A genocide widow

“By the grace of God I decided to come in the workshop.”

Mukankusi Seraphine lost her husband and her 4 children in the1994 genocide. During the selection of Empower participants, she was very hesitant to attend this worskshop; the cell leader who invited her, failed to convince her.

She told him that she was tired of this kind of workshop that doesn’t bring any change in peoples lives, as she had already attended another training session about unity and reconciliation and  she didn’t want to attend another one. Furthermore she didn’t want to be in  a workshop together with Eliab, as she has been informed about other people from her village who had been invited, who had killed her husband.

Finally, “By the grace of God I decided to come in the workshop,” Seraphine said. One of the exercises particularly impacted her. Learning about the water tank, poisonous chemicals, bags, and about forgiveness, has brought relief in her soul. She couldn’t believe that she would attend the same workshop with Eliab. But at the end of the workshop she decided to forgive Eliab, after understanding how to put down the “bags” and the importance of forgiving.

She is still in her journey of healing especially with the trauma from seeing her daughter killed after being raped.


The man who killed her husband

Sematama Eliab is a genocide perpetrator, who was involved in many killings during  the genocide.

Eliab had been arrested and imprisoned for many years until he was released through Gacaca court. Despite the forgiveness he had asked for 20 years ago during Gacaca court, he was still struggling with the guilt, fear and hopelessness. Until he come to the Empower workshop, Eliab was tormented by sleeplessness and couldn’t believe that he would be fully forgiven.

He was surprised by hearing the genocide widow Seraphine, whose husband he had killed, proclaiming forgiveness towards him.

Even though he was so called Christian he had never believe that God would really forgive him. After  Empower, he felt relieved  and believed that he was now fully forgiven.