rained the whole night. My mother told me that we thercould go back neither to the river nor in the pit because nor intothe problem of water was still there. W went to hide in the here We re.banana plantation of another man again called YOZEFU. ther mThis one, his wife was a Tu and she was a very good friend Tutsi utsiof my mother. We spend the day in that plantation and in nd dthe evening we went to t ent nt their house. They put us in thekitchen to get warm; we were given food and we spent the et w m; wnight there. The following day, we did the same as the here. re. fprevious da In the night, YOZEFU told us that us day. ay.INTERAHAMWE had said that they would come to kill RA AMW AHAhis wife. H suggested us to come, eat and leave in order not Heto be found at his home. It was a way of protecting his wife,who was also a Tutsi, because if we were found thereINTERAHAMWE would get good reasons to kill her.Wives who had Hutu husbands were not killed first, butthey would be killed later after the burial of their president,according to INTERAHAMWE. But this didn’t preventsome of these wives to be killed before. Such husbands hadto behave in a way that was not to let INTERAHAMWEkill their wives. They put our food in a plastic bag and we 28
  31. 31. Love Above Allreturned in the banana plantation where we had spent theday. The whole night, killers were moving in a path that wasnear, hunting in houses where they thought they could findpeople hiding. That plantation was not a secured placebecause people most often children used to pass there to pickavocadoes. There were many avocado trees. Near, there wasan old woman called DOMINA. She was a widow, Tutsiwho had a husband who was a Hutu. Interahamwe had notkilled her. She told us that she couldn’t hide us because therewere persons who used to pray from her house. She fearedthat we could be the cause of her death. She put us i a house inthat was still being built. It had a roof but no do o doors. Wespent the day and the night in that house. The following day, fo ollsomeone came running towards that house. W stood in the use. Wecorner just not to be seen. She heard our movement and she dwas also afraid. We knew that she was a young sister of that w wasold woman called MUKARUGABA. she was also hiding ARUGABnear that house. There wa a path near the house and it was phadn’t doors. That’s why my mother told me that we would hyleave the place the f following day because it was easy for e followeverybody to ge inside and see us. Early in the morning, we get nsidewent in the ban he banana plantation that was near the home of myprimary teacher I talked about earlier. That day, it rained y cheand snowed cats and dogs the whole day. I tried to cover nowe wedmyself using a banana leaf but it was no use. In the evening, inwe had to leave that plantation. When my mother tried tostand up, she failed because of spending the whole daysitting and the rain on our shoulders. Later on, she stood upand went. We were really exhausted. We had only eaten twopieces of Irish potatoes in two days that we spent in the otherhouse. We took a direction towards a house that was near.It was a house of a woman who was a hearing impaired. Shewas living with her daughter. We knocked and the daughteropened. She saw us very wet, but I could guess she knew that 29
  32. 32. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanawe were Tutsis who were still hiding. She welcomed andshowed us where to sit. My mother said that she wanted tostand for a while because we had spent the whole day sitting.Fire was off and they were about to eat. She lighted fireagain, gave us food and we all went to bed. At that moment,we heard cars carrying INTERAHAMWE. They weresaying that once all Tutsis were extermnated, they would livepeacefully. They were also calling other Hutus to kill Tutsisbecause the world and its content belonged to Hutus. Thatgirl told us those INTERAHAMWE were back from killingTutsis who were at BISESERO. The rain had stop stopped. We pweren’t afraid because it was late in the night; pro probably they obabwere also tired and needed to rest. Killing at tha time was g thattaken as other jobs. It was even called “Guk “Gukora” meaning“to work”. The girl showed us where to sle but asked us to re sleep lleave early in the morning to avo b avoid being found there in oidpossible searching the following da It was not a problem lowin day. ngfor us because it was already part of our life. In the morning ad dywe left but we changed the d ed t direction. We went back nearour house in the banbanana p nana plantation of Nshimyimana, ourneighbor. There we had a serious problem: People came to There ecultivate near wher we were hiding, among them, there was w wherea young man w was Interahamwe. He was even among g man who nthose who we to kill my grandfather. One may say that o wentGod was with us. We were sitting in a pitch dug to prevent wsoil erosion. We had brought there some dried banana leavesto cover us once necessary. We lied in that pitch, coveredourselves and small insects started stinging us. We keptquiet to avoid being seen and killed. Luckily enough, towardsmidday, it rained, these people went home and insectsstopped biting us. It rained until late in the evening. But tosay the truth, it was not easy for a day to finish. We went toMurenzi’s house, stopped behind the compound near thekitchen. We saw his daughter called UWAMUKIJIJE and 30
  33. 33. Love Above Allmy mother called her in a low voice. She recognized us andwas surprised to see us alive. May-be they thought we hadbeen killed because it was a long time without going there.She called other members of her family to come and greetus. The mother asked them to bring us food. She added thatwe should leave after eating because Interahamwe wouldmeet us there. At that time, Interahamwe were coming totheir house almost everyday because they were said to hideTutsis. I had in my pocket a plastic bag that I would use incase someone gives us food. I took it out of the pocket, theyput food for us and we left. They told us not to h nearhidethe compound because, before searching in t house, g theinterahamwe had to search its surroundings. We went back gs. Winto the banana plantation where we had sp the day. On ad spentour way, we heard movements of someone and we ran away. om meonI didn’t know how the plastic bag br g broke and the food was rolost in the way. I realized that it wa empty later. We sat in wasthe bush waiting for the on who was running after us and onehe never turned up. We even waited for someone who could e evcry but no one did. We reali that it was a dog’s movements. realizedWe prepared ou bed u d our using dried banana leaves and slept.The night was ve short during the whole period of genocide. ht veryIn the morning, we did not leave that place. We waited for mo ing wthe evening for u to go back to Murenzi’s. At that time we enin f us ngdidn’t find f food because they had already eaten. His wifewas very sad because she could not find anything for us toeat. She entered in a room and brought dry sorghum grainsin a bowl. She told me to bring plastic bag and we used it tokeep these grains. Even if that bag was broken I didn’t throwit. I had tried to repair it during the day. people were runningout of provisions in food. People were not cultivating. Somewere busy killing and they lived on what they took fromTutsis, others thought that Inkotanyi would take the countrywithout them harvesting. We went back but we couldn’t 31
  34. 34. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaeven eat these grains because of chemicals preventing insectsto spoil them. We had to wait until we found water to washthem. That was the second day without eating. We spendthe night there and the following day we were late to wakeup. When we woke up, the sun was already strong, and nearus were shepherds looking after cows. We were unable tomove because of fear. We couldn’t even find dirty water towash the grains. About 10:00 am, in a distance of like onekilometer from where we were, we heard people crying thatthey had seen a cockroach to mean a Tutsi. The shepherdshurried towards where people were crying. We d e did also didn’t didelay to leave that place because they were com coming in our mingdirection. We passed near Nyirubuhingwa’s, an we took wa’s, andthe direction of the forest near the home of my primary ome fteacher. People were crying here an th and there. At that time, nd hInterahamwe had even brought dog to help them hunt ht d gs dogsTutsis where they were hiding. For u the heaven had fallen. ng. usWe were running but we had n neither where to hide nor adefinite direction. It was real hard for us. Imagine two as reallydays without eating or sl ng sleeping appropriately. Again, wewere very tired a d wor ed and worried. Imagine People crying here andthere and dogs hu d hunting you! Even when birds cried, wethought it wa jus because of us! ht i was j as justLet us arrest them; they are Tutsis. rreWhen we arrived in the forest, we met the young brotherof my teacher’s husband who was called HITIMANA withtheir shepherd. They were looking after cows in that forest.When they saw us, they cried very much and saying “Letus arrest them;they are Tutsis”. My mother told me that weshould take different directions to avoid being at the sametime. The shepherd ran after me and HAKIZIMANA aftermy mother. I ran towards the coffee plantation that was near 32
  35. 35. Love Above Allthat forest. I was so fast that the shepherd didn’t catch me. Ireturned to the banana plantation of YOZEFU. I spent therest of the day there and in the evening I went to his home.They asked me where I had left my mother. I told them whathad happened and his wife said that she had heard of twopersons killed near a professional school that was there. Istarted crying thinking that no doubt my mother was oneof those two. They took me in a room, showed me whereto sleep but I failed to sleep the whole of that night. I wasthinking about my mother’s death and how I was the onlyone remaining. The night was characterized by such t uch thoughts hthat I didn’t sleep. The fact that my mother would ha been ould have dkilled didn’t mean that I had to stop hiding. Ins ng. Instead I hadto wake up very early in the morning and g i nd go into bushes tohide as usual. In the morning, the youn sister of the wife ey youngof YOZEFU came to wake me up bef e before it was morning. bShe asked me my plastic bag as to g me food I would eat s giveduring the day. It was left in th coffee plantation when I eft the ftwas being run after. She promi me to come and see me in he p promisedthe banana plantation brin tion bringing food. I left that place being nvery tired because of no eating and the sorrow caused by my cau notmother’s death. I w tired physically and mentally. In the wasbanana plantation I slept very deeply and I was woken up a p tatby cries ev ywh es everywhere. I heard someone saying that “Abakiga” veryhad come. These were Interahamwe from the region of high emountains. They were more dangerous than those of ourlocal area. They were interested in searching houses for themto take the belongings of the family where they could finda Tutsi. But they had to go where local people showed thembecause they didn’t know the place. There were Hutus whodidn’t want to take active roles in killings but who weredirecting these Interahamwe pointing at houses where theythought Tutsis would be hiding. People were crying nearwhere I was. I stood up and started running. I was very tired 33
  36. 36. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaand hungry that I was being brought by the wind. I wentback in the coffee plantation and luckily I found my bag withsorghum grains. I took it and went in the pit that was dug toprevent soil erosion. We hid there sometimes. Remember wehad not eaten these grains because of chemicals dangerousto human beings. Still I couldn’t find water there, yet I wasstarving to death. I opened the bag, started blowing on thesegrains as a way of cleaning them and I started eating them.They were very hard that I had to keep them in the mouthfor sometime to be wet. I the evening they were over. I wentto MURENZI’s again and I stood behind the co e compoundwhere we used to stand waiting for food. I calle t called them in leda lower voice. They were surprised to see me al e alone. Theyasked me where my mother was and I told them what had hhappened. They said that she might have b t been killed. I gavethem the bag, they gave me food an I disappeared from ood and d ndthere. I went in the banana pl na plantation, sat down, ate and lantaslept. The following day, AB ABAKIG came back. People cried ABAKIGAhere and there then I stood u and went to a bush in which too up odwe used to hide with my m th mother. When I got in it, I saw mymother lying as a dead body. I approached and touched her.She moved and u edd unable to talk she asked me if I were stillalive. She knew th I had been killed the day we separated e knew thatour ways. I a told her that I was thinking that she had ays. also .not escaped that day. It was her fifth day without eating. pedShe had even failed to eat green bananas that she had withher. She had a serious problem. She had been wounded by apiece of tree in the thigh and the piece was still inside. Shewas unable to move. In a very low voice of someone tired,hungry and full of sorrow, she started telling me how sheescaped HITIMANA who wanted to kill her. When she wasrunning, she fell in a pit that was in the banana plantation.The one running after her didn’t see the pit. He thought shewas still running. When she saw that the guy had continued, 34
  37. 37. Love Above Allshe covered herself with dried banana leaves in that pit whichwas not deep. After one hour, that’s when she realized that atree, which was still inside, had hit her and her clothes werecovered by blood. In the evening I left my mother and wentto someone called KABERA to ask for food. I was givenfood very quick and they were very afraid because that manhad a wife who was a Tutsi. I left and joined my mother.We started eating but she failed to continue. Later on, andwind very much. It was about to rain. Down the bush, therewas an old man called ZEFANIA who lived there. We wentthere and waited for them to go to bed. They had a kitchen ad dwithout doors. We entered and luckily fire was still there s stiburning. We sat near the fire and it is there that I was able ere thatto get that piece of tree out of my mother’s thigh. While I her’s hwas doing this, it was very painful that sh cried very much. that she hPeople of that house heard the cry, cam towards the door of ry, c me camethe main house but luckily they did get out. I had a small y y didn’tjacket and I used it to prevent her from continuing to bleed. eve ventI took some ash just to co b cover blood. Early next morning, we overwent back to our bush. ush. 35
  38. 38. HITIMANA and I. 36
  39. 39. Chapter Six: My Mother’s Prayer.My mother seemed to have lost hope of l She continued ope life.praying. She used to pray like th s if I try to translate,“ e thisLord our creator, even if we are sinners you know that awe are being killed for nothing. But if you see that I am noth thintowards the end of my lif I request you to protect my f life, ifson and receive me i your kingdom.” She prayed like inthis almost every day. My mother asked me to do my best st ayand hide becaus she had to remain in that bush for she de because eccouldn’t move. S feared that we could be killed at the n’t ove. Shesame moment. So I had to hide elsewhere and come to see om menher in the night. Towards 2:00 pm we heard Interahamwewith their dogs hunting Tutsis. My mother told me to leavethe place. I passed in the same coffee plantation and thereI found a girl called JOSEE. She was living with a nursecalled EDOUARD. She was together with a boy calledMODESTE both hiding in that plantation. I continuedagain my way towards the banana plantation of YOZEFU.There again, I found a child called NATANI. He was ashepherd of the same nurse. He was also a Tutsi and he was 37
  40. 40. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanahiding. We hid together the whole day and he stared tellingme how he went back to his home and met only dead bodies.He seemed to have some mental problems because of thedeath of his relatives. He was never at one place. He wasmoving here and there and I was afraid of these movementsthat’s why I asked him to keep quiet for us to hide. Inthe evening, I went to see if my mother was still alive.Remember that I had left her when there was Interahamwecoming in her direction. I found her there and I went backto Murenzi’s to tell them that she was still alive. They gaveme food in the same plastic bag, I went back t see my k tomother and we ate. One may say that my plastic ba it had astic bag cbecome a metal! I had been using it for two mon carrying o months nthall sorts of food and everything we put there h to smell as hadif it was spoiled because it was itself spoiled In the morning, f spoiled.my mother asked me to leave and go to h elsewhere I went d o hideback in my banana plantation and m NATANI again. For tion a methim he had to go where he wor e h worked before and slept withcows. He told me that cows have become his friends. He tcshowed me a tree in that banana plantation. We climbed nup and hid the We got tired very quickly soon and we there.didn’t stay ther fo a long time. He told me that he had ay there for yten Rwandan f wan an fran that he wanted to go to a place called ndan francs n“Imihanda iri anda irindwi” to mean seven roads to buy an avocado. da rindwThis is a juncture of seven roads. It was like 500 meters jufrom where we were. I told him not to go but he refused.He told me that he had even gone to his native place thatwas very far and he came back. He told me that I had to fearnothing that would be back. When he got out of the bananaplantation, in the road to the Presbyterian Church, he metsomeone called DUSHIMIMANA. He was a good model ofINTERAHAMWE. People said that only three people weremissing in order for him to have killed a hundred people.He had a machete and he stopped him. I was seeing them 38
  41. 41. Love Above Allfrom a distance, so I couldn’t hear what they were saying.Immediately someone called NKIKO come. He was livingat that place. He asked DUSHIMIMANA what he was stillwaiting for. He took the machete in order to clean the place(killing that boy) according to him. DUSHIMIMANAtook legs and NKIKO the head. He covered the mouthof that boy, stepped in his chest and then cut off the head.They cleaned their machete using clothes of the dead body.NKIKO put the dead body in the pit to prevent soil erosionthen put some soil and that was the death of NATANI. Itwas my second time to see where someone was bein killed. being iI stayed there until it was night. I went to YOZEFU’s, they OZE EFUgave me food and I went to join my mother in h bush. her herIn the morning I went in the same bana plantation and e bananaspent the day in the same tree. A bo called EUGENE; e. b boyhis father was a nurse, passed there from grazing cows. He ssed tgreeted me and continued his w He was a very good ued ed way.friend of mine. We studied together and we used to go tud diedto the cinema together. The family of this boy was also geth her.Tutsi. During t seco republic, Tutsis were mistreated g the secondthat is why some of them had changed their identity to hy somget access to some benefits like studying or getting jobs. ces o so ss somIt was the same for this family; they were Tutsis who had e sam amebecome Hutus. This didn’t prevent Interahamwe to destroy Hutheir house and kill the eldest child. After a short period oftime, Eugene brought me bananas. I started eating themthrowing leftovers down. After one hour, someone calledATHANASE and his fiancée called NYIRAMANA passedthere. His mother was YOZEFU’s sister. When they arrivedunder the tree they saw all these banana leftovers they raisedtheir eyes in the tree and saw me. ATHNASE had a gun andasked me: “Do you live here?” and I said yes. He told meto stay there that there weren’t any problem. ATHANASE 39
  42. 42. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaknew me very much because I used to spend the day athis uncle YOZEFU. They left but I was very afraid and Idecided to leave that place too. I went down, moved downa bit, lied down and covered myself with dried bananaleaves. After thirty minutes, the INTERAHAMWE calledDUSHIMIMANA came with a machete. He looked up inthat tree, didn’t see me and he left. In the evening I wentto bring food and joined my mother. I told her how I wasgoing to be killed and she told me that I had to stay with herthe following day. At 9:00 am of the following day, people ycame to cultivate in the coffee plantation that was near ourbush. After a while, we saw a big snake from a ho t was hole that olenear us. It was like two meters long. I was very afraid and as ver yapproached my mother. She whispered tel d telling me not to llibe afraid. The snake stayed there for a l for lo time. Towards longmidday, it came in our direction. M mother shook me tion My n.against the soil preventing me to m g move. It passed in frontof us very quickly to the c ee plantation. When they saw e coff pit they ran crying and th d d they didn’t come back. My mother heytold me that she was spendi the day with that snake. After as s spendinglike three hours, that sn ur hat snake came back and entered into itshole. My mother w not the same. She was tired but she y moth waswas not afraid. Sh tried to talk to me and her face was very t a aid. Sheclear. And sh se d she seemed to tell me things from the bottom of heher heart. Sh told me: “May be killings will stop or God Shewill help you to find your brother in Kigali. Don’t becomea drunkard like him. He will teach you to work but don’tlearn from him to like beer. Be wise. Try to find friendsand live peacefully with everybody because you never knowwho will be important to you. Even if we are being huntedto be killed at least sometimes there are friends who give usfood. It is because I have been living with them peacefully.Listen and help those who need your help as you can. Don’tforget to advise one another.” When she finished telling me 40
  43. 43. Love Above Allthis, she said her usual prayer she used to pray. It rained atthat time until late in the evening. In the night, my mothertold me to go back into the other kitchen that was near.toZEFANIA’s home.I left my mother and I went to MURENZI’s to ask for food.They put food in my plastic bag and came back. When Iwas preparing to get inside the compound, I saw my mothersurrounded by five men. They were talking to the girl in thathouse through the window. They told my mother to go andthey followed her. I lost interest in life and I said I would id dknow the death of my mother. I left them to go a I went andbehind them. They took her in the road near th old man thecalled NYIRUBUHINGWA. When they r hey reached to a wifecalled ABUDIYA four of them entered itered into the compoundthen the one called FIDELE nicknamed MAPIRONI stayed kna ed amwith my mother out. I was seeing t as seeing them from a distance oflike a hundred meters. I wa hidi against stones that were was hidingon the road. I don’t know wh my mother told him before now what w hthe boy hit her with the bac of the machete and my mother h th backfell down. After a short moment, those four came back and teMAPIRONI told m mother in a frightening voice to stand ONI to myup and go. (After the genocide that is when the mother of d g Afthat house to m what my mother had told MAPIRONI ouse told me se oldwhen he hi her.) My mother was telling him: “ Serve God hitand let me go I beg you do not kill me; at least I’ ll be cultivatingyour fields.” My mother stood up and They took her in theroad leading to a place called RYANYIRAKABANO. Theywere moving slowly because my mother’s thigh was stillpaining. When they arrived where this road joins the oneof KIBUYE-GISENYI, the one called BIMENYIMANAtook my mother on the other side of the road then thisMAPIRONI said that it is was not accepted to kill a Tutsiwithout raping her. They started fighting with my mother 41
  44. 44. Jean De Dieu Musabyimanatrying to take off her clothes. Of course she couldn’t defeatthem they ended up by raping her. When they finished,the one called JEAN D’AMOUR who was sitting on theroad told them to bring her to the road. My mother askedthem not to kill her naked. She asked them to let her atleast put on a skirt. BIMENYIMANA brougth her dressafter they told her to lie down on the road. She obeyed andBIMENYIMANA hit her twice with a very big piece oftree commonly known as “ubuhiri”. JEAN D’AMOUR, theone who killed my grandfather, also slaughtered her with asword. My mother cried only once. I turned and w to a nd went dhouse that was near. I sat behind the compound wai nd wwaiting forthese killers to leave. I wanted to go and see if m mother if mywould be still breathing. They stayed there for sometime therplanning for the following day but later th separated and theywent away.After the five men left,I we to a small forest that was near wenta house of someone else that w my teacher. Her name was e th wasBEATA. I used to go there to play with her children who o therwere my friends. I hid i that forest. It was still in the night. nds inThe following d in the morning, I saw a dead body of a owing day, winggirl near me in th same forest. Her head was cut off and ar thethey had p aced “igisongo” (a sharp piece of bamboo tree placed placthat they uused to kill) in her sex. It was not easy for me torecognize her for she hadn’t a head. Towards midday, threedogs came and started eating that dead body. I couldn’t doanything because there was a position of Interahamwe nearand a pathway used by so many people. I stayed there andthese dogs left when they were satisfied. I cant’ forget thatpicture; it frightens me even today. In the evening, Beata’schildren were playing football.The ball came towards where I was hiding. The youngest 42
  45. 45. Love Above Allcame to pick it and saw me. He stared at me and wanted tocome and greet me but when he saw leftovers of that deadbody he was very afraid and went back running. After amoment their houseboy came and told me that my teacherwanted to see me. I went there, she gave me bananas butadded that I had to leave that forest because Interahamweused to go there. So they could find me there and kill me. Itwas in the evening and I immediately heard people cryingat a place called Imihanda irindwi. I went where I couldsee what was going on. It was a girl that they had found.They had put her in the road. I was at a distance of like 200 e fmeters. Interahamwe called NSENGIMANA se A searched her earcand took off the piece of Kitenge that she had fa e fastened onher belly. He then stroked her with a humhummer on the faceand she was down. They left her there s here struggling with thelast breath. I turned back waiting fo the night to fall so ting for g orthat I could leave that place. I we to MURENZI’s and ace. wentthey were aware of the d death o my mother because she of he roadwas killed and left in the road. I spent this time the nightand the following da ins day inside their house. We heard thatInterahamwe w ld se e would search this family second night. Thatis why I went to spend the night in the banana plantation. spI stayed there five days but eating from Murenzi. There d re vwas a pathway i that plantation and as time went on it pathway in thwabecame frequent. Many people were using it. I decided to freshift from there and go into another plantation of bananathat was near my school. Apart from this, people wereaware that me, Josée and Modeste were still alive hidingin those plantations. There was a child nicknamed TOTO.He was a Hutu and we had studied together. At that time,he was spending the day moving around these plantationsand bushes to find Tutsis who were hiding there. Once hefound a Tutsi, he would hurry to inform DUSHIMIMANAwho rewarded him for this according to what people said. 43

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