Encounters with conflict and peace

Going home after the genocide

Janvier Munyaneza lost everyone except his big brother.

For weeks they evaded the killers by hiding in the swamps. When the RPF arrived to rescue them, within a few days Janvier, aged 14, simply went back to the family home. They found they house destroyed, so walked on to their grandfather's house, to find that he had also been killed. They decide to settle there...

Rwandan boy with goats
glimpse a future for myself
"Papa had twenty-four cows and five goats. We were able to catch three of them in the bush, thanks to their very distinctive mottling. I now live with my big brother, Vincent Yambabaliye. I prepare a bowl of food for him morning and evening, I look after our cows in the shrubbery and three other ones belonging to neighbouring folk, while he cultivates the plot.

I do not like going down into the valley, because I am afraid the cows will go off with herds belonging to shopkeepers of Nyamata. We do not have enough cows to have them looked after by paid cowherd. This is what stops me from going back to school, and this is a strong daily sorrow.

In Kibungo, I brought myself back to life not too badly, but the grief over having lost my family always keeps turning up unexpectedly. The life I lead is all too desolate. Out in the cattle's company, I fear rustlings in the coppice. I would like to go back to the benches and begin a school life again, where I would be able to glimpse a future for myself."

Janvier Munyaneza, 14 year old cowherd
From Into the quick of life. The survivors speak by Jean Hatzfeld

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