August 22, 2006

Fleeing from Rwanda, "I never gave up hope"

When the Hutu militias came to his front door in Kigali, Rwanda, Damascene held them off so his pregnant wife could escape out the back door with his young three-year old son Derrick.

As Jeanne fled she saw her husband being beaten and she didn't know if he had been killed.  All she could do was save the children.
Two weeks later, she was in Brussels and a week after that she gave birth.

Damascene lost all 11 brothers and sisters, his parents and 140 others from his extended family.  He thought he lost his wife too.

Damascene fled through Africa to Indonesia, than to East Timor, then to Darwin, Australia where he told immigration officials his passport was forged.  They locked him up; he was safe. 

He reached Darwin in 2001, was released from Villawood as a temporary resident in 2002 and granted permanent Australian residency last year. He had not given up hope and sought Red Cross help to find his family.

They finally found her in Brussels. He flew to her in February. "Thank God, you're safe," he said. And: "Why didn't you find someone else?"

"Because I never gave up hope. And I could see you in your son's face." He replied: "Thank you. Thank God."

Once were lost, but family finally found.

Posted by Jill Fallon at August 22, 2006 9:12 PM | TrackBack | Permalink