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Originally published at christiancommunity.org.uk.
Erika Akimana from Kigali, Rwanda, has been living in the New Humanity Mission Community since 1997, founded just a few years after the genocide. I interviewed her on what made her make such a commitment, and what a central African Christian community is like.
What is your community like?
We are 16 adults and 16 children. Half of the adults live with me and my husband Rukundo in Kigali, while the others live in a community house on the countryside. We come from both middle class and poorer class backgrounds, sharing all possessions and praying together every evening. Since 2013 we have a business, selling porridge, which some members from the Jesus Fellowship recently helped us with.
Why do you live like this?
I personally grew up in a divorced family and was very unhappy, I wondered why there were so many problems in the world. People are selfish, some are rich and others poor, there are orphans and divorce. I wanted to stop these problems, but I didn’t know how. (more…)
My heart is bleeding for the Congolese people. For the last fifteen years, they have suffered from the deadliest conflict since World War Two. Over six million people have died, and every day 1500 more join them because of the malnutrition and epidemics that follows the war. Half of them are children below the age of five. Tens of thousands of women have been raped by soldiers, since sexual violence is used as a weapon. And right now, the conflict is escalating because of the formation of a new rebel group, called M23. Its leader, Bosco Ntaganda, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and his nickname is “the Terminator”.
Three things especially disturb me concerning this gigantic humanitarian crisis. Firstly, people talk and act like the genocide in Rwanda is over, when in fact it just jumped across the border to Congo. Some of the Hutu genocidaires formed a militia named FDLR that is still active in the Congo. The M23 are Tutsis, so these groups want to kill each other, while they fight the government of Rwanda and the government of Congo respectively. The international community was criticized for lack of action in 1994, still they allow six million more to die.
Secondly, 90% of these people are Christians. Not only the victims, but also the soldiers who kill and rape and steal. How could the church fail to the point that its members started to commit these awful atrocities against each other? What happened to peace? What happened to love?
Finally, this conflict is financed by the phone I am writing this text on. The same is true for many computers, cameras and other electronic devices. You see, the conflict is concentrated to the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. These are extremely rich of minerals, many which are used in electronics. Rebel groups like FDLR and M23 take control over the mines and tax the workers to buy food and guns for their soldiers. This has been known for years, still the conflict mineral trade has continued to flourish.