Colletta Survives, then Thrives

01May

Colletta Survives, then Thrives

The shrill screams of terrified women and children filled the air, as sharp cracks of gunfire pierced the darkness. The village was under attack. Frantically clutching her children, Colletta Barigendera bolted for the safety of the bush. When they finally reached a place of safety, she realized that her husband was not with them. In the panic of the attack, he had fled in a different direction.

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01Mar

A Fish Sister

Many Westerners know something about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, when 800,000 people were slaughtered during three months of ethnic cleansing. Very few, however, know that the Rwandan genocide fueled two major wars in the neighboring nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The second war, which began in 1998, involved seven foreign armies, and it directly and indirectly resulted in the deaths of 5.5 million people. That made it the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II, yet it has been largely ignored by the rest of the world, a hidden holocaust that is not over yet.

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01Jan

Mama Jeanine Under Roof

Outside in the darkness, rain was descending in torrents, pelting the tin roof of my hotel room with a roar. As I lay under a mosquito net on my cushioned bed, I could only think of Mama Jeanine, her children, and their mud house with no roof. I had met Mama Jeanine earlier that day as she was working in a field outside her home village of Mabayi, in Burundi's Rugombo Province. She was helping nine Christian friends hoe a plot of ground that they jointly owned, courtesy of a group micro-loan from Heaven's Family. I learned that she was a widow with five children, and that her actual name was Magdalla Uwimana, but that everyone had been calling her Mama Jeanine since the birth of her daughter, Jeanine. I also learned that she was not a joint owner of the field like the others, but that she always helped them, because together, they looked out for her and her children. They had, in fact, even built her a house.

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01Jul

Irene’s Dream

Irene Wangeshi never knew her father. She was raised in a Kenyan village by her impoverished single mother—who tragically died when Irene turned fifteen. Irene's grandmother, with whom she lived after her mother's death, died shortly after Irene graduated from high school. With no living relatives remaining, Irene found herself alone and destitute. She moved to the capital city of Nairobi where she found a job working for a wealthy family as a house maid.

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