(8/9) “There were twelve people in my family before the…

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(8/9) “There were twelve people in my family before the genocide.  I’m the only one who survived.  We recovered eight of the bodies.  And we buried the bones we were able to find.  I didn’t trust anyone after the genocide.  Even when I was rescued by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, I wouldn’t take the food I was given.  I thought it might be poisoned.  So I’d eat raw food from the fields.  I was losing so much weight but I didn’t care.  People looked at me like I was a statue.  They assumed my emotions were frozen.  They knew my family was dead, and didn’t want to ask me questions.  So I held it all in for decades.  Who could I talk to anyway?  In a nation of one million victims, how do I begin to tell my story?  There’s been too much tragedy for everyone.  Some people lost their arms and legs.  Other people were raped and given HIV.  What makes my story worth telling?  Who am I?  Why should I ask for sympathy?  And who would I even ask?  So I never asked anyone.  I’ve never asked anyone for a thing.  I don’t want anyone to take care of me.  I don’t want people to celebrate my birthday.  Or cook for me.  Or tell me sweet words.  I’m fine with giving love.  But I can’t accept it.  Because I don’t want anything that can ever be taken away.”
(Butare, Rwanda)