In Search of an Old Friend

The other day Rwanda was celebrating her liberation day. This reminded me of a Rwandan family I met when I was very young. They had jetted into the country (Kenya) following the Rwandan genocide. There were several people who had been brought in and they were temporarily staying at the airport before they could be transferred to various places.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Courtesy of Wikipedia


My mom had been working at the airport as a nurse and this is how I met this family. A husband, wife and two children had found themselves safe when they landed in Kenya. After the ethnic clashes that struck Rwanda, it was everyone for themselves. People ran for safety  and an opportunity to leave the country could not be let to pass. The mom had carefully tied her son on her back and ran for safety. When they got to Kenya, they discovered that the whole family was safe.
I know you are probably wondering how I can recall all these yet it happened when I was only five years old. It also surprises me. Maybe it’s one of those events that happen to your life and stick forever. I can’t quite remember the names of the two parents. But I know the girl was called Sylvia and her little brother was called Manasseh. As kids you are mostly interested in other kids and not adults. Sylvia was almost my age. This drew my interest when mom mentioned about them.
I am the only girl, so I was supposed to give Sylvia some of my clothes. In addition to this, I was to make her balls. My brothers gave out their toys too. We would go visit them, play together, eat and pray. Sylvia and her brother were a bit jovial. Their parents were quieter and I think sad. It is only natural that such an ordeal would leave anyone shocked and scared.
They were later moved to a safe place where they used to stay. It was more homely. We would still visit them. After sometime (not sure of the duration), they left the country. They were able to establish contact with a priest who organized for their departure. They told us they were heading to Ivory Coast. That was the last time I saw them. They had become a second family to us and it hurt when they left.
My mom said she received a letter from Sylvia’s parent a few months after they arrived in Ivory Coast. Right now it’s so hard tracing it because we have moved houses twice. How I wish those were the digital era days!
I am not sure if I will ever meet this amazing people ever again. But wherever they are, it’s my hope and prayer that they are all safe and in perfect health. I still wish to meet them though.
Happy Liberation’s Day all the people of Rwanda Republic.

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