Ihahamuka

December 1st, 2011By : Gateway London

Why I’m Selling Chocolates This Christmas

Only 17 years ago, while my toddlers were safely playing in our back yard, approximately one million Rwandan’s fell victim to one of the most brutal acts of murder ever committed.

During the three months of killing, it is estimated that up to 500,000 women were traumatized by rape, 67% of whom were infected with HIV AIDS and 20,000 babies were later born as a result of these rapes. Additionally, 50,000 women became widows and 75,000 children were completely orphaned.

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Since, the psychological disturbance Ihahamuka has emerged as an unwanted part of their daily existence.

Ihahamuka, is a Rwandan term that literally means ‘without lungs’. It refers to acute shortness of breath triggered by fear, flashbacks and chronic traumatic grief. Nearly all of the survivors of the genocide did not have the opportunity to bury their loved ones, nor perform mourning ceremonies. As a result they have not been able to fully process their grief. To this day tens of thousands of Rwandans continue to struggle with Ihahamuka.

So what does this have to do with selling chocolates at Christmas? For the past three years I have worked closely with read more …

Written by: Elaine Olson

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