What do we tell our children?

My son is 22 years old. Quite often he asks me where his father has gone to. How do I tell him his father is the neighbour who killed my husband and raped me? What would it mean to him that I hate his father?

My daughter is 4 years old and starts to ask a lot of questions. Sometimes she asks me where the scars on my head come from. So far, I have told her I had a car accident, but I do want her to know our history. How do I tell her that people tried to kill me? What will she be able to understand?

My daughter is 22 years old. She has never met her mother and would like to meet her. How do I tell her that her mother serves a life sentence in prison for planning and committing the murder of many of our neighbours? What would be the consequence for her?

My son is 10 years old and would like to visit his grandparents, like his classmates. He asks me why he doesn’t have grandparents to visit. How do I tell him that his grandparents, together with 10.000 others, died when the church where they sought shelter was attacked? What would that mean to his trust?

7 April is the start of the 100 days commemoration of the 1994 genocide period in Rwanda. In 23 years, much has been rebuilt, but many questions remain.


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