Moral Courage



Tour Diary


"The son of the old man put the alarm on. They had killed his father and they threw his body into a latrine."
Valérie Mpawenimana and Gaudence Nikuze (Continued.)

Valérie: I went back and passed behind their house. I saw the three boys. I told them to follow me quietly into my house. They stayed there with their father the whole night.

Gaudence: There was nothing I could do about the three boys who left. I did not know that Valérie rescued them at the time and assumed they had been killed. I stayed in the other three children. I was very frightened. The killers kept arguing and quarrelling amongst themselves for a long time.

What helped me is that I was praying to God all the time. "God save us from these killers' hands," I said to myself. "Why do they want to kill us? We all are human beings and we have been created by the same God. Why do they want to kill us?"

Valérie: Those people were armed with arrows and clubs. You could tell from their faces that they were ready to kill every Tutsi. They told me that they wanted to search my house. "Are sure Jean Marie isnít in your house?"

"He isn't there," I told them. "Not at all. You can even check for yourselves. Why would I want to hide him? For what purpose?"

One of them didn't believe me. "Are you sure they arenít inside?"

"No she is telling the truth," someone else said. "She canít be hiding them."

Then they went to the next house, on the other side of the road where an old Tutsi man lived. That is when we heard the alarm.

Gaudence: It was installed to summon the army to the neighbourhood in case the Tutsi were attacked. The son of the old man put the alarm on. They had killed his father and they threw his body into a latrine. The soldiers arrived soon afterwards and the mob ran away. The soldiers got out of the vehicle and they surrounded the house. I opened the window slowly and told the soldiers, "They wanted to kill us. I do not know whether my husband and some of my children are not already dead. We are here alone."

© Burundi Voices Project, 2006.