My name is Safari Rutebeza Antoine. I am a 23 young boy currently studying Biochemistry at one of the secondary schools called College de la Charite. It’s a long story how I found myself confined in Nyarugusu refugee camp.
The civil war in Democratic Republic of the Congo compelled my parents to take me and flee to neighboring Tanzania with my young brother in early 2004. My story begins in the Uvira territory. Facing the invasion by rebel groups in this territory, my parents felt we were in danger of losing our lives.
I was at a very young age when we travelled on foot with a group of boys and girls orphaned by the civil war. One of many such boys I can remember is Baruani Eustache Ndume who later became the winner of ‘an International Peace Prize’. Here is the award link: www.kidsRights.org/baruani-ndume.
It took us three weeks to climb the tall rock mountains. Sometimes we climbed at night, with nothing to eat and obliged to sleep in very bad conditions. During displacement, many boys were lost, many fell sick, and many others died before we reached the peninsula of Ubwari. It was very scary! With this situation in view, my parents took a small boat and we crossed the Lake Tanganyika, before we arrived in Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania.
My family was excited for having saved my life. Living in the camp was of course at the time wonderful and horrible. This is because I found myself in a safe place where I could live with other children, but I couldn’t forget my tragic journey and had to think on it every time so I always felt upset and hopeless.
It was exactly during this period of many thoughts that Baruani told me about his SISI KWA SISI (Children for Children) program and later, RYENET. The process of adapting to RYENET was not an entirely smooth one. While my friend was by now something of a professional at adaptation, it was still a real challenge for me. One such challenge was fitting in on the RYENET team. But the encouragement techniques used by the RYENET became a source of much inspiration for me.
Thanks to RYENET, now I feel I am able to share with experts around the world new perspectives, opinions, and visions of what I believe is right for how to deal with and address the refugee challenges. I feel that I am able to discuss with peace lovers about how to put the idea of peace into practice while interacting with fellow youths in different countries who have the same enthusiasm in peace. It is my hope that through idea sharing, we will be able to implement plans focused on fostering peace in our community. Making our voices heard is just the first step for peace to happen.