Its just another ordinary day as you go about your tasks getting ready for the day. Imagine your surprise when you hear quite a commotion outside. You look out the window to see soldiers making their way towards your home. Quickly and quietly, you grab your younger sister and run out of the house into the field along with your parents and two other siblings. As you flee, you get separated from your mom, dad, and siblings. You run with all your might, struggling to carry your little sister in your arms. Then you hear the screams. Oh the sounds that will haunt you for years to come. You freeze in terror as you realize that those are the screams of your parents and your brothers as they are brutally attacked with machetes.
This happened to a precious woman I met in Rwanda. I will call her Annette for her protection. What was Annette’s crime? She was Tutsi (read previous post for details on this).
Annette and her baby sister hid in a sorghum field for two weeks and finally came out of hiding because they were starving. As they scavenged for food, the soldiers captured her and threw them into a latrine. She spent several days there and when she was finally lifted out, she was separated from her sister, beaten and tossed back into the latrine. They would occasionally pull her out and force Annette to dig graves and to bury the dead. In the process she found part of her father and later, she found her mother.
She continuously begged the soldiers to please, please let her see her sister. They finally succumbed to her pleas, but just as Annette reached for her sister, the soldier maliciously threw her sister up against a concrete wall, and she could hear the cracking of her baby sister’s skull. She was just a baby! How could anyone do such a thing to a precious little one?
Annette was then pushed back into the latrine where she stayed for three days without food or water. When she was finally released, she was given to a man who told her she was to become his wife. He took her to his home and his mom refused to let him marry her because she was a Tutsi. Instead the mom made her the family’s slave and she became the man’s mistress (to say it nicely). She worked there for months before escaping. She hid in the sorghum fields once again only to be discovered by a soldier who raped her.
When the genocide officially ended, this soldier fled into Uganda. Sadly he continued to cross the border for years to come and tortured poor Annette. Today she has two children conceived by this man.
I cannot fathom the pain Annette endured. She was the only person in her family to survive the genocide. It took such courage for her to share these traumatic events with us. I’ve learned that when you experience a crisis, you need to tell your story again and again until you don’t need to tell it anymore. I pray that God will bring healing in Annette’s life as she tells her story.
The good news is that Annette has not become bitter by her circumstances. She credits God with giving her the strength to keep going and she considers her children a blessing. Please pray for Annette. Pray that she will not only survive, but once again thrive. Pray for her children. They are aware of the circumstances of their birth. Pray that God’s grace would touch them in a special way.