GASABO - He was an ordinary Rwandan but managed to save as many as 332 Tutsis during the Genocide. And many of those survivors recall and appreciate the generosity of Pastor Gratien Mitsindo, who despite the unfriendly conditions, saved their lives.
In appreciation, many people he rescued from bloody thirsty Interahamwe militias showered him with gifts this week.
The Kinyinya church pastor officially received a cow worth about Frw 800,000 from MEMOS-Learning from History during a function held at Gatsata ADPR church on Tuesday.
At the same function, he was awarded another hybrid cow and a motorcycle. The event attracted different people including some those he saved during the 1994 Genocide.
“I have given you a cow,” said Eugène Ndatimana, who added that the pastor had become his father and part of his new family after losing his own in the 1994 Genocide. He said that Mitsindo had helped him get a wife and now has a stable family with children.
Another person, Emmanuel Habakurama said: “Because of the good heart the pastor showed during the Genocide, he cannot go by foot, I will buy him a motorcycle.”
Faustin Bismark Murangwa, the Executive Secretary of MEMOS, said that recognizing such people was a responsibility towards building a strong and balanced society.
“During the Genocide, Tutsis were targeted but there were some Hutus who did not want to separate themselves from the hunted and some of them died in the process,” Murangwa said.
He said that God could not allow the devil to stop his purpose for human beings and used people like Mitsindo to save lives.
He added that his association has embarked on a campaign both in the country and elsewhere to create awareness of the Rwanda Genocide.
Murangwa said that many people were not able to do what the few heroes did, adding that there were few individuals who saved people without expecting benefits.
“Some misused the meaning of rescuing when they saved women to be used as sexual instruments while others saved them because they needed money from them,” Murangwa explained.
“We cannot afford paying Pastor Mitsindo for what he did because he lost and suffered a lot in the process. We thought of giving him a cow as a sign of support for him,” Murangwa said.