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Meah FoundationPhilomene Mukantagewera » Meah Foundation

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Philomene Mukantagewera  

It is all gone now. That is what I think when anyone asks me if I am married. I had a son, a husband, a small farm once. I had seven brothers and sisters. A mother, a father. When the killings started I had just miscarried my second child. I was too weak to run with the others away from our home. Leave me, I told them. Go, save yourselves, I whispered into my husband’s shoulder, my son’s cheek wet against my own. I never saw my husband or son again. Only one of my brothers survived. Me, I hid inside the forests for three months. I was almost dead when Kagama’s army found me and brought me to Nyumba. They gave me medicine, financial assistance. I survived. I wanted to forget; I started a new life. A year later, I married Celeste, a mechanic from my hometown, and together we moved to Kigali to start over. For almost ten years we lived, brought into this world three children, Andre, Juona, and Patrick. Then, in 2004, I lost Celeste to AIDS.

Today, I keep my head high. I walk from house to house with fruits, meats, small crafts I make out of banana leaves with my two hands; I sell a little here, a little there. I want my children to finish school, find jobs, have a better life. Maybe they will.