Would you be able to befriend the person who killed your 9-month-old and severed one of your hands with a machete, leaving you for dead? Alice Mukarurinda did just that.
She'd been hiding in a swamp with her baby daughter when Emmanuel Ndayisaba and his companions attacked them both during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Waking three days later without her child or her right hand, Alice learned she had been rescued by a group of survivors, according to the Associated Press.
She was one of the lucky ones.
The 1994 genocide evolved from bitter ethnic violence between the south-central African nation's Hutu majority and their Tutsi counterparts. The devastating affront on human rights, which, on its 20th anniversary, still shames the U.N., according to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left the country in economic and emotional shambles. The massacre took more than 1 million lives, according to the AP.
Despite the physical and emotional trauma, Alice has come to terms with Emmanuel's actions. In fact, they work alongside one another in hopes of repairing the once broken and bitterly divided nation.
Alice is treasurer and Emmanuel is vice president of a reconciliation organization that builds brick homes for genocide survivors. They live close to one another and even shop at the same market.
"I forgive you, and may God forgive you, also," Alice told Emmanuel, a week after he fell to his knees apologizing for his acts of violence against her and her family, according to The Australian.
While Rwanda is far from forgetting the massacre that rocked the world two decades ago, significant steps have been taken in terms of social progress and economic prosperity, National Geographic reports. The country has also been successful in increasing its life expectancy while reducing its poverty rate, according to Women's eNews.
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