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She was born to a Genocide perpetrator and a mother who survived

Umutesi Pacifique is a 28-year-old woman who lives in Agatare Village, Kibatsi Cell, Rukira Sector, Ngoma District. She was born to a father who participated in the Genocide and to a mother who was a victim of rape during the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.

Umutesi explains that her mother was considered Tutsi at the time, while her father was part of the Interahamwe militia in 1994. Her birth resulted from her father raping her mother and also committing the murder of several of her mother’s relatives.

She says, “My mother was assaulted, attacked by my father who also continued to kill some of my mother’s relatives. Now, where my father’s home is, it still exists, but I have never lived there, nor have I lived at my mother’s place. I was a wound to my mother so much so that seeing me would trigger her trauma, reminding her of how my father raped her and killed her relatives.”

Umutesi says that people from her father’s side, upon seeing her, also felt a wound and would tell her that she is the child born from a snake [her mother]; that was the life she lived as a child, where she would be chased away whether she went to her mother’s or her father’s family, leading to a difficult childhood.

Umutesi mentions that she attended primary school living with various families, but she never stayed in one place for at least two years. As she reached secondary school, she began to receive help from other neighbors who bought her all the necessary school supplies. After completing her lower secondary education, she chose to quit school because the trauma made it difficult for her to perform well.

She said after quitting school, she chose to move to Kigali but it didn’t work out, so she moved to Kayonza District where life continued to be very challenging. After a long time, she decided to return to her hometown, got married, and her husband encouraged her to go back to school, only for him to leave her after discovering she was born in an Interahamwe.

How Mvura Nkumvure restored her confidence

Umutesi says that last year, in 2023, during a period of deep sorrow contemplating her future, a group from Interpeace came and began training them on trauma healing and forgiveness. This helped her come out of isolation and recognize that she could live peacefully with her family.

She shares, “We talked, I told them about my traumas and they consoled me, supported me, and helped me get back to life as before I did not feel like a normal person, but now I have regained my life, learned to make money, join savings and loan groups, and I found friends and relatives whereas before I lived in isolation.”

Umutesi says she has completed all 15 lessons offered in the Mvura Nkuvure program, and she and her fellow youths have started a method of saving small amounts of money which they loan to each other to help in their development. She mentioned that she is now one of the entrepreneurs like other Rwandans and that she has forgiven all her family members even though they have not asked for forgiveness.

Straight out of Twitter