Program:  Ben Kayumba

Today our club heard from Ben Kayumba, of Compassion International, Good News International, and Rwanda.  Ben attempted to summarize his country’s tragic history into a 20-minute program.  Among the things we learned:

In 90 days from 7th April 1994 around one million people were massacred in one of the worst genocides the world has seen. The genocide was carried out by soldiers from the Rwandan Armed Forces. People were burned alive with their houses, children thrown down pit latrines and buried alive, and unspeakable atrocities carried out on the women. Neighbors turned on neighbors, attacking with machetes, clubs, poison, starvation, and rape. Although many women and children were killed, hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans were left behind. For many of them, food is a daily struggle, education an unattainable necessity, and-to break free from the poverty cycle-an impossible dream.

The effects are still felt 18 years later.  Citizens still bear the scars from the attacks.  Many of the girls and women who were raped contracted AIDS from the attackers.

Ben escaped thanks to a Hutu friend, a taxi driver who got Ben to the Burundi border.  This friend tried to help many escape this way, and on his final trip, he and his family were killed. 

Ben managed to get to Uganda, and eventually returned to Rwanda, where he found both his parents had been killed, in addition to over 150 members of his extended family. 

Ben acknowledged the Clinton administration for getting his country’s genocide acknowledged by the world.