Joyeuse Ndatimana is a genocide survivor. She was six when the genocide against the Tutsi occurred. She, like many survivors, lost the entire family and many of her relatives.
Life has not been easy where she lives in Kicukiro district on the outskirts of Kigali City. Due to despair, she gullibly opened up to a distant relative who had promised to help.
The first thing the assumed Good Samaritan did was to impregnate her only to abandon her later. Now she struggles to raise the two teenagers he left her with. Without a job, putting food on the table alone is still a challenge.
On Friday afternoon, Joyeuse Ndatimana couldn’t hold her tears when a group of well-wishers visited her and offered groceries and undisclosed amount of cash to push her for some good days.
Umubano Fitness Club members in collaboration with Ibuka had just paid tribute to the victims of the genocide against the Tutsis laid at Nyanza_Kicukiro Memorial site.
Part of their activity included supporting meeting and offering support to two vulnerable genocide survivors; Joyeuse Ndatimana and Claire Mutoni.
Umubano Fitness Club representative Patrick Rurangwa said that they organised this event to help people in need. “We as sportsmen think that even if we strive for healthy bodies, other peoples’ lives are also valuable. It is in this regard that we have decided to come here to visit the momorial and help our sisters. We are very concerned about those in trouble.”
In addition, Rurangwa said sports should not be thought as only a leisure activity, but that “we have to be flexible and help the friends in need.”
Naphtal Ahishakiye is Executive Secretary for IBUKA. He attended and offered a lecture and a testimony. He said, “it is an exciting thing to see a group of people agreeing to visit the genocide memorial and to help others who were seriously affected by the genocide.”
Participants visited the site where around 11000 bodies are laid rest. After being told about the atrocities committed to the victims, members laid a wreath of flowers on the cemetery.
Ahishakiye said the UN Peacekeeping forces abandoned Tutsis who had fled to Nyanza. They later would be brutally murdered. The cruelty was beyond imagination, said.
Ahishakiye testified that his grand father had been killed, but the killers were not satisfied, they came back, exhumed the body cut his bones into smaller pieces.
Meanwhile, after the testimonies, Umubano Fitness Club members handed in the groceries and spoke with the survivors and encouraged them to remain stronger.
Umubano Fitness Club is made up of between 100 and 150 members, who are all committed to doing sports for both leisure and good health, but who are also concerned about people in miserable life conditions.
Photos by Natasha Kamanzi