African Great Lakes 

HROC Burundi: A Trainer for Trainers

By David Bucura

This is a second trauma healing Training of Trainers (ToT) after the first one conducted in January 2018 in the framework of CRS Burundi project. This new one met together for eight days 18 participants including 9 males and 9 females in Bujumbura using the Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) methodology. Participants were from Bujumbura Mairie and Bubanza province, targeted as the most directly affected by the violence of 2015 election crisis. This project features trauma healing and social cohesion workshops among youth, as well as between youth and local authorities, while forming youth savings groups and developing entrepreneurial skills to strengthen resilience.

Hilaire KEZIMANA

I was born in 1988 in Mutaho commune, Gitega province in a family hating Tutsi group due to the fact that they had forbidden my mum to continue her high school studies at Lycée St Therese. According to my mum, they had also killed some members of our family including my teacher during the crisis of 1993. Whenever they saw them, my parents were pointing their fingers to them saying “ those criminals”.

These developed in my inner heart, a bad memory against Tutsi group at the point I couldn’t accept to sit with one of them either in class or in the church.

Unfortunately, during the 2015 election crises, I was beaten by Imbonerakure ( young hutu affiliated to CNDD-FDD prty) at the point of dying accusing myself of not participating to fight against demonstrators against the 3e mandate. Since then, I missed on what foot to dance as both Tutsi and Hutu dismissed me.

When I was struggling in that confusion, I got opportunity of participating in a HROC basic workshop in 2019 and 2000 where I learnt about « Johari’s window”. It seemed to be like a sun rising before as I understood what is trauma and how to recover from it.

Personally after sharing my traumatic experience, I started the journey of personnel healing, I was healed. I’m thankful of attending now a ToT where I come to get practical tools to facilitating community trauma healing.

Now I’m a new person knowing that change starts by me first, and move to my family and late to the whole community. My commitment is to invest what I come to learn in my community and wish to be a healing companion in the future.

More thanks to Dukire Tubane Project for this contribution.

Suavis BIGARAGU

My testimony stands on my life within my own family, at school, in my daily job and finally as couple.

I was born in a modesty family of farmers. I’m the last one in a family of six children and I got a good education from the catholic school and I never missed any primary needs during my childhood.

I started my primary school at the age of six even though the girl schooling was not encouraged in my area of born.

When ending the primary school, I failed on the National test and the headmaster didn’t accept me for doubling the school year. I was obliged to look for a place far from home at 9 km. I failed once again and my parents did their best to let me return at the first primary school for a third time and I succeed on the test. With the 1993 crisis, my parents were assassinated, our belongs were stolen and our houses burned down just when I was attending the secondary school.

As the consequences of that crisis, I passed 2 years in an Internal Displaced Person Camp. By clemency, one family adopted me and sent me at school. I failed unjustly when I was in 11 st grade due to a conflict that our teacher of English course had with my paternal uncle. I changed the school and went to Rumonge high school where I finished it without any other problem. Then, I attended the Burundi University where another professor of English course made me failed too. Due this failing, my right to continue living within the campus was stopped. I moved to live to my cousin where his wife mistreated seriously and finally I leaved and looked for a friend to host me.

After the university I got a job as a teacher at Cuya catholic seminar since 2009. Due to my marriage I moved to Bubanza province where I got promotion to become a headmaster. No difficulties met.

My life as a couple came to empire the situation due to the fact that I got a husband who didn’t have a vision for the future except drinking beer with his group. The minimum of economy I had reserved when I was a single one, was misused and got traumatized by the deception I endured when I was expecting for a husband to comfort me and made me forget the misery I went through as orphan and injustice met before.

I developed isolation and other symptoms of trauma following my husband behavior and the delicate situation we were in.

What I come to learn is that: any difficult act met in life must have a particular attention and a psychological assistance. I understood my traumatic experience and that of my husband and community in general. My commitment is that I’m going use the tools I come to get to help my family and my community too.