Edith Mugirasoni was born in the Bugesera District of Eastern Rwanda in 1977. She was the youngest of nine children. Edith had a very self-reliant family since they owned many cows and enough land to produce plenty of food. Her three brothers were teachers at a primary school and Edith loved studying very much. The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi happened when she was in the second year of secondary school. Every child in Edith’s family had a vision for the future and her big vision was to study and have many degrees. These good people, who had been enjoying the blessing of being members of such a beautiful family, were forced to die. All of their visions and plans ended there. The entire family was exterminated except for Edith and one of her brothers. They continue to live with terrible memories of the Genocide.
During the Genocide, Edith and her family went to hide in Ntarama Catholic Cathedral, only 300 meters from Edith’s home, with hope that no one would dare kill people inside a church. The church didn’t slow the perpetrators from their killing. God saved them that day and they fled to hide in the swamp of papyrus and marsh plants. The swamp was filled with snakes and biting insects and many people drowned in these swamps before they were killed. Edith and her family had no choice but to go into that impossible place. This is where most of Edith’s family was killed, along with thousands of other people. After torturing Edith in different ways, they cut her with machetes and threw her on the pile of dead bodies, believing that she was also dead. By God's grace she was still breathing! As the killers kept adding other dead people to the pile, Edith was buried and spent 3 days unconsciously hiding there. It is still very difficult for her have hope for the future even to expect that there are people who exist who can love her and give her a value as a human being.
As a result, Edith has been living with very serious trauma. Through God and the counselling program at True Vineyard Ministries, there is hope that she will slowly be healed. Empowered by the counselling program, for the first time since she left Bugesera in 2000, Edith agreed to return during the memorial period this month, to join other people in remembrance. This is something Edith has been avoiding for a very long time. The counsellors helped her understand it was important for her to return to that place and meet other people and hear other stories about the genocide. Understandably, it was difficult for Edith. The counsellors tried to console her as she saw and remembered every place where she witnessed family members being killed. She believes it was helpful to return to the place where she survived.
Because of the tremendous trauma, Edith was not able to continue her studies even though she was a very intelligent student. This is something that troubles her very much. When she tried to study again, she couldn’t perform well because of post-traumatic disorders. Her hope seems to have been lost completely. However, there is expectation that through continued counselling, God will restore her hope.
Edith joined True Vineyard Ministries two years ago. She is a very good spinner of yarn and also has a gift of sewing. Edith now dreams of owning a sewing workshop and we hope she will be encouraged to pursue this dream through our micro-finance program.
Below: Edith visits the papyrus swamp with a priest earlier this month