Vestine

Vestine was born into a family of eight children in 1979. Because of her mother’s previous experiences with genocidal killings (1959), she communicated that should anything bad happen again, that the family should hide in the nearby church.

Sadly, during the 1994 Genocide, while hiding from Hutu militia, her parents and four of her siblings were murdered in Nyamata Church. As the killers were hacking people to death with machetes, they believed Vestine was already dead. They continued their killings and piled bodies on top of Vestine.

Vestine heard the militia converse about how they intended to return to the church and set it on fire so they could insure everyone was dead. Vestine escaped the church that evening to seek refuge at a nearby orphanage. Upon her arrival to the orphanage, the workers told her the killers were coming to select all Tutsi children and kill them. She immediately fled and went to hide in bushes where she met other people who were also hiding. Along the way she met a family who told her to stay with them. Fortunately, they escaped and remained at a refugee camp until the genocide was over.

She returned to live with this same family in Kigali but her experience with them was not good. She was treated as a servant instead of treated as a child. She tried to return to school but of her experienced trauma, she could not continue and dropped out before finishing 5th grade.

Vesitne went to Kimironko, her mother’s birthplace, in search of any living family member where she met some of her mother’s neighbors who welcomed her into their home. Vestine also learned that two other brothers had also been killed.

She later married a young man from this same family but the marriage was not successful and in 2006 they separated. Vestine was left to care for her two daughters and for her sister’s two children.

Before coming to work with True Vineyard Ministries, she survived by doing odd jobs like carrying sand, bricks and other construction materials. The work was not consistent and it was very difficult for her to meet her needs of her large family. She believes that it’s a blessing for her to have employment and community at True Vineyard Ministries.