News / Africa

Trauma Still Fresh for Rwandan Genocide Survivors

Trauma Still Fresh for Rwandan Genocide Survivorsi
X
Roopa Gogineni
April 04, 2014 2:30 PM
The Rwandan genocide happened 20 years ago, but the trauma experienced by its survivors still lies close to the surface. Roopa Gogineni heard one survivor’s testimony in Kigali.
Roopa Gogineni
The Rwandan genocide happened 20 years ago, but the trauma experienced by its survivors still lies close to the surface.

Every April, a sadness falls over Kinyaya, a community of genocide survivors, home to Cecile Umurerwa.

"Each time in April, I feel very anxious and sick because I remember the genocide.  It is like a film in front of me, because I can remember very well.  There was nowhere to hide.  We were sitting when the first group of killers came.  They told us to pray, that the next group would come within 15 minutes.   We prayed.  After we prayed, the Interahamwe took us to Kabeza where they had dug many holes," she said.

The Interahamwe (Hutu killers) forced Cecile and her children to the ground.  They began shooting but soon ran out of bullets.  Cecile and her younger sister were the only ones left alive.

The killers made a promise to return.

"They said, those we have killed will serve as a mattress for our dead president, you will be the blanket.  Instead of me staying alone, I thought, “let them kill me.”  I have no reason to stay alive," said Umurerwa.

But before the Interahamwe could come back, soldiers from the Rwandan Patriotic Front found Cecile and her sister and brought them to an IDP camp.

Today, Cecile cares for five young people orphaned by the genocide in a home built for her by the government. 

Two hours south of Cecile's home in Kigali is the Murambi Genocide Memorial, another stark reminder of lives cut short.
FILE - Rwandese refugees cross Rusumo border to Tanzania from Rwanda carrying their belongings even goats, mattresses and cows, May 30, 1994.
FILE - Rwandese refugees cross Rusumo border to Tanzania from Rwanda carrying their belongings even goats, mattresses and cows, May 30, 1994.

Forty-five thousand Tutsis were killed over three days there at the Murambi technical institute.  Today, thousands of bodies have been exhumed and now lie covered in lime on desks in old classrooms.

Eric Gatabari, a guide at Murambi, lost his own family during the genocide. Now he takes groups of school children through the site.

"Some Rwandans and other people, sometimes they deny there is genocide of Rwandan Tutsis.  So that is why we have decided to preserve it, in order to educate the consequences of bad ideology and ethnic divisionism," he said.

Gatabari said the memorial raises awareness in young Rwandans and ultimately served to promote unity and reconciliation.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jeffrey M. Collins from: Boston
April 06, 2014 12:13 AM
Can a (meficsl) doctor actually make a comment like the first one here? The US & the UN looked the other way from this genocide and did nothing to stop it. Would we had spent a few bucks to save 800,000+ lives. If you're looking for a big waste of US dollars and American lives, look no further than now-painter, then-president George W. Bush's costlly war folly in Iraq.

by: Dr. Masta Marina
April 04, 2014 1:40 PM
does anyone have any idea how many Trillions of Dollars we have sunk into this diseased continent..??

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs