My name is Agnes Nyiragabiro. I am from Shyanda in the Gisagara District in southern Rwanda. I was married to Dominique Songa in 1985 and blessed with two boys. When the genocide happened, we fled to the main hospital of Kigali thinking that we would be safe in there. With the help of a nurse, we pretended to be attending “our sick children” in the pediatric ward and occupied some beds in there. Unfortunately, we were discovered as Tutsi. My husband was killed some days later there in the hospital. At home in Gisagara, my mother, two brothers and one sister were killed too.
After the death of my husband, I was separated from my kids. Some rescue organization had taken them out. I was taken to another place where I stayed for a week before being evacuated by the UN mission, which was in Rwanda during the genocide, to a safe area, Kabuga some 10 km from Kigali, the capital city. I was later told where my children were and came back to take them home. Surprisingly, I couldn’t recognize the youngest. He would not eat food that he was not used to and was suffering from malnutrition. That changed the way he looked to the extent that I couldn’t recognize him, my own child!
After the genocide, we moved in to our house which we had started building before the genocide, though it was not complete. Unfortunately, we faced threats from neighbors who did not want us to be around them, for fear that we may have known that what they did during the genocide and denounce them. They sent us a threatening letter covered with blood. But we did not move, God protected us there!!
As for my healing, I was blessed to be one of the founders of Shalom Ministries- Rwanda. This means that I started my recovery when we started praying in just a small group of widows. I thank God that He has used me as an instrument to provide comfort to other widows such as myself.
I went back to school, high school then University and got a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Tutsi students had been discriminated against and denied and education from the 60s until after the genocide in 1994. Now I am an ordained pastor in the Nazarene Church International/ Rwanda. My two children have grown up, and one graduated from university too. Praise God!