Bellamie Mungayinka, a 20-year-old woman and resident of Kinihira Nyagatare, narrates her ordeal with life after her parents divorced when she was only ten years old.
“I was depressed, my parents divorced when I was 10. I started living with different people in families, my mother, her parents were killed in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi. It was trauma on my side. My mother was affected to the extent that she had to get married at 14,” she shares.
When her parents separated, without an extended family, Mungayinka had to start living with her father who had then moved to Uganda and married another woman. Life with her step mum was hard, something that pushed her to seek solace in the hands of a young man who showed interest in her.
It wasn’t long till she became pregnant and at the age 19 she became a mother. Much as the father of her child was there for her and the baby (he married her) her father was against their union saying that she was too young to be married.
She had to move back in with her father and step mum and as before, things became hectic. She was left with no choice but to leave and come back to Rwanda.
“Mother had married another man and the man didn’t want her to bring her kids along). Where was I going to leave?” she wondered.
In the end she came and lived with her baby on the streets, which was very dangerous and hectic. Luckily her mother received her at last and she got a place to stay for a while. But she later had to move out and that’s when she moved to Nyagatare.
Surviving alone with her child wasn’t easy. She had to wash clothes for people or do other simple chores in order to earn some money.
“But in the middle of all that, I had this hatred in me, I didn’t like my mother’s husband because it was his community that killed my mother’s family. I wanted to kill him because these people had killed my family.”
Her mother’s story and past is another version that Mungayinka says affected her so much. “Mother went through hard times because of what those people did to her and I always felt like killing this man who was from their community. I was very depressed,” she narrates.
She was lucky to be a part of the Mvura Nkuvure project that trained youth and other people. They were trained on how to forgive, find solace and healing despite their past.
“They taught us to learn trust and forgive those who wronged us. In the process, we found healing, and today, much as I haven’t gotten where I want to be. I am in a much better place.”