Muhanga, 22 April 2009 (FH) - In his village of Kagitarama, in southern Rwanda, Joseph Twagirayezu, 28, a survivor of the Tutsi genocide of 1994, has started on his own initiative a household of four people, but could, if he had the means, adopt other young survivors.

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The final member of his new family, Jean, he took him in three years ago.

 "He [Jean] had neither roof nor anybody to take care of him, just like me after the genocide. He was finishing elementary school. Today, he is in third year secondary student, I am proud of him", says Twagirayezu.

 "As a good samaritan, if I had the means, I would take in others, because I know what it feels like when one is alone," he adds.

In addition to this adopted young man and a former neighbour, the household which directs and feeds Twagirayezu also includes his two brothers, including the youngest, 21, who has just finished secondary school, "without hope to go to university, because the work conditions did not enable him to obtain the necessary grades".

This family, without a father or mother, lives in one of the 33 houses which constitute the village for orphans of the genocide of Kagitarama, a step from the offices of the Muhanga district. In all, 131 orphans live in the village. Here, destitution and loneliness are present. Nightmares and other psychological disorders are often added to it.

 Like Twagirayezu, everyone in this village lost almost all members of their family. "Each day, and especially during April, I hear the rail of mine in anguish and their call for help", he says. "Each day, we are hungry and thirsty for love", he adds with tears flowing down from his bright eyes.

This head of household was 13 years old during the genocide and barely finished elementary school. The night of 22 to 23 April 1994, he was left for dead, his mother and his two little brothers, in the middle of a score of corpses, all members of his family. The father, two other brothers, two sisters, the uncles, the aunts; "the land of their village which had seen them born and fed; drank, that day, their innocent blood", recalls the young survivor. "My mother died later of her wounds, between the arms of the members of the Red Cross and I remained with my two brothers", he added.

He was himself wounded and the images of 1994 haunt him unceasingly. "At least once a month, my head inflates because of the blows which I sustained from attackers. To the slightest sight of blood, I faint", he confided.

In spite of these daily difficulties, Twagirayezu fights head on. His ambition is to become a lawyer one day to defend the poor and especially the survivors.

Thanks to a support from the Assistance Fund for Needy Genocide Survivors (FARG) and the Survival Fund organization (SURF), which built the Kagitarama village, and has given him a small job, while he continues to study law.

 "The crime of genocide is imprescriptible. Later, I will plead the cause of mine", he assures.


© Hirondelle News Agency