Rwanda: Survivors Become Forgivers
Elie, genocide survivor and member of the Wirira Association. See bottom photo. "My husband and three children were killed during the genocide. They killed them with pangas and machetes. They killed all of my relatives. I have wounds everywhere on my body. I had a lot of pain and could not forgive the Hutu tribe. I was so hopeless. Slowly by slowly, we (the survivors) are getting free. I have hope now that I have a good future. Because I am with Jesus, I am going to make it. The strength I have is by the grace of God."
- Salafina, 29, a survivor of the genocide with the man that killed her family. “I am the only one that remains. They beat me and I am no longer strong. The church started teaching us to forgive each other. He asked forgiveness and I have forgiven him. I can forgive because I am a Christian. I now work side by side with the man that killed my family. The perpetrators and survivors now work together. God gave me a heart of forgiveness.”
Members of the Wirira Association, a group formed to comfort widows of the genocide that were also raped. Wirira means, Don't Cry.
More than 800,000 people, 20% of the country’s population, are estimated to have been killed in Rwanda during the genocide of 1994. I was recently asked by Drink Coffee, Do Good and Savannah Christian Church Global Outreach to document the stories of both the survivors and perpetrators of the genocide.
All Photographs copyright Gary S. Chapman
(Nikon D3s, 70-200mm 2.8 @200mm, 1/250 sec, f2.8, ISO3200)
(Nikon D3s, 24mm f1.4, 1/320 sec, f2.5, ISO3200)
(Nikon D3s, 50mm 1.4, 1/2500 sec, f1.4, ISO200)
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