Jean Paul’s story

I was brought up without a Fathers presence in my life. My mother would only say that he was a kind man who loved children. When my mother beat me, or when we did not have enough to eat I thought to myself ‘my Father would not do this’, or else ‘my Father would give me food if he knew I was hungry’.


I later found out that my Father had died in the Genocide. When I was 22 years old a neighbor said to me one day ‘Are you related to X, you look just like him’. I then started to investigate myself and I discovered who my Father was, and that he had another family of 6 children, who were my brothers and sisters. I made myself known to those people who did not acknowledge me. They later sold my Father’s land and I did not get a share.


I returned to my mother’s home with a heavy burden and turned to God. I prayed and fasted, my Mother would say to me ‘I do not know why you think there is a God, I have never seen him’. This discouraged me, but I continued to pray and was on bad terms with my Mother as a result. It was at this time that I fell sick; when I was in the Church I started to shout and cry out, saying strange things. The brothers of the priest beat me up and threw me out of the church saying I was mad. My mother told me to go to another church, but they beat me also and drove me away.


I was eventually taken to the hospital, after a time when I was running mad on the streets. The doctors gave me injections and medicine and for a time I was separated from other people. I was never told what the illness was; I just believed I was mad. I had periods at home and then back to the hospital for treatment. I prayed myself from home but I did not go to Church again.


It was after this that Shamus found me; she heard of my story from others and said that I should join her group. She told me that there were people who appreciated me as I am and would accept me among them. This was a great thing for me after so many people had beaten me up because I was mad. I went to that group and have gone ever since that time.


Now I feel part of something and can talk and share my life with others. Since I have been in this group I have not had a return of the madness, I have felt low but not ill again. I earn some money as a casual la bourer and am able to live independently.