She enjoyed a peaceful childhood with her loving parents and three brothers. Education was very important in her household, so it was no surprise that she did well in school and went on to the National University of Rwanda to study electrical and mechanical engineering. This assassination of the Hutu president sparked months of massacres of Tutsi tribe members throughout the country. She began to pray the rosary as a way of drowning out the anger inside her, and the evil outside the house. Using only a Bible and a dictionary, she spent countless hours in that cramped bathroom learning her third language. She also found nearly one million of her extended family, friends, neighbors and fellow Rwandans massacred.

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Shelves: history , family , spiritual , religion , prayer , travel , autobiography , hagiography , psychology , crime I am human, and I think nothing of which is human is alien to me. This is a book which merits a second, even a third read. No, I did not become hardened or closed off to the immensity of the atrocity, but I was able to step back and notice new and different things which deepened my appreciation of this already amazing autobiography.

And on my first read, I completely missed the unique custom in Rwanda, where every family member has a different last name. What a beautiful legacy! And sadly, when the genocide was over, the victims—and even their rescuers—exhibited the same angry, vengeful desires toward those who had wronged them, as had been vented on them only months earlier. It is about so much more than death, violence, and hatred; it is about the triumph of love and forgiveness.

A sobering thought. It has been over eight years since I read this. Cannot remember if I loaned or gave away my copy of this book, but it is gone. Will share this and her other book with my daughters and friend who are going to hear her.

Stayed up late at night reading it. I paid for it the next day at work; I was so tired, but it was worth it. When she was confined with seven other women in a tiny bathroom, she used the time to pray, meditate and develop a rich interior life with God, which not only helped her endure her captivity but also laid a foundation for building a new life after the war ended.


Immaculée Ilibagiza

Rwanda is a tiny country set like a jewel in central Africa. The gentle breezes drifting down from the hills and through the pine and cedar forests are scented with the sweet aroma of lilies and chrysanthemums. And the weather is so pleasant year-round that the German settlers who arrived in the late s christened her "the land of eternal spring. As a young girl, all I knew of the world was the lovely landscape surrounding me, the kindness of my neighbors, and the deep love of my parents and brothers. In our home, racism and prejudice were completely unknown. In my village, young children walkedeight miles to and from school along lonely stretches of road, but parents never worried about a child being abducted or harmed in any way. My biggest fear as a youngster was being alone in the dark-other than that, I was an extremely happy little girl in a happy family, living in what I thought was a happy village where people respected and cared for one another.


Coming up next

Her first book, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust , is an autobiographical work detailing how she survived during the Rwandan genocide. She survived hidden for 91 days with seven other women in a small bathroom, no larger than 3 feet 0. The bathroom was concealed in a room behind a wardrobe in the home of a Hutu pastor. Besides herself, the only other survivor in her family was her brother Aimable, who was studying out of the country in Senegal and did not know of the genocide. She tells her story of survival immediately following the genocide she had lived through.


Left to Tell Summary

The book was published in , 12 years after the genocide that claimed one million lives in days. She grew up in a middle-class family that valued education, and she had three brothers. Her family was Tutsi. Tensions with the Hutu ethnic group, the majority, were present throughout her life, but rarely made her feel unsafe.


Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust


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