A survivor who was orphaned during the genocide

“When you forgive, everything is possible.”

“When the genocide took place, I was a Christian. And when the genocide took place, people were killed and I didn’t die—I was saved. So I said to myself, “What God has done for me, it’s so, so huge, its so big. I survived in the genocide.” I realized that those who have been killed in the genocide are the creation of God, and I am also the creation of God, and even those who have killed are the creation of God…I used to read the Bible and the Bible told me that God hates sin but He loves the sinners. I said, “Even though these people have done all these messes, God has always loved them.” So I said to myself that I am going to forgive them as a sign of thanking God that I survived. And it was very difficult for me to give them forgiveness because they were in prison. In my church, we had a program for the choir where we sang and visited prisoners. So I would go with the choir and meet the perpetrators, and always I would tell them I have forgiven them.

I started telling this story of forgiving perpetrators to my relatives, those who survived. My siblings were still young, one was 7 and another was 10. I told them, “Please come and forgive those men who killed our parents.” I told them, “Our parents, relatives and siblings have died. But these perpetrators are the ones we’re remaining with, so we must forgive them so we can remain together.”

I have forgiven Malakia to the point that every good act I do on the offender’s behalf so he can feel free to come here—I have tried my best so that he can feel free. When you forgive, everything is possible. Not only for Malakia, but also [the other people who offended us] come to our home and we drink and eat without any fear. People in the community used to tell me, “[These men] will bewitch you, why do you visit those families?” And I told those people, “I have forgiven them, we have reconciled so they will not do any harm to me. If God protected me in the genocide, He will protect me now.”

We are not supposed to continue in sorrow and pain because of what happened in the genocide. There are people who don’t have parents for reasons other than the genocide. You can live without parents and siblings because we have God. That’s why we should not continue to live in sorrow—because there are still other orphans.”


One of her offenders

“And she told me, “…..In the name of Jesus I forgive you.” ……..I felt electricity current go through my body and the burden was released.”

“I offended Pellina during the genocide. I was the leader in this small neighborhood. At the time of the genocide, which was very terrible period, this woman was not yet married. Some of the young people in the group I was leading wanted to come here to kill this lady. And they asked me, “We can’t go anywhere without you.” So we came and Pellina was hiding here—in this house—and we came searching for her. Good enough, we didn’t find her. She was around here, but we couldn’t find her, so we went. But if we could have seen her, she was supposed to die.

After genocide, I realized she didn’t die and that she was still alive. When she saw me, she was very angry. Imagine seeing someone who was going to kill you! At that time I went to prison in May 1996. I spent 6 years there. The time I went in prison, she came to the prison where I was. She was a Christian at that time. She asked the leadership of the jail to release me. They called me and when I saw her, I was afraid. And I thought, “Why is she calling me? Maybe they are going to beat me!” But she said, “Please come!” I came very afraid.

When we approached each other, she immediately hugged me. And she told me, “I have called you just to greet you and to tell you that I have forgiven you. In the name of Jesus I forgive you.” And when I received that news, my body automatically changed. I felt electricity current go through my body and the burden was released. Then, they prayed for me…Now, we have a good relationship.”