Born on the run, the tale of an aspiring computer geek

Eric Ruzindana turns 19 on April 15. He was born in Kimisagara, Nyarugenge district.  For those familiar with the Rwandan story, it means that the lad, who lives in Rugarama cell, Nyamirambo sector, was born 10 days after the beginning of the100-day darkness that descended on Rwanda – the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Eric Ruzindana during the interview .
Eric Ruzindana during the interview .

Eric Ruzindana turns 19 on April 15. He was born in Kimisagara, Nyarugenge district.

For those familiar with the Rwandan story, it means that the lad, who lives in Rugarama cell, Nyamirambo sector, was born 10 days after the beginning of the100-day darkness that descended on Rwanda – the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The bespectacled teen says, as his mother told him that before he was born, life was even tougher to the mother, who also survived the Genocide that took over a million innocent lives.

With militias baying for blood like vampires, the expectant mother stooped around bushes, hiding every now and then until she reached the home of a family friend in Kimisagara.

The Good Samaritan reluctantly accepted to host her, but for only one night, since he also was afraid the Interahamwe militia would kill him for ‘complicity’ if they found her hiding at his place.

“My mother told me that she gave me life at 4am in that very home. She could not reach a health clinic for a decent delivery without exposing her life and mine to death,” said Ruzindana, a single child.

The well-wisher was under pressure of the militia who used to threaten to kill him.

He ended up sending the young family to St. André Church in Nyamirambo where they stayed until the Rwandese Patriotic Force (now Rwanda Defence Force) Inkotanyi came and secured them.

It was unfortunate that Ruzindana’s father, who, against all odds, had not abandoned the family, was no longer with them because he was killed a month later.

“I don’t know about my dad because he was killed when I was exactly one-month old on May 15, 1994,” says the ‘miracle child.’

Single parent

Ruzindana says in his early childhood, he was intrigued by the fact that someone could have two parents, he thought that everyone had one parent—a mother—just like himself.

“When I confronted my mother about this, she simply told me that, yes, I should have two parents, but she said my dad has since gone to heaven.

This was the same answer he had to contend with until her mother realised that Ruzindana could distinguish between good and evil, and then she revealed to him all the hell the family went through during the Genocide against the Tutsi.

The explanations his mother gave him oblige him to try to visualise out what the Genocide against the Tutsi could have been like.

He is different from some young Genocide survivors who get affected by what their elder brothers/parents narrate and happen to get traumatised.

“The day we found my father’s remains, which we took to Kigali Genocide Memorial for decent burial, I understood things were serious and I realised that the Genocide planners and executors were nothing but evil,” he said.

Dreams of IT

Ruzindana is a graduate of Senior Six in Mathematics and IT.

He is waiting for government to release lists of state-sponsored students and his dream is to pursue what he loves, Computer Science, at the National University of Rwanda.

He dreams of being an IT specialist with knowledge of latest technologies, so that he becomes a mogul who will create a better world through business.

He said he loves the way siblings share their worries, emotions and food, a chance he will never get because of the Genocide.

To the government, Ruzindana asks that they should make sure they are always positive and they involve the youth for noble purposes unlike the previous governments that drenched them in the bloody massacres.

Ruzindana says society should support Genocide survivors, listen to them and facilitate the healing process to those who are overwhelmed during the genocide commemoration period.

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