Rwanda’s children of rape are coming of age — against the odds. – Washington Post

“There were 2,000 of us,” he says, “with different backgrounds and different stories. Other people had struggled more than me.”

At age 17, he learned about his father.

The man returned to Rwanda years ago and was sentenced to life in the Mpanga prison, about 30 miles north of the family’s land. Albert wonders what it would be like to meet him. He hasn’t worked up the nerve.

“It shocked my heart, the way my mother met him,” he says.

Still, Albert says: “I don’t think he is inhuman. I want to see his face.”

The orphanage in the northern city of Gisyeni gave Albert an advantage. Public funds covered his educational expenses. He tested into the country’s top-ranked high school. He got a perfect score on the Rwanda equivalent of the SAT.

One warm February afternoon, Albert sat across from a college adviser at a Kigali company called Globe Education Consult, which helps Rwandan students get into international schools. Albert had put on his khakis and taken the bus there.

“With your grade, it’s going to be much easier,” Godfrey ­Nkurunziza said, grinning. “It gives us a picture of how you would perform in school.”

Albert wanted to apply to colleges in the United States and Canada. He had no strong preference, just a desire to explore.

Nkurunziza told Albert to budget between $10,000 and $20,000 a year for housing, books and tuition. They would hunt for scholarships, of course.

Just one thing first …

“To apply with us,” Nkurunziza said, “bring in $200, for the application fees.”

Albert slumped forward. He didn’t even have the bus fare — about $5 — to get back home.

But the world had carried him this far. He would nudge a friend to lend him some cash. Then he would return to the house and his glossy pamphlets.


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