Tuesday, April 20, 2010
A Widow's Song
On our first day in Rwanda, we had the privilege of meeting a widow named Therese who has been fighting a long battle to get her land back from her husband's family. As she begins to tell in this video, she went to court three times, and finally won her case. The family drove her and her children off of the land soon after her husband died. There was no where that she could go. There are not homeless shelters, or many options for someone who does not have a place to grow their food. To not have land is like a death sentence. Here in the video with her is the IJM social worker who keeps in touch with her, and makes sure that she has everything she needs. During the time when she was fighting for her land, IJM provided this rental home for her and her children. It has been a long fight, but she was within weeks of moving back onto her own land when we met, and has probably made the transition by now. She will be living near her husband's family, and said this will be difficult, but she will have a means to live and provide for her children, and IJM will keep in touch with her to make sure she is safe. While we were together, she sang a song for us. The video cuts off, but she continued to interpret for us how the chorus says that God provides morning, noon and night! She was generous in every way during our visit, sharing her personal story, and sharing tea and cookies with all of us. The government there has done many good things to document land ownership, and to provide education about land rights, so the IJM office is seeing fewer and fewer cases of land grabbing.