Letting Others Live Again

I wrote this piece as a reflection on my visit to Rwanda a few years ago..it has a Lenten/Easter theme..not to be enjoyed but reflected on…..Dedicated this Easter to my good friend Virgil Elizondo who died recently…




A knock came to the door late at night. ‘Who is there?’ asked one of the sisters. ‘Jeanne’, was the reply. ‘How could this be?’ said the sister to herself – only the day before Jeanne had been killed along with five other girls. The soldiers came to the convent and the militia beat the girls to death with rocks. This happened on May 18, 1994, over a month since the genocide started. The next day the soldiers came back and they instructed the militia to bury the girls’ remains.

The sister who opened the door thought she was dreaming. Jeanne was dead as far as everyone was concerned. What’s more, she had been buried. Obviously the wounds had left her heavily concussed. Her hair was matted with clay and she collapsed as soon as she entered the room. More than likely, her body had been thrown on top of the others in the makeshift grave. Maybe the rain had washed away the soil or maybe even the convent dog who had been behaving mysteriously trying to attract attention had scraped away at the soil freeing Jeanne from the weight of inevitable death.

Her head was gashed and her left arm was badly damaged from the beatings. A trip to the hospital was out of the question; every day the soldiers and the militia called by to ‘finish off’ those who were still alive. The sisters brought Jeanne to a safe place. They cleaned her wounds with sterilised water this was the only First Aid equipment available.

D&L Rwanda

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