|The Avega widows, adoptive mothers to the orphans of the genocide|
Séraphine Kambu, aged 62, widow since the genocide, in the company of Innocent, her grand son, aged 7. Séraphine lives with her ten children under her roof : five of them are her natural children, the other five are orphans sheltered after the massacres, only two belonged to her family relations. Her grand son, completes the family.
As for many Tutsis of the district, Séraphine and her children sought refuge in the Church of Mugina. Close to 30 000 people died in the Church’s perimeter, sometimes within its walls. During the attack, five of her children immediately ran away. Seraphine was injured to the face by a sharp tree branch. Then a militiaman started to go fiercely at her with a machete. This man was a neighbour. Seeing her death coming close, she told him, not exactly knowing why: “Leave me alone! I want to be killed by someone I do not know!”. He stepped aside. Her four year old son, who she was carrying upon her back, did not get her luck, receiving several fatal blows to his head. Seraphine then lied down over her child’s body. At the end of the massacre, she crawled out of the Church and finally managed to escape and join her other cildren. In her course, she was caught again, raped, but still left alive. Regarding her eldest daughter, Marie, she suffered the same violences. Both are HIV positive. Seraphine lost the use of her left arm.
Her children are active, they farm the land and make the most out of a cow and her calf but often that is not enough to feed everybody. And rarely enough to buy the necessary drugs. Despite this, she never thought of sending her “new children” away. When she talks about the genocide, Seraphine paraphrases a sentence used by many Rwandese people : “Satan looked at the Rwanda, just after the genocide and immediately he declared that he could not have done that!”.
June 2005 – Gitarama - Rwanda.
© Pierre-Yves GINET
|Reference : Rwanda-2005-038|
Photograph 34 of 48
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