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Monday, 03 May 2010 Written by Mathias Ngezahayo

Mathias NgezahayoMy name is Ngezahayo Mathias. Today I am 2nd Year Carpentry student at Father Vjeko Centre and I am happy 16 years old man with promising and bright future. It was not so easy since last year.  I shall tell you a story about my childhood.

I was born in 1994 at Nyagasozi village which is situated only 5km far away from Kivumu parish. I am the oldest child of my family. Unfortunately, my father died two days before I was born so I haven’t had any chance to familiarize with him.

Everything was fine until my age of 7. As the other children in Rwanda I started to attend first class of primary school when suddenly my mother gave a birth to a son. I got a sweet young brother but I wasn’t so happy. Many questions were passing trough my head while others were celebrating. I haven’t seen any man in our home, how she can be pregnant??? Without husband? Without man??? I worried but I kept quite. Few years later she gave birth to a girl and than a boy again. In a few words, I have two brothers and one sister and we all have different fathers.

Surprisingly, but I can say that my mother has some kind of luck. It is according some orders in our culture – If husband dies his wife is not allowed to give a birth in his house or land, except with some member of his family. Like with his brothers, for example. My father’s parents were already dead, and he had no brothers and I have only one aunt (sister of my father). So when my mother gave a birth to my other brothers and sister there were no one to shout and no one to chase her off from our home.

I had to quit primary school when I was in fifth class. I decided to leave a school because of conditions in my family. I was not safe at my own home. Most of the time spent there I was arguing with my mother. She wanted to have more children but without any responsibility of taking care of them and with different men who would not help her at all!

So I was the oldest man and I was the head of our family. I decided to find a way to earn some money and to be independent from my mother. I started with digging the beans. I sold the beans and with earned money I have bought two chickens. We call them pondeze – it is special type of chicken who produce more eggs than usual. That was my first step of being a small farmer. I was selling these eggs. It took a long time but I earned enough money (5000 FRW which is about 10 USD) to buy pig we call inkwavu. I was so happy when she gave me eight small pigs. I sold them for 36000 FRW (72 USD) and earned great money. I managed to buy two goats and I saved some money. With that balance I finally had enough to buy clothes and to start solving my family problems. From the time I started to have my own money I changed position in my family. From that moment relationship between me and mother was completely different. It is very common in all families that one who is working, earning money and contributing to the house budget also can make decisions and sometimes can say the last word.

So, as my mother needed me so much she had to listen and try to understand my opinion. From that time I succeeded to control her discipline and she had to consider and accept some of my advices.

Today she is fine. She is doing and behaving well and I can be proud when I call her my mother. Earlier I was ashamed to call her with that name. I consider that her to be a prostitute, and I was thinking that all people are mocking at me because of her.

After all those problems, finally I started to think about my future. But many years passed, and I couldn’t go back to primary school. So I decided to apply school at Father Vjeko Center. I was interested in carpentry section. You can’t imagine how I was happy when I got answer that they accepted my application!

I started listening classes last January. It was not so easy to get accustomed in new environment. Because of my childhood I didn’t like crowd and the people who talk too much. The school was always full of students and there was always noise and loudness. On the begging I was sad and I felt very bad but today I am completely accommodated. I am really happy learning for my new career and with friendship and I share experience with other students and teachers.

Translated by:
Edited by: Valerie K. K.

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