Family history

Mukangiruwonsanga Agnes & Ntamitondero Muneza Yves


Mukangiruwnsanga Agnes talks to Ntamitondero Muneza Yves about the history of his own name because he has been ashamed of it, and how their personal history and Rwandan history have shaped the naming of youths. She also shares her personal story growing up as one of ten children, and counsels Ntamitondero Muneza Yves on how to be a useful and meaningful member of society for a better future, with tips from learning to keep secrets, to developing a culture of peace.

Nyirasafari Leocadie & Mukiza Emmanuel


Mukiza Emmanuel has many questions for his mother, Nyirasafari Leocadie, about her life before and after the war. Nyirasafari Leocadie describes her schooling, marriage, and raising children, and the hardships the family faced while living in exile. Mukiza Emmanuel is also eager to hear stories about his father and the grandfathers he never knew. Nyirasafari Leocadie tells him the lessons she learned from her father.

“During the war, I was then young. I would like to know about life during the war.” Mukiza Emmanuel

Nyiransabimana Verene & Muhoza Desire


As the son of Nyiransabimana Verene, Muhoza Desire is curious about his mother’s past with his father. She is especially curious because Muhoza Desire grew up without his father. He passed away shortly after he was born. Nyiransabimana Verene loved her husband, and they became newlyweds when she was only seventeen. However, her beloved became sick with malaria and passed away when Muhoza Desire was only 5 or 6 years of age. Despite this, she continued to stay strong and raise her three children.

Mukagakwaya Beatrice & Muvunyi Olivier


Muvunyi Olivier has many questions for his mother, Mukagakwaya Beatrice, about how Rwandan culture has changed since her childhood. Mukagakwaya Beatrice provides descriptions of the courtship rituals in the past, dress and behavior during weddings, and the gender norms that governed women’s lives. She tells her son that women today are not as respectful of traditional cultured or their elders. She advises young people to be peaceful and content with what they have. Muvunyi Olivier welcomes his mother’s story and wonders about these traditions in contemporary society.

Nsabimana Jean Pierre & Zaninka Scola


Zaninka Scola was born shortly after her father’s death and only got to know her mother for a short time before she died. In this story, her elder brother Nsabimana Jean Pierre shares with her all that she wants to know about their parents: their marriage, their values, their care for them as children. His message to her is partly summed up in a Rwandese proverb that means, ‘no one shall receive what they have not earned.’ He also passes to her the legacy given to him by their father that they must always share what they have with others.

Nyirahabimana Consolee & Mukeshimana Godelive


Nyirahabimana Consolee tells Mukeshimana Godelive stories about the way young girls acted before she was born, drawing on her own life and the stories her aunts told her. They include everything from weaving, the to difficulties with accepting advice, dealing with mothers-in-law, giving birth, changing traditions about co-wives, and much more.

"I can’t confirm that all the poor take a wrong way which will cause them more pain because of poverty. So even the poor can keep their dignities in their poverty and finally get their own families." Nyirahabimana Consolee

Mukankubana Rose & Kwizera Jean Pierre


Mukankubana Rose tells her son about finding strength as an orphan, as a widow, and as a mother, and the secret to raising children in difficult times. Kwizera Jean Pierre is curious about the influence of their older family members, the hardest decision she had to make between education and the love she had for her family, and a book written by his uncle.

Habineza Pascal & Mwubahamana Shalon


Growing up as an orphan, Mwubahamana Shalon is curious about the life of other orphans and asks her uncle, Habineza Pascal, about how they live. She carefully listens to Habineza Pascal’s numerous experiences with taking care of orphans, as well as his advice. The story is full with Habineza Pascal’s aspirations for his niece and other orphans; to “do good things so that people around you will never see you in that image of being hopeless."

Mukagakwaya Beatrice & Murindahabi Canisius


Murindahabi Canisius's father died when he was too young to know him well, so he asks his sister Mukagakwaya Beatrice to share stories about their father, grandfather, and the ways in which they affected her life. Mukagakwaya Beatrice talks of her father hiding refugees in their home, the strength he inspired her with to survive as a widow, and even how he managed his farm and his favorite foods.

Nyirangendahimana Consolate & Muhire Noel


Muhire Noel wishes to know everything about the family members he was never able to meet, especially his great grandparents, and Nyirangendahimana Consolate tells him stories about each person. Nyirangendahimana Consolate shares a family history that includes her father's love of listening to prayer, lighting her grandfather's cigarettes, and drawing strength from her mother. She also reminds Muhire Noel that the most important thing is to learn to be calm, overcome conflict, and always believe the future is bright.


SEPTEMBER 2014 - Archival Science 14 (Nos. 3-4, 2014): 275-306. Available here


OCTOBER 2014 - Founder and Director Patricia Pasick, Ph.D. has been honored as a 2014 Purpose Prize Fellow which recognizes “outstanding social innovators over aged 60 who are working to change the world by finding solutions to challenging social problems.“

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