Sun. Jul 5th, 2020

EDUCATION: A night Claudine spent at Claude’s marked the beginning of mothering a fatherless baby

Students have a lot of activities to accomplish and challenges to face on their education journey (PHOTO/Net)

By George Kalisa

Cumulus clouds were gathering for a meeting in the skies of Rubavu city. All students, carrying their luggage, were running to the taxi park to catch up with the highly demanded taxis to different parts Rwanda. Rain was not kind that day.

Residents kept indoors and traffic was at its highest. All schools had closed and services halted including cuisine and hostel.

At the taxi park, most students were stranded, dumb lipped. Anxiety and confused reigned as dusk fell. The more twilight continued to reign the more hope of returning home faded.

The 17-year-old Claudine was one of many who narrated tear-jerking stories 10 years later. Scarcity of taxis is to her a scapegoat. She had no single penny in her wallet with her last coin spent a week before on pens for writing her exams.

It clocks 10pm, the taxi park is clear of traffic and unrest filled up Claudine’s head. “No money, no phone and family nearby?” such stuff preoccupied her mind as it gave way to endless questions whose answers were not about to be found.

A quarter to eleven, one Claude appears and they caught each one’s eyes. Besides being a handsome youth in his early thirties Claude was soft-spoken, approachable and wore innocent looks.

“Praise God,” Claude greeted

“Amen,” replied. Immediately, she recited her problems to a very attentive man.

To all the seven questions Claude asked her “Yes” was the answer.

“Can you trust me?” “Can you sleep at my house to night?” “Can I give you transport?” “Can I give you some money?” “Do you mind some skewers of goat meat and beers (…)?

After exchanging pleasantries, they walked hand-in-hand a 300-metre stretch to Claude’s house. A few minutes they were underneath the bed sheets. Repeatedly raped over the night!  In the morning, Claude requested her to keep whatever happened to her under her hat and promised death as a punishment for dishing the dirt. He gave her Rwf4000 as fare to her home.

Several years later, Claudine learned that Claude was a serial defiler who had escaped many cases for “lack of concrete evidence” Her parents told her they did not have money to look for her and her fatherless baby and she has not traced Claude to date. She lives at Nyabisindu in Kigali with regrets of her past.  

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