During the genocide, I was 34 years old. I was part of the mob that came to Eugene’s house. We took everything and destroyed what we could. It was a terrible time. We did a lot of bad things but I did not realize it was bad at that time because we did not kill anyone.
After the genocide, I was not imprisoned or did TIG. The workshop I attended helped me to be able to ask for forgiveness in the right way but also to accept that for sure Eugene had forgiven me. I no longer fear him, we have a good relationship, and things are good for between both our families and us.
Before I felt that there was no reason for me to ask for his forgiveness because I did not kill his people, only was part of the mob that looted him and ate his cows. I feared him though, and did not feel free to be close to him, but why ask for forgiveness when I killed nobody? During the CARSA workshop I got to understand that actually what I did was wrong and bad. It is when I got aware of how bad that was.
I stood up in the middle of many people who had attended the workshop and asked him for forgiveness because this time I realized that I needed forgiveness. He was able to forgive me, and since then I am a free person.
We visit each other now; there is no problem between us anymore. But when I remember that before the genocide I had escorted him to buy the cow we took ate, I cannot believe what had got in me to do what I did.
For us, the genocide did not start on April 7th like other places, it started around 15th. This whole hill is one family, my wife is a relative to Cyprien, they have a big family, and almost all the houses around here are their family. My father-in-law lives just down the road. My sister who lived at Kanyinya (a cell close to ours) had come with her family to seek refuge at my house thinking she will be safe. One of my brothers-in-law who married my wife’s sister brought his cows to hide them at our father-in-law’s. The mob came and took it away saying it is for Tutsi, it is the first one they ate. The mob was made of many people and I knew that that cow was not going to be enough for them. I went down the road to see what was happening and met a man coming out with a sword and a machete, he greeted me and joined a mob that was coming to my house (I came to know this later).
I came back home around the back and saw my family and all that were in the house running for their lives. My cows were being taken away by the mob, and my kids were confused because their uncles were the ones who were doing this. That is how we left the house and run to Kabgayi. The mob of Cyprien and his friends later came, looted and destroyed my house and properties, burned what they could and cut down the banana plantation. I told one of our neighbors who used to visit me at Kabgayi to come and tell everyone that he found my body dead on the street. It was to make them stop trying to follow me at Kabgayi. It did not work. They still came to me. It is a miracle that I survived.
At Kabgayi, many people were killed there too, but we survived by God’s grace. After the genocide, I realized harboring that grudge was harmful to me. They came to ask for forgiveness and I told them to name their restitution. Many people denied being part of the mob. Realizing that I survived by God’s grace made me know that the God who helped me survive will give me what I lost by them. Forgiveness gives rest to the heart. CARSA’s workshop confirmed that for sure the right way was forgiveness. I praise God I was not killed and my wife was not killed either (they could have killed her even though she is their sister). We are now enjoying a reconciliation journey because even those who hunted us down understood their wrong and asked for forgiveness from their hearts.