I heard children cry, women scream
and men weep.
My country was no longer the land of
1000 green hills but that of
1000 red hills.
It was no longer a country of beauty
But one of sorrow.
Full of hatred and suspicion,
Full of blood flowing all over,
Full of impunity and ignorance,
and full of destruction and separation.
Tears were our motto,
and misery was our status.
We were put to pain and shame,
We were called snakes and cockroaches,
Brothers were hacked
And sisters were being rapped.
There was no hope.
No hope for tomorrow
And no hope for a bright future.
It was all about 100 days of bloodshed.
And yes, all this was planned
And it happened in the blink of an eye.
But look, the children are playing,
I can see the women leading,
And men hardworking.
We are rising from the ashes they had left us in.
We are building a strong, peaceful and powerful nation
One that has liberty and integrity,
Unity and prosperity
And above all — democracy.
Rwanda you shall ever shine,
And your light of peace shall never fade.
Rise and shine motherland,
For we, the light and the strength, foundation and future leaders
Stand to make you a better place with no more darkness.
And yes, united we stand and say,
Nta muhutu, nta mututsi ndetse nta mutwa
Twese turi abanyarwanda,
(There is no Hutu, No Tutsi, No Twa. We all Rwandans. We will never betray the pact again.)
The writer is a 13-year-old
Senior Three student at Lycée de Kigali.