Jenny Matthews

Butare, Rwanda

Consolee Mukalisa (41). During the 1994 genocide Consolee Mukalisa was attacked with a machete and raped. She says: 'On the morning of 18 April 1994, there was a feeling of panic in the Tutsi community. Everyone was looking for a place to hide. I preferred to go into the forest nearby but the criminals found me that very day. There were a lot of men, women, girls and boys who were practically all Hutus from the area and they all supported the Tutsi genocide. They put me in the front of a vehicle and drove me to the Rinda road. When we got there, they undressed me. They gave my clothes to a woman who was taking part in this attack. I did not take note of the genocidal criminals who did this to me as I am not from this commune. They hit me several times with their machetes and this is how my right hand was cut off as well as the fingers from my left hand apart from the thumb. I was also hit on the head and on the left leg with machetes and then I fell unconscious to the ground. This was at about 10:00 a.m. That evening, I regained consciousness. I was completely soaked because it had been raining a lot. I was so thirsty that I drank the rain water from the ponds. I tried to get up but it was impossible. How can you get up without hands? I dragged myself along the ground. When I arrived at my grandmother's house, I found it had already been destroyed. I stayed amongst the ruins. I did not see anyone. I spent the night there bleeding profusely.' Her brothers and her father were killed and after the genocide she lived with her mother. Eventually she married Paul (who married her in spite of his family and community trying to persuade him not to), she has three children of her own (the eldest is at boarding school), and cares for her nephew. Her right hand was operated on in Switzerland; the stump was split enabling her to pick things up.

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Jenny Matthews
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Butare
Country
Rwanda
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