Stories Worse than Mine

Consolee and her siblings a few months before the genocide
“There was a time when it was hard for me to talk about it,” Consolee Nishimwe says.

On April 6, 1994, the plane carrying the then President of Rwanda was shot down over Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. He died. By April 7, Hutu extremists systematically killed Tutsis (another ethnic group). Almost 1 million people were slaughtered (mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus) in the ensuing three-month period.

“I was fourteen but was the oldest child in the family. They killed my father first. Then they killed my three brothers, ages nine, eight and sixteen months. They threw their bodies into a septic tank. My mother, my sister and I moved from place to place in moderate Hutu neighbors’ houses. Some of the neighbors were afraid to hide us, while others were downright mean and turned their backs on us.
“By God's grace I survived. My mother and sister, too. More Tutsi women survived than Tutsi men because the men were the prime targets. Many Tutsi women were raped as part of the genocide strategy of the Hutu extremists. Some had babies and many of those children will never know their fathers, as some women were gang raped. Other women were infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in addition to being made pregnant. I was raped and got infected with HIV. There are thousands of stories from the genocide against Tutsis, which are worse than mine. Many stories of cruelty and torture were taken to the grave with their victims. Those who survived need to tell their stories to the world.

“Writing helps me express things I previously had to block as a coping strategy. It helps me to talk about my experience. It helps me with my trauma, and I hope I’m helping to heal many other women by revealing my story. I have learned that no matter what you are going through, it's a good practice to find someone you trust to help in your healing. When I use my voice, I help people—those who are still struggling to come to terms with their life situation, and also those who are preparing themselves to cope with difficulties that may befall them in the future.”

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Learn more about Consolee's story by reading her book: Tested to the Limit: A Genocide Survivor’s Story of Pain, Resilience and Hope. Her story will both make you cry and leave you full of hope and faith! Click here to purchase the book.

46 comments:

  1. Peaches, her story is so touching and Im here sit trying to figure out what her feelings could be after have gone through all this pain and suffering. When we complain about life and bad things we always have kept in our mind her story and life. Hope she is fine and Im sending her much love. Many kisses to you Peaches xo

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    1. And she wears a smile on her face whenever I see her...

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  2. That's heartbreaking. We're horrified to hear about it on the new but even more so when the people become real.

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    1. That's one reason I want to share stories like this -- for us to confront the faces of humanity.

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  3. To go through all of that and still have such an outlook, wow.

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  4. This story is definitely worth reading. I cannot even imagine ...

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  5. Thanks for commenting on my snow post. Minor thing, snowstorms, compared to what the good people of Rwanda went through. A few years ago I read a book a survivor of the genocide had written. My memory isn't very good and I can't remember the title or the author, but I remember how well it was written, and how horrific it was for people such as Consolee. My book money is gone for February, but I've downloaded a sample, and by the time I get that read, I'll be ready to buy the book for my kindle. The reviews are impressive. I'm excited to read it. Thanks for commenting so I could come over here to meet Consolee. How tragic that she got HIV, but as she says, it was worse for others. Horrible things that humans to do each other. But the strong ones survive.

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    1. She's a lovely person. Unless, you know her story, you cannot look at her and tell she was infected with HIV.

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  6. I remember seeing the news reports of the massacre when it happened and I was stunned. I was even more stunned that it didn't seem to get the outrage from the world that it deserved. At least in my opinion, it didn't get enough attention. I ordered my copy. Thank you so much for letting me know it was available. God bless you Consolee! This line shows me just what a fabulous spirit she has...There are thousands of stories from the genocide against Tutsis which are worse than mine. I can't imagine a story worse, but bless her for keeping her empathy and concern for others.

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    1. It was "foreign" to me until I met real survivors.

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  7. I'm sorry for Consolee's suffering, but I'm sure her writing reaches many people and helps them handle their own problems.

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    1. She gives talks along with writing her story.

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  8. Such a horrible situation, but that she can now bring light to it and help others is a beautiful thing.

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  9. Consolee, you must be so strong not only to survive but to be able to write about it. I hope your book helps people to cope with their own tragedies and to open the eyes of others.

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    1. She helps others to cope and share their stories.

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  10. What a horrible thing to go through!

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    1. Glad she made it through the evils she suffered.

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  11. What a horrible thing to go through!

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    1. Just read your comment on my blog. Can't wait to hear your story!

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    2. Just read your comment on my blog. Can't wait to hear your story!

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    3. I wrote about it on Conceive Writing.

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  12. I'm not sure why, but the bit that really got to me was where the Hutus threw the dead bodies in the septic tank. It's heartbreaking and I wish I could do something :(

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I guess killing (alone) was not sufficient.

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  13. Horrible, dark, tragic side to humanity.

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    1. It happens every now and then on a grand-scale in history and then there are the daily acts on a smaller scale.

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  14. Gosh this really puts things in perspective. I have always wanted to see the movie "Hotel Rwanda" because I have heard that it's really eye-opening in regards to this time period.

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    1. Hotel Rwanda was sad and it does not even tell all the stories.

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  15. Great blog♥

    How about follow each other?
    I follow your blog. Waiting for you♥

    Kiss
    MIGUEL / ÉS A MINHA DEUSA

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  16. Parabéns pelo blog e por compartilhar histórias assim ainda que triste
    mas ajuda sim a muitas outras pessoas a continuar lutando mesmo em meio
    aos caos da vida. Ter fé em Deus trás a esperança para um futuro com Cristo.
    Deus abençoe a sua vida.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Nal. Yes, that's the aim, to help others.

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  17. Thank you for having it integrated into my blog.
    A sad story, but that reveals courage and willingness to help those who have been through similar EXPERIENCE or suffering too much for minor issues.

    Hug.

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  18. Muito comovente e eu aqui sentado a sentir isso.
    Espero e desejo que esteja bem.
    Abraços

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These are our stories. Thank you for your kind comment and laugh as often as you can. Peaches D. Ledwidge, author of Day Laughs Night Cries: Fifteen