New book details refugee stories of Abilene residents

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - There are about 3,000 refugees that now call Abilene home.  One woman is bringing those stories to life in a new book called Ten Cultures, Twenty Lives.  Author Daina Jurika-Owen, features a story about a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide.

As a child, Rwandan refugee Herman Kalinijabo said they didn't know anything about different ethnicities.

"Sharing everything, we were sharing even the language, we sharing the culture," Kalinijabo said.

But tensions between the tribes started to rise, and on April 6, 1994 the genocide began.

"I was 17 at the time I know that," Kalinijabo said.

Herman, a Tutsi, was living in a village outside the capital city. 

"We was innocent you know," Kalinijabo said.

He said his village was attacked on April 21st.

"They killed my dad on the scene there," Kalinijabo said.

He, his mother and five siblings fled after the attack.

"The killers were everywhere," Kalinijabo said.

Eventually the Hutus caught up to them and only Herman remained.

"I remember my mom tried to beg them to say please don't kill us but they killed them," Kalinijabo said.

After months of hiding, Herman said June 2nd, he was finally freed.

"You know if you lose your family member, you got time to cry but for us we don't.  so when we got free I was so confused," Kalinijabo said.

While he still struggles today, Herman said he feels God protected him in that time.  Herman has two surviving sisters and four children of his own. 

To learn more about Herman's story and the other refugees in the book you can purchase Ten Cultures, Twenty Lives on Amazon or at the Texas Star Trading Co.  Daina Jurika-Owen will also have a book launch party Sunday, January 21st from 4:00 - 5:30 PM at the South branch of the Abilene Public Library

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