Dear President Paul KAGAME,
My name is Daniel SIBOMANA.
I am 32 years old.
I decided to write this letter to you for two main reasons:
- I have a confession to make
- I need to express my gratitude to you
First of all, Mr. President, allow me to address to you a delayed “Happy Birthday!”, wishing you all the best for the coming years.
I actually express this wish every 23rd October ever since I came to know it was your birth date which happens to be my own birthday. And it’s from there that comes the confession I have to make.
But before I get to that, I have to let you know that I am a recovered drug addict and my ability to overcome drug abuse came directly from the little story I am about to confess about. From there, you will get to know how, without your knowledge; you saved my life…Twice!
Mr. President, the first time you saved my life was when back in 1994 the RPA – Inkotanyi soldiers you were heroically leading stopped the Genocide against the Tutsi. With my mother and my two sisters, I miraculously happened to be the one male survivor in my close family after my father and my young brother were killed by the Interahamwe.
I can’t thank you enough for saving my life back then as you did for so many Rwandans. I can only wish you lots of Divine blessings.
After I survived the horrors of Genocide, though, I couldn’t complete my “mourning process” which I didn’t understand what it was about back then, so I couldn’t move on safely with my life.
That’s how I fell in the trap of drug abuse trying to find some reassurance. I have been seriously affected by that illness for almost 9 years since it literally blocked my life and almost killed me. I had lost hope and I ended up actually wanting to die until it came to my knowledge that I shared the same birthday with my Hero.
I realize this is simply a coincidence but for me, back then, it meant much more than that. “Drug addiction” being not only a physical but also a mental illness, I made up a story in my mind where I confess and apologize to have used your figure.
I imagined a scenario where I was randomly invited with some other Rwandans who share your birthday to one of your birthday parties and where by the moment of handing gifts to you I had told you I had no other gift than thanking you for saving my life and a promise to be a good citizen. In the scenario you shook my hand and told me I could make it! I believed so much in this that I actually ended up telling the story around as if it had really happened.
I’m sorry for that abashed lie.
The thing is, Mr. President, believing so much in this lie lead actually to how you saved my life for the second time which is why I need to express my gratitude to you. Someday, you used my name “SIBOMANA” in one of your speeches which contained a message related to the fact that “…people are not God!” which is the exact meaning of my name. It captured my attention so much that I started listening to all of your speeches as much as I could.
Then you started so wisely to tell us about “Mindset”, and about “AGACIRO” and how no one other than ourselves can value us. That’s how you opened my eyes! I realized that I could actually “make it!” as you had told me in my scenario.
That’s when I went to a detoxification and rehabilitation center and successfully completed a healing program. It’s been a year and half I’m clean now.
I’m trying to get my life back and rebuild myself as much as I can. I was able to go back to school and I gladly graduated with distinction from the National University of Rwanda. My graduation happened to be exactly on my birthday last 23rd October 2012.
Another simple coincidence, maybe, but again with more meaning to me. So I made another little scenario in my mind where I said when my name was called “Thank you Lord!” and right after “Thank you Mr. President!”
Mr. President, I owe you that much.
And that’s why I’m trying to share my testimony and my message around the country and as far as I can reach to make Rwandan youth and others realise how bad drugs can be to their lives and wellness but also to let them know there’s always a way out once they set their minds properly and decide to make it to success!
A Rwandan drug-free generation is my dearest vow and my priority “Vision”. My wish today, Mr. President, would be to have a real handshake from you so that I can thank you in person. Until my dream comes true I wish you again all the best and express to you my deepest gratitude for the wonderful direction you are giving to our country. You make me so proud to be Rwandan!
God bless you, God bless Rwanda!
*On the pictures above, mine was taken by pure coincidence by a friend of mine and happened to be from the same angle. This rejoiced me as well!