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Stories from Widows

The following stories are of widows who currently live in the Village of Hope.

NB: Identities have been changed to protect privacy.

SARAH
My name is Sarah. I was born in 1954 and i studied up to Primary Four and I was with my parents and had no problems. At the age of 20, I got married and my husband's name was Harry. We had five children together.

Since 1990 we faced serious torture and threats. However, in April 1994 they told us that our end had come. The neighbors told us to go to a place where the Red Cross was helping refugees, so on that day our family was scattered. My husband fled with three of our children and I fled with two. As for me I hid at an old man's house. He was told that if he didn't send me away he would be killed too but he didn't. I stayed there for seven days and went to find my husband. My husband was killed during that week and then our three children managed to come back to me. However one had gone to live in an orphanage as he thought we were all dead, but he was able to return to us later. That was a miracle of God, He has so far done many good things for me. I praise God so much for bringing my children back.

That is how we survived the genocide and to make our living I go to the shop, get some items and sell them to make a small profit. I thank God because my children are not on the street. God remembered me and the servants of God gave me a house. I live in it with my five children and three other orphans. One is not related to me and I have adopted her, the next calls me 'Aunt' and the last one calls me 'Grandmother'. I now believe that life is going to go well.


ANNE
I was born in 1962 near Kigali city in Rwanda. My father passed away when I was only four years old and I lived with my mother. I never knew my father. My mother took good care of me until I got married and I gave birth to five children. Now, I only have three children as two died in the genocide.

The genocide broke out in 1990 and I fled to Uganda with three of my children (two were with their grandmother). During that time of fleeing due to the violence I was parted from my husband and I have never seen him since. I do not know the kind of death he died. My mother was killed in the genocide with my siblings and my two children.

We returned to Rwanda in September 1994. I tried to go back to my place of birth hoping to find some survivors who knew me. My house was taken by someone who would not return it to me. This was difficult as I thought that I would finally find rest for my family in my village but could not live in our own house. I had nowhere to go and nothing to eat.

I thank God for strengthening me through such hard times with my children. I praise God who made us meet Nicholas (manager of the Village of Hope) and he brought us together as orphans and widows. He taught us the Word of God and how to pray, comforted us and started an association and found sponsors for us both from inside the country and abroad. I live in my house with my three children and six other orphans. I thank God from my heart because he gave me a house. God really answered my prayers and I thank our sponsors. I pray God to bless you so much.


TAMARA
I was born in 1960. My father passed away when I was 18 and as I had five siblings my mother found it hard to care for us, although she tried very hard. The main reason things were hard was because our land was rich and good for making bricks and some rich neighbors took most of our land and we remained with only a small portion close to our house.

I was married in 1987 and had two children. We started facing discrimination and hatred in 1990, during this time my brother was beaten so badly he could not move for a few days. On the day the genocide started I sought refuge in a church. After that I could not find my way back to my mother because the killers were scattered everywhere in the roads. I was able to hide in the house of one of my husband's relatives, however they refused to give me water to drink, beat me, and often spoke about killing me themselves. I was very scared. Once, I tried to run away but someone told me there was a deadly roadblock in front so I went back. After a while my husband returned and found me another house in which to hide.

My children and I were taken to a camp and the conditions were very harsh. In that camp I learned about the death of some of my family members. In the genocide, we lost 7 people from our home - 3 grandchildren, one sister, 2 brothers and my mother. Because of the hard conditions in that camp, one of my children passed away on the 15th August 1994.

Now I have 5 children in all, two who are mine and three whom I have adopted. My husband is in prison since after the genocide and the relatives of my husband do not wish to see me. However I praise God for the house God has given me to live in and sent well-wishers and friends who are helping us achieve many things we would never achieve on our own.