|The Avega widows, adoptive mothers to the orphans of the genocide|
Eugénie Nyiraramba, aged 68 and her eldest daughter, Xaverine, aged 29. her husband and hine children were killed during the genocide, some of them within the Church of Mugina, as for the 30 000 people who died in its perimeter. Eugénie and her children, survivors, did the same as most survivors from the massacre and fled towards Kabgayi, centre of the diocese, so as to place themselves under the bishop’s protection. In her escape, she then lost Xaverine as well as one of her sisters. Half-way on the route to Kabgayi, the group of survivors met with the militia. The group was locked up inside two houses. As the interhamwe barricaded the issues to the first house, from the second, Eugénie understood that they were going to be burned alive. She managed to dig up a breach and the children were able to escape. She never saw them again. Caught while she was still inside the house, Eugénie was considered as mad. They undressed her so as to ridiculise her and let her free, naked. The others were all killed before her eyes. As for Xaverine, she was able to reach Kabgayi directly. Once on the site, at the interhamwe militia’s arrival, the bishop asked the refugees to leave his Church, in order not to “dirt the building, the Church being worth far more than their lives.”. This bishop has since then disappeared from the country. A minority of these refugees has survived. Xaverine and her sister are part of them, Eugénie’s only children to have survived.
The two orphans sheltered by Eugénie are her grand children, one of them was found at Gitarama, not far from his mother’s dead body, maculated by machete blows. “When I saw her, my first thought was to regret that she had not died more rapidly, rather than suffering as she must have suffered.”.
Xaverine is today the mother of a five year old child.
June 2005 – Gitarama - Rwanda.
© Pierre-Yves GINET
|Reference : Rwanda-2005-053|
Photograph 37 of 48
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