Their neighbour, whose name Christine does not remember, gave his word that he would hide her family of four. She thinks he tried, but her father and little brother were found in a separate part of the house. Her parents had split up in hiding, taking one child each. Maybe Christine heard the noise from their deaths, but if she did, it didn’t make sense to her; she remembers learning from her mother that the other half of her family had been killed. Christine was five years old and her little brother was three.

Her mother guessed their best chance at survival was to flee the neighbour’s house and head for the swamps surrounding them in Nyamata, a town south of Kigali where the famed, rolling hills of the north smooth lazily into pools.


Name changed to protect identity.