My name is Mukandoli Colette. I am from a family of 8 (3 brothers, 5 sisters). Unlikely many students from the Tutsi ethnic group at that time of “iringaniza” (the discrimination that prevented Tutsi students from going on with secondary studies) I managed to finish high school. Then I married Ruterana Jean-Marie Vianney.
During the genocide we fled separately, my husband and 2 boys went one way and were killed. The last boy and I survived. My 2 sisters who lived in Kigali also survived. My parents, 3 brothers and 2 sisters were killed as well as many people from my in-law-family.
Since we sometimes spent nights outside in the cold, my baby got sick with pneumonia, diarrhea and vomiting and I was afraid he was about to die. I decided that it doesn’t matter if he dies because his older siblings are dead. Fortunately, he did live.
When the genocide was over, I joined one of my sisters who lived in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.
Life was bitter; I had no reason to live. I hated waking up and did not take care of myself. Friends found jobs for me but I didn’t take them. I couldn’t see why I had to work, or what to use the money for since my kids were killed. When I did start working in 1995, I gave all my salary to my sister to manage. At that time, I was always angry, I didn’t want to talk or laugh. When I got a job, I worked hard but was kind of hiding and making myself busy so that I could forget what happened to me.
In 1997 I came to know Shalom Ministries though Mama Lambert, my fellow widow from the genocide. I liked it because I felt welcomed and understood. I enjoyed being in such a group of people, genocide survivors who could talk about what happened to all of us.
My healing has been slow but progressive. I can say that I felt healed in 2004, that’s when I said to myself that whatever happened, I have to enjoy the rest of my life. I thank God that at the end He blessed me. I went to university and got a degree in management. My son is an undergraduate student now. I also bought a house.