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Karabo is a survivor of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed the life of her father and sisters, and now she is left alone and lonely in the midst of wounded hearts of Rwanda.
When Karabo goes to live with her paternal uncle Kamanzi, a colonel in the new army, she meets one of her uncle’s young escorts, Shema, another genocide survivor. Shema’s charm gives Karabo some jingling. She would surrender her heart to him, but it’s complicated —Shema knows only a part of her story. Shall she reveal the other part of her story?
Hearts Among Ourselves is a story of love, hatred, and their intersection. Karabo and Shema, two grieving orphans, grow up in a torn society—caught between the world of the living and the dead, and the conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis.
Some say love is like water—it flows with everything on its way. Will Karabo and Shema be swept up in its current or tossed to the shore?
“Umwagarwa’s prose, as narrated by Karabo, pops with inventive turns of phrase … a complex and empathetic perspective on [the Rwanda genocide’s] difficult aftermath … Karabo’s story provides readers with an illuminating investigation into the ways that people can dehumanize one another.” Kirkus Reviews
“Totally intriguing, thought-stretching insights into the life of a typical young distressed girl after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Happy brings out a powerful and practical primer of the harmony and social cohesion of the societies after such brutal bloodshed, but also points out one communal approach to healing such a society and minimizing transgenerational trauma.” Dr. Joseph Ryarasa Nkurunziza, Executive Director, Never Again Rwanda
“In Hearts Among Ourselves, A. Happy Umwagarwa has masterfully recreated the intricacies and complexities of the post-genocide Rwanda and the difficulties for Rwandans to grapple with the meaning and implications of their own individual and family stories in a society where the stigma attached to the Hutu and Tutsi groups have for long left little room for any other stories.” Um’Khonde Patrick Habamenshi, Author, Rwanda Where Souls Turn to Dust