Thursday, 23 April 2009

Another Research Trip to London - Tuesday 5 May

We have arranged to meet Tony Ojorio on Tuesday 5 May in London. He imports Ugandan food products - good research for Illuminee's business.

We will also meet Ignatius Mugabo, Chairman of the Rwandese Community UK for a first meeting about the possibility of a book about Sine Gerard, the producer of akabanga chilli sauce and many other items in Rwanda. This man is an inspirational Rwandese entrepreneur.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

African Food Research

We went to London on Wednesday 15 April to research Ugandan food importers for Illuminee's business, with help from the Rwandan Embassy. We also had lunch at a very good Ugandan Restaurant in Hackney

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

New Times Report - Rwandan Genocide Commemoration London

The New Times, Kigali included a report on the Rwandan Genocide Commemoration held in London on 8 April. The news item included a summary of the key points of Illuminee's testimonial. Click this link read the report

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Evening News - Business in a Box

In February, Illuminee entered a Norwich Evening News business competition called 'Business in a Box'. She did not win, but her business story was picked to be included in a feature about the competition. Click her to read the feature.

Henry in Rwanda posts comments about Miracle in Kigali

We spotted a blog today via Google Alerts from a student called Henry who is in Rwanda. He had some very positive comments about Miracle in Kigali. Have a look at is entry on 8 April,

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Rwandan Genocide Commemoration - London 7 April

Illuminee gave testimony as a survivor at the London Commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the 1994 Genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda on Tuesday 7 April. Her speech is in the previous entry on this blog. The Commemoration was organised by the Rwandan Embassy and also included speeches from the Rwandan Ambassador, His Excellency Claver Gatete, Brigadier General Frank Rusagra and Nemat Shafik, Permanent Secretary of the Department of International Development (DFID).

Fifteen candles were lit by young Rwandans living in the UK, a symbolic representation of each year of peace in Rwanda since 1994.

A documentary by Nick Hughes called Roadblock was shown featuring footage of people being killed at a roadblock, taken by Mr Hughes during the Genocide, and the stories of those who survived the roadblock. More information about the film here

Ambassador Gatete launched 'The One Dollar Diaspora Campaign' in support of Genocide orphans in Rwanda, aiming to raise $200,000 in the next 100 days - the length of the Genocide in 1994.

Illuminee is pictured with Brigadier General Rusagra at the reception which followed the Commemoration.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Illuminee's Speech Rwandan Genocide Commemoration

This is the speech that Illuminee is making at the Rwandan Genocide Commemoration in London on Tuesday 7 April.

Your excellency Ambassador Claver Gatete, ladies and gentlemen.

It is 15 years since the Genocide. It sounds a long time ago, but for survivors it can seem as if it was just yesterday. What I mean is that our wounds and scars are still with us. If anything touches those scars it hurts. It reminds us of our experiences in 1994.

I was brought up in Gacuriro Kigali, and married my husband John on April 3 1994. We were living in Nyakabanda. I lost John on May 10, just a few days after our son Roger was born. I like many Rwandans also lost members of my family and close friends.

All survivors have different stories to tell. It was a miracle, that my son and me survived in the chaos of Kigali. I was helped by Rwandans with a kind heart who hated the bloodshed.

I even joined the exodus to Zaire, and possible death from cholera in a refugee camp and was lucky to be turned back on Mont Kigali by the RPF. Those RPF soldiers who appeared out of the early morning mist on Mont Kigali will be my heroes for the rest of my life.

I moved to England in 1996 and live in Norwich with my son Roger. I would not be here, now, if it had not been for the help of many NHS doctors and nurses, who helped me through troubled times, along with the support of my family and friends.

I chose to expose myself, to be naked, in a way, and told my story in the book, Miracle in Kigali. I would like to thank my co-author Paul Dickson, and The Tagman Press for making my dream come true. I would also like to thank Ambassador Gatete for his support.

But why did I want to open myself up in this way?

It was first of all medication to help myself get better, to see if I could be healed.

Secondly it was to help ensure that what happened cannot happen again.

Thirdly to give the message of hope for the future especially the next generation of Rwandans.

A lot, has happened to Rwanda and Rwandans, in the last 15 years. For we survivors it is a long journey. We try to forgive but we will never forget. We will never be the same again, but we can keep going. We will not turn the clock back, but we can look forward.

My message to survivors is to take our time, appreciate our lives and not to be ashamed about the past, and what happened to us in 1994. It was not our fault. Try to work for a better life for you, your children and their children.

Some people say that there was no Genocide and keep saying it. But my story and me are living testimonies to the fact that the Genocide took place in 1994.

I red in the New Times that survivors have been killed who testified at a Gacaca court and that people have attacked the Gisosi memorial.

These people who do these things may think that they still have power, but they need to face their own demons, and then they can meet the angel.

Finally, my message to all Rwandan, survivors, at this difficult time of year – try to care and love yourself, be strong, have hope and move forward in your life.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

DFID Fighting Poverty Website

The Department for International Development has created a website to mark 15 years of UK support in Rwanda since the Genocide

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Rwandan Genocide Commemoration - UK

Illuminee has been asked to speak at the Commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the 1994 Genocide, organised by the Embassy of the republic of Rwanda UK. The commemoration is being held at the Royal Horseguard Hotel, Whitehall Court, London at 3pm on Tuesday 7 April.