Janvier’s story

When the attackers came into our house during the genocide ,they picked the second born child and cut him to pieces in front of the entire family. Next they took my father into another room, I was so frightened for him I pushed in too and saw how they demanded money from him by shouting and with knives. I was screaming so they took me out to a neighbors house, where they cut off her breast and then portions of her arms. They made us all drink her blood. Those that did not drink were killed.

I ran with other children into the bush and slept there. My godmother’s husband later found me and took me home. When it was over, we eventually found of my brother were his feet which we buried.

In 1996 I was married. I was the first to do so and I had my children very quickly. Soon after his birth the first child became ill. He would cry and scream. It was as if he could see the killing in the Genocide, he screamed as if he had lost his senses, and I think he inherited the pictures and feelings through my womb. The same thing happened after the birth of my 2nd and 3rd children. I took them to the traditional healer for medicine. But they did not get well. I had 2 more children who did not have the sickness but next my husband became sick. He was very poor and would run off and chase the children. The local children were frightened of him. I had to care for the family myself. Eventually my husband disappeared taking 3 of my children with him. The loss of my children after all that suffering tipped me into illness. The local leaders told me that my husband was mad and I have never seen him since.

The traditional healer’s potions and cuts on my body did not work and I was sick for many months. A kind neighbour looked after my eldest son and gave him some schooling, but I felt lost and grieved for my lost children. It was then that a miracle happened. A local leader of the NOUSPR group sent out word that she had found and given shelter to 2 children who were wandering and homeless. She wanted to know of any lost children. When I entered Vestine’s home I found my children.


Vestine then shared her home and life with us; we are like sisters. Vestine told me about NOUSPR and counselling. We talked together and with others and I began to see a way to feel and be a better person with a life of my own.
I have been given strength and am now committed to helping others. I am very strong and work as a labourer to earn money; I am very strong and help others in the group, I learned to do the handicrafts very quickly and earn money for the group in this way. I will also use the new sewing machines to make and sell clothes for the group.


My eldest son lives here with us and the children are healthy now. I will find money to send them to school and all will be well then. Recently the NOUSPR group helped me to rent a home of my own here in the village and will support me with the rent.


I have 4 of my 5 children with me, but I have never found my daughter. I think about her and imagine sometimes setting off on the road to look for her.