Venla’s story


My story is told with just a few words. It relates, like many stories here, to a time in the past but, leaving my story in the past and being present here and now is not easy.
I was one of 11 children born to my parents, the 5th child. Despite being a good pupil at primary and secondary school I went into the Army at the age of 15. I was recruited by a man who came to the school and I cannot now remember why I wanted to go.
About one year later the Genocide occurred and at the time I was on escort duties. I could not return home until October 1994.


When I reached home I found my Father and Mother, who told me all 10 of my brothers and sisters had been killed. I asked how where they killed and eventually was told. My story is of the death of my brothers and sisters. My eldest brother was an educated man and a teacher, they told him he would not need to teach anymore, or write on the blackboard and so saying they chopped off his hands and then proceeded to chop off the lower part of his arms and so on until he was chopped into little pieces in front of my family. Then they went on to the next child until all were chopped into little pieces. After the death of the last child they left saying “we are done now”.
I went back to my post in the Army, but could not remove the image and words of my eldest brother’s death from my mind. I could not work, I could not concentrate, and I just stayed alone and went away in my mind. The time passed and my life went on, without me being in it.
Eventually they took me to the hospital where I had treatment over the next 4 years, including many injections. I was released in 2012 and stayed at home as I could not afford any medicine. Then I was found by Vestine who told me I should come and just sit with her NOUSPR group. She welcomed me and talked to me. We come together in a group and I like it so much. It has changed my life and that of my family. Before I found NOUSPR my wife and 2 children needed to be strong all the time to watch for the times I would go away in my mind. They had to tie me up to keep me safe. Now they hardly ever need to do this.
I can help make the handicrafts and because I did study at the top of my class in school I have been appointed as Treasurer of my group and will go on the Trainings in Kigali. I have tried many times to do casual work without success. But this is something I can do. With NOUSPR to help me I am growing in confidence and will at last begin my own life.