The first time she knew that she was different was in primary school. One day, her teacher instructed the children to divide themselves by Tutsi and Hutu. Some children knew what this meant. Among those who did not, she hesitated. After pause, she made her own choice and simply sat in the front row. This is where the best students sat on any other day. She sat because that is where she wanted to be.
Not every story I hear is a pleasant one.
During last month a neighbor—I’ll call her Tina—often came to visit me and her grandfather, who was the patriarch of my homestead. Tina is fashionable, very intelligent, and runs a cuca shop a few nights per week. She also attends church in order to help fill seats, as she puts it. Tina’s most boisterous performance occurred while I was writing a lesson plan in a small, hot room on the homestead. She began with a question to engage me, her captive audience.