Left to Tell is Immacule Iligabizaâ€™s amazing story about her escape from mass murder during the 1994 Rwandan holocaust, which she accomplished by hiding out in a tiny secret bathroom for 91 days with seven other girls and women. During this period Iligabiza learned how to transcend her fear and physical suffering by communing deeply with God. Ultimately she experienced profound inner peace, grace and forgiveness — not in spite of her ordeal, but because of it.
This book is highly recommended. Iligabiza demonstrates how the harshest condition can be exploited to bring more light into consciousness. The translation of Iligabizaâ€™s name means shining and beautiful in body and soul, and she is true to it. At the end of the book Ilibagiza says "the love of a single heart can make a world of difference," and we are extremely fortunate to have Iligabiza as a role model for dealing with fearful and seemingly desperate conditions.
For purposes of better understanding Iligabizaâ€™s story, itâ€™s helpful to know that Rwanda is located in central Africa and is about the same size as the state of Maryland. The country has a total population of 9 million mostly poor citizens who live on less than $2,000 per person per year.
Two tribes dominate. The Hutus account for about 85% of the population and Tutsis account for about 14% of the population. Over a 100-day period in 1994, Hutu extremists killed about 1 million Tutsis. Iligabiza is a Tutsi. Her parents and two of her three brothers were killed in the holocaust.
Hutu Power was the call to action to exterminate the Tutsi cockroaches: Kill then, kill them, kill them all; kill them big, kill them small. At the start of the holocaust, Iligabizaâ€™s brothers begged her to stay with Pastor Murinzi because she would be raped and killed if the Hutus caught her. Murinzi agreed to hide Iligabiza and SIX other women, including a seven-year-old, in his tiny 4x3 bathroom.
The bathroom had a shower stall and a toilet, but no space for a sink and no space for the women to all sit at one time. Smaller girls sat on laps, and they all took turns switching positions every 12 hours. Even moving an inch was a major production.