CELESTIN

When the genocide started I realized that things were bad. I left my house with my family and ran for our lives. Leonard joined the killers and came to look for us at home, but we were gone. They then decided to rob us. They took my cows and all that was in the house.

After the genocide, Leonard fled because he feared the RPF army, but he finally came back and was imprisoned for what he did. I always felt angry towards him, because we were neighbors and friends, but he had wanted to kill me and took my things. I felt our relationship was forever damaged.

It was not easy to live close to a friend who has become an enemy.

We were helped in the workshop we attended to know how our hatred towards each other was destroying us. Leonard asked me for forgiveness and I was able to forgive him truly from my heart. We were given a cow for peace that we shared. In taking care of it, this brought us close to each other once again.

Today our families have become friends again, he is the first person I trust in our community. I leave my house into his hands when I travel, he feeds my animals and sows my seeds and I just come to weed and harvest. He has become truly the friend I needed.

LEONARD

During the genocide, I became a very bad person and participated in the killing of many people. With the mob, we went to Celestin’s place but found him gone. We looted him and ate his cows and destroyed things there. When the genocide was stopped, I ran with my wife and went into exile. Arriving at Kibuye with other refugees, RPF stopped us and sent us back home.

While at home I realized that I might be caught and be judged for my involvement in the genocide. I fled to Congo, then to Zambia, joined a rebel army, but later realized that the only safe way was to return home.

Back home I got imprisoned for what I did. I completed his sentence and came back home. But it was not easy for both of us.

We got invited to the workshop that helped us look at each other differently and also at things differently. I managed to ask for forgiveness and he forgave me. It was a relief. Today we are very good neighbors, even our wives are friends. When he married his second wife after we were there helping as family.