I hold little Kapusi close to my heart hoping that I can
give her some comfort. She is only one-and-a-ha1f years old but has already
suffered more than most people do in a lifetime. Kapusi was brought to
Chabalisa refugee camp here in Tanzania after she was found in a field sucking a
dead woman’s breasts. We don’t know if the dead woman was her mother. All we
know is that the little girl is now alone.
Kapusi is just one of many children among the 75,000
refugees in Chabalisa, one of 11 camps for Rwandan refugees in northwest
Tanzania. They have come to escape Rwanda’s four-year civil in which more than
1 million people have died. Violence between the feuding Hutu and Tutsi Ethnic
Groups escalated in April, 1994. Like all people in exile, the Rwandan refugees
long to return to their homeland. However, the situation is still too unsettled
there. The Hutus in our camp, for example, fear reprisals from the ruling
Tutsis due to the genocide by the Hutu militia. Though Rwanda is a Christian
country, the bad blood between Tutsis and Hutus is thicker than the waters of
baptism. Reconciliation will not be easy. I wonder if I could forgive someone
who had killed my parents, brothers, sisters and children.
There is hope in the fact that Rwandans have not lost
their belief in God. They seem to seek the God who forgives and comforts. We
who work with them must keep that faith alive, though it is like a seed growing
in the darkness.