Wars and their effects affect us in a myriad of ways.
Adolpha Sekindi was a Corporal, hailing from the Nyarugunga sector. He was a farmer and had passion for the hoe, but when the war began in 1990, he replaced his hoe with a gun.
In 1994, Sekindi was shot in his legs and has been incapacitated since.
Though he lost all his family in the civil wars in the early 90s, he says he is happy with the way the government is taking care of him and together with other ex-combatants incapacitated by the war.
“I miss my family but that is what happened, life has to go on,” said Sekindi.
Paul Ngabonziza was also a corporal, paralyzed during the war in 1994. He too is happy with the care they receive from government.
‘We had been in the hospital since 1994 and life in hospital was not easy. The hospital is for sick people and though most of us have some disabilities we were not supposed to be there. But when I was told that the government is moving me from the hospital and giving me a house, I was overjoyed’, Ngabonziza recalls. ‘I now have my own house, and a house helper who I pay from the allowances I get from the government,’ he concludes.
For Sekindi and Ngabonziza, life is beginning to take a new sense of normalcy as efforts to enable them regain some independence are bearing fruit.
The government of Rwanda built 176 houses for ex-combatants through the Rwanda Demobilisation Reintegration Commission (RDRC).
According to Verra Mutesha the Assistant Provincial-Reintegration officer, the ex-combatants are divided into categories and this is done by the help of doctors who examine them to categorize them according to their disabilities.
Mutesha says that the ex-combatants are in categories, which include those who have special causalities like those who move on wheel chairs, and those with mental problems and these are the people that they first considered and they are the ones that they have reintegrated, adding that they have not only built them houses but they have given them training in different areas such as vocational training among others.
However she also said that in case one has a health complication and needs further treatment abroad then the government takes care of them.
Those without families, have been given helpers to look after them. For those with families, houses have been built for them in their home areas.
She also explained that the houses were built in a special way to enable those on wheelchairs move freely in the house.
Every thing in these houses has been designed according to the disabilities like the bathroom, and toilets.
These people are happy here because villagers come and mingle with them, talk to them and they are having some good time with the people around them.
Although life for Sekindi and Ngabonziza and the other ex-combatants will never be the same as it was before the war, their sense of independence will greatly enhance their hope and courage to face the future.