Today was an emotional day. We did some child visits in the morning and at lunch time we visited with a reconcilliation association group. This is a group of people in Nyamata that were involved in the 1994 Genocide, both perpitrators and victims. We heard two people tell their story. First, Imanuel who participated in the Genocide in Nyamata. He told the story of the days he personally killed, 14, 5, 1 people on different days. One person he left for dead was a lady named Alice. He hit her in the head with a machette and cut her right hand off with a machette. Then another person with him hit her in the head with a club twice and hit her in the shoulder with a spear. Alice's 8 month old was cut in half (not sure if it was Immanuel or another with him)
Alice was sitting right beside him (see photo). She told her story of how whe was losing a lot of blood and the others didn't think she would make it so they left her. Later, her husband came back with one of the soldiers that were there to stop the genocide. They took her to get treatment because "she still had breath."
They both spoke of there experiences after when they met and Immanuel knew Alice was one of the people he had thought he killed. They became friends before he told Alice that he was the one. She did not believe him but eventually he asked her for her forgivness. She has now totally forgiven them and they are now best of friends. Alice lead the judgment committee that judged these people in court. To prove to Immanuel that she had forgiven him she took his file to the top of the pile and had him released with the presidential decree that stated if anyone that would come forward and admit to what they did and tell the entire truth they would get a pardon.
I know I did not do the story any justice. We have the entire story video taped and if anyone would like to see/hear a story of unimaginable horror and unimaginable forgiveness I will gladly share the DVD with you.
We heard 2 other stories of two other sets of people who are now best friends. One where a man killed a lady's husband and 5 children. The other where the man killed the lady's mother during the genocide.
When we asked the association what there hope was for Rwanda in the future they answered that they want to be role models for the rest of the country and world so that people will come to forgivness as they have also.
If these people can truely forgive people for what they have done, there is nothing in our daily lives that can hold a candle to what these people have done or been through. Yet, sometimes we do not forgive.