Jenny Munezero was two months old the night the soldiers attacked, and the only one left alive in her family’s house. “To this day nobody knows why I wasn’t killed. It’s still a mystery,” says Munezero, a refugee from Burundi. With a Hutu father and a Tutsi mother, Munezero was born in 1993 in Burundi, a nation on the brink of civil war due to years of ethnic conflict. The Munezero family knew they needed to leave when the Burundian Civil War, which went on to last eight years, began in 1993. Her father, who had been a prominent government official, fled to Tanzania, and her mother fled separately soon after, leaving the new baby behind.
By Julianna Robidoux
“My mom didn’t know where I was. My dad didn’t know where I was,” Munezero says. She would eventually reunite with her parents in a Tanzanian refugee camp.
After her parents left Burundi, soldiers attacked the family home where Munezero and several others still lived. Munezero was rescued by kind neighbors and eventually carried to the refugee camp in Tanzania where her father had taken shelter.
In the camp, Munezero’s mother became pregnant with her younger sister, Divine. But just a day after the birth, her mother died. Her father quickly spiraled into a depression. Having spent his own childhood in a refugee camp, he began to feel hopeless about the prospect of a better life.