Saturday 16 June 2012

My Father, Maker of the Trees, 2009: How I survived the Rwandan Genocide by Erik Irivuzumugabe with Tracey D. Lawrence ***

This book narrated by Eric Irivuzumugabe a Tutsi genocide survivor and written by Tracey D. Lawrence. This is a non fiction. It is not a novel as you may expect, it is a narrative. It is the story of a Tutsi boy (Eric) in Rwanda and his family, how they were persecuted by the Hutus and ended up victims of genocide. Eric miraculously survived with other few members of his family by hiding for 15 days on a cypress tree. This book narrates how he surrendered his life to Christ and ask him for redemption and forgiveness for those (Hutus) who have taken away what most he loved on earth.
Eric narrates about his spiritual healing after a very evil (if evil is bad enough to describe it here) experience, how he got the courage to put his life together and move forward instead of falling apart. How he was able to unburden the grudges from his soul and install love, the love of Christ that made it possible for him to forgive those who intensely hated him and slaughtered his family.
This is a book written in a very christian religious way, it is about forgiveness and the love of Christ. On each step of his spiritual healing he quotes verses from the bible that helped him.
This is an easy read, I read it in 3 or 4 days if not less. I have to admit I was expecting a novel, maybe something like a A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, but they are totally 2 different book written from different perspectives, that was why it received 3 Stars. I learnt a lot from this book that I felt an urge to investigate about Rwanda and the 1994 Genocide that took place, leaving a  death toll of over a million which made it the most killed per day in any war of history to date, no enough medical aid to tend to the sick, nor was there counselling available to help with their hidden wounds.The genocide left 120,000 Rwandan children without parents making it the country with the largest orphan population of any country. This is a book about a spiritual healing. During Eric spiritual healing he said the following that I so much love and I have always held unto for a very long, reading it from him reinforces my ideology "Most people would say that persevering through a problem made them a bitter person, but one must make a conscious choice to see it as an opportunity to grow instead of allowing a bitter root to take over"
I recommend this book especially if you are spiritual person or a devoted christian or going through any  process of forgiveness or just want to know a bit more about the 1994 Rwanda genocide. I also recommend this book if you are interested in knowing more about genocide and peace.


  1. I agree wholly Mary, it is essential for anybody to gain an understanding of the genocide. Damn, it was less than twenty years ago since the atrocities in Rwanda. If I get time I will read the book, it looks interesting, I know about the happenings in that genocide, Tutsi vs Hutu etc, but would like to learn about the people affected by it all. Was this book about somebody who was a victim during the war?

  2. Hey Oscar,
    Yes this book is about somebody who was a victim of the Rwandan Genocide, a survivor of the genocide. For you not to be disappointed I have to tell you that this book is not as you may expect. It is not a book that should be considered a story from A-Z, it is a spiritual healing book, some sort of bible. In the first few pages Eric told the story of how his life was before and during the genocide. The rest was the spiritual healing he received from Christ after experiencing such an unacceptable atrocity.
    If you would like to learn about the people affected by the Rwandan Genocide, for sure this is a book you should read, or there is another one I haven't read yet about a woman one of the genocide survivors, I think it is good, its name is "Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust" by Immaculee Ilibagiza. Search for her on youtube, she was interviewed on an international TV some time ago (BBC or CNN.

  3. I read the Shadow of Imana by Veronique Tadjo, a fiction based on observations and true accounts of the genocide. This one will be interesting but its Christianisation will make some people look at it twice.

  4. Nana.. I love Novels but when it is so Christianize and so spiritual I don't consider it a novel anymore. I consider it some sort of Bible or holy book. I will look into it, but if it is as Christianize as My father Makers of the Trees, I will rather read it some other time. But I will still search for the book. Thanks.

  5. In Eric, Christ has found expression. Many Rwandans are learning and teaching us first hand that love first changes itself if it is to change anything at all. It was in the love of the Father for the world that the incarnate Son found expression; and it is the same for Eric and for you and for me. As we participate in the love of the Father we become agents of the redemption and change that is in His Son. God bless Eric and his new family, Mugabo, and the few others that remain.

  6. In Eric, Christ is finding expression. Love is not love if it is not first its own change. This is seen in the incarnation of the Father's love, the Son putting on our humanity that we might put on His. By this mercy is Eric changed and changing, just as forgiveness begets forgiveness. May God bless Eric and his family that remains.


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