African Great Lakes 

The Community Trauma Healing Workshops, Burundi

Ten (10) community trauma healing basic workshops were conducted in partnership with Catholic Relief Service (CRS) Burundi. These workshops aimed at preparing the 2020 peaceful elections planned for May 20, 2020.

KWIZERA Kevin (from Nyakabiga)

My named is Jean Kevin Kwizera. What happened to my life and that I cannot forget is the death of my best friend during the 2015 crisis. There were people who came in our house and then, they took us out. They started to give punches which were violent to my friend. It was on December 11th, 2015. Those people killed my friend in front of me. I run away shouting and then policemen came and put me in their car in order to go at the investigation office. I passed a whole week at the investigation office. In that place, I saw death. They inflicted on me all sort of tortures. I can’t even believe that I am still alive. I have a lot of wounds due to what happened to me in that crisis. What wounded me more is the fact that I didn’t assist to the funeral of my best friend. With the help of God, I left the investigation office and went back home. I saw a lot of dead bodies there and I am not able to forget the situation. I always think about my best friend. I am not able to forget him. I am not able to sleep at night, I see cadavers, people who are killing and other things flashing back in my memory. I thank the CRS project and HROC which brought these teachings to us. I have come to confess the wounds which are on my heart. I thank you , facilitators who helped us to understand about trauma , its consequences and hor to recover from it.

NDAYISHIMIYE Jacqueline ( from Nyakabiga)

What touched me a lot in my heart was the death of my parents. I was very young and I knew nothing regarding death. I grew up at my grandmother who did everything to me. I saw my grandmother as my mother and I knew that my grandfather was my father. I lived in good ambiance and I missed nothing at my grandparents who I believed they were my real parents of blood. However, what I thought was totally wrong. My grandmother took care of me since three years old and I didn’t know many things at that age. When I was at school, they asked me the names of my parents and I said one name of my grandmother and that of my grandfather as I didn’t know their second names. As soon as I reached home, I told to them that, our teacher asked to all pupils names of their parents and that I missed their second names. From there, my grandmother revealed to me that my parents died and who they are to me. I got wounded in my heart.

My grandmother wished to leave longer to seeing my wedding but suddenly, she felt sick. Her sickness became more and more serious. We brought her at the hospital in Bujumbura. I was always near her as she didn’t have any daughter who could took care of her there. I was always praying for my grandmother recovery and seeing my wedding as it was my wish too. She gave me a lot of advises that I’m still remembering. But after what, she passed away at the hospital bed and I was near her. I assisted to her death. After her death, I lived a situation which was difficult due to isolation I developed and lack of sleeping and I was asking why all these happened to me. I was unable to understand a mature person who still having his/ her parents when mine left without knowing how they look like. . I thank the almighty God who preserved me up to these days. I thank those who brought for us these teachings here in our zone. Now, I feel good because I have come to speak out these things which gave me a grief in my life.

Manirambona Francine (from Buterere)

I grieved due to the loss of my father. He got sick and then, he ended up dead. After, his death, we faced hard times in our family because my Mother was very old. In order to get food, I was obliged to work on building construction as labor provisioning cement and bricks. During my adolescence, I got pregnant and the worse was that the boy who impregnated me denied our relationship. I lived miserably as my neighbors were speaking behind my back. Consequently, I developed a strong hatred against people because none showed love to me. I even had thoughts of aborting the pregnancy but my heart forbidden me that act . Until now, the father of my kid does provide any support. I even thought about suicide. During the workshop, I understood how much I’m traumatized following a list of symptoms I do have.

I’m glad to know that after a traumatic experience, life must continue. I commit to sensitize what I come to learn as many women need this. I’m thankful for this workshop because I feel released on my heart now as I was able to speak about what happened to me for the first time.

KAYOBERA CHANTAL ( from Bubanza

In my life, I was negatively touched by the death of my child. No one was able to understand his sickness. I went to the hospital and physicians did their best in order to save my child’s life. After some days, the child was dead. I stayed alone at the hospital with the cadaver and my husband refused to come and help me in that situation. I took the cadaver and returned home with it in my back. This frustrated me but what made me suffered a lot is the fact that my husband didn’t assist me even during the funeral of our child. After the funeral, I didn’t fall asleep, I couldn’t eat and I didn’t practically know what to do about that. I saw my husband as a killer and he really left me a big wound in my heart. He treated me as a stupid who had no value. I thank those who think about a program of these important teachings here in our zone. Now, I found myself in the 2nd part of Johari’s widow. I request that these teachings may be spread to the national level as I know that people suffering as I do are in the whole Burundi country.

NTAKIRUTIMANA ERIC

What made me suffer a lot in my life is my mother’s death that happened when I was still little boy during the 1993 crisis. After her death, my father got married to another wife.. Instead of lowering our suffering to forget our mother’s death, she increased it. My young brothers were always sick and I was obliged to carry them on my back taking them to the hospital. Our stepmother did nothing for us. We lived as orphans of both parents even though our father was there. We were always beaten by our stepmother without reasons. This situation developed in me a strong trauma that I have to isolate myself. My heart was wounded because of things I went through during my childhood. I have a lot of wounds of the past but I thank very much those who brought to us these teachings and allowed us to express ourselves in group of male alone and that of female alone. I was able to hear that I’m not alone who suffered. I was comforted by listening to those who went through difficult situations than mine