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Heart-breaking Story of Flood Disaster That Separated Baby from Mother

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
11:29 pm

Nteziyaremye Feza with his only child

May 2, 2023 was just another day in the life of a young couple of Nteziyaremye Feza and Mukamanzi Genereuse.

In the evening, Nteziyaremye, the husband returned home from his business as a small retailer of eggs and granuts in the adjacent Mahoko village-Kanama sector of Rubavu district.

His wife whom he used to call after their only son-Mama Dawidi was recovering from an illness and that evening, she was exhausted by the daily chores, a situation that called for the husband’s care.

“We had a few cooked beans at home, but I was quick to ask her: what can I prepare for you? And she suggested: please make me some irish potatoes,” Nteziryimana recalls.

“I hurried to the boutique on the other side of the road and paid Rwf 490 for a kilogram of potatoes, then sugar and Rwf 100 charcoal. I prepared the evening meal quickly and served my dear wife.”

On fateful day, he tried to reach a branch of this tree, in vain

The family went to bed, and made good dreams until 2.30AM when the husband woke up after the rain poured severely.

“I went outside and saw rain water flowing just normally and returned in the house when I heard heavy stones hitting hard the house. When I watched carefully, I found that it was the rain erosion carrying huge stones,” he recalls.

“I grabbed our six-month old boy, put him on the back and headed towards the exit, but the water had already become intense and my wife was calling for help. I opened the roof to try and grab a branch of a tree in the compound but I failed.”

At this level, Nteziyaremye returned in the house and the neighbours who had managed to escape the water from their house extended a long tree to them so that they could use it to escape.

However, a huge wave of water hit the person who was coming in rescue, and he let go the tree to save his life. The husband, his wife and their son fell desperately in the flood that was stuck inside the house.

In the ruins of the house he was renting.

Realizing that rescue efforts were failing, the man advised his wife to join him for last prayer.

“I told my wife let’s repent our sins because our time is close,” he narrated.

“When we finished, our house collapsed and my wife attempted to hold on the window, which fell down and the water carried her. This was the last time I saw her alive.”

Meanwhile, Nteziyaremye continued to struggle with the water, but he had forgotten that he had the baby on his back, until the clothe that he had used to hold him on the back loosened.

From that direction, floods invaded the house he was renting

“I tightened my child hard and we continued in that struggle until I crossed and rushed to the hospital with grief of losing my dear wife. I heard her crying as the water was carrying her, but I had no power to rescue her,” he said.

The water dragged Nteziyaremye’s wife whose body was found dead at Saint Pie X minor Seminary where floods also made several damages but did not register any fatality.

“When I saw her body, I knelt down and prayed to God while saying: Oh! Lord! You know how much I love her, but you love her more,” he said.

Nteziyaremye Feza(L) with the writer

On May 4, a government delegation led by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente drove to Rubavu, for the funeral where 13 victims, including Nteziyaremye’s wife were laid to rest.

They paid tribute to the disaster victims and comforted their families, while also providing relief support.

Nteziyaremye is concerned that he cannot leave his 6-month old child to earn a living and he does not know how his future as a man will look like. If he had a choice, he would run a mobile banking kiosk.

All photos by Moise Niyonzima, Multimedia-Kigali Today

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