A Testimony from a HROC Training in Burundi

Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) regularly holds workshops for university students and vulnerable youths. Here is a testimonial from one participant.

Diane from “Kora iciza” organization

I was born to a second wife of my father. This was due to the fact that his first wife didn’t gave birth to the number of boys that my father wanted. From this second wife I’m the first born and a woman. It was a serious disappointment to my father to see I was not a boy. Since then, my father never cared about me as a daughter. My mother was mistreated day and night, regretting why she had married him. Only boys had a place in my father’s mind. I asked my mother why things were that way. She told me that he never been proud of me as he expected to have a boy from her and was not the case. When I learnt about that, this made me a nervous female and a frown was constantly on my face for long time as I observed the level of love my father expressed towards my two young brothers. I was very angry at him and at myself. My question to God was why had he given me a father like this one?

I grew up in this situation without having fun with my brothers as I kept quiet and very serious. My mother tried her best to approach me when my father was out or visiting his first wife as she understood my behavior and its source. My father didn’t live very long. He died relatively young and I never cried the day of his death. As I grew up, I questioned myself more and more why he died when I was still a little bit young. I felt I should have asked him why he refused me to give me the love of a parent. I went on even blaming myself about his death without having asked him why he mistreated me that way. It’s nowadays that I start to cry for him and feel pain when I think about him and cry.

I struggled to accept getting married as I had a bad image of all men in my mind thinking that they are the same as my father. I’m proud that I have a husband totally different from my father. For him, any child is a blessing from God, be it a girl or a boy. This started to console and comfort me in my life. When taking care of patients in different hospitals, it’s rare to see me taking care of men. My compassionate heart was dedicated to females and mothers who gave birth to females. I kept in my mind that those groups need more attention. Today I have come to understand what the reality is: what I went through affected me deeply and affected even my life style and decisions.
From now on, I will take care of anybody and any strange behavior that should be expressed to me from any patient either man or woman. I will know that may be, what he or she is going through or went through in the past makes him or her behave like that. I will also use active listening to patients because I know they need it.

Briefly, I appreciate HROC Program teachings. It’s really suitable for people who have been through painful situations related to any kind of violence. Through it, I discovered how deeply I’m affected by what I experienced and its consequences. It even gives me an opportunity to express my emotions and pain. Since the session of the empty chair, I began to feel release from my emotional burden.

Thank you for listening to me.