"For a while I thought I was having a nightmare," said Immaculee Ilibagiza, a Rwanda genocide survior. "It was completely unreal."
It was the spring of 1994
in three months, close to one million Tutsis where brutally slaughtered by the Hutus.
Ilibagiza shared her story of surviving the Rwanda genocide Friday at the Civic Center.
"I was a student in college and was home for Easter holiday when it started so my parents sent me to go and hide, as it was getting bad."
She hid for 91 days in a bathroom with seven other women.
"I was thinking it was going to be three, four days maximum and I could go back home. I never went back."
Her only contact with the outside world was a radio.
"The man who hid us put radios outside so we could hear," she said. "So we kind of had an idea. I was hoping someone was still hiding, but the way they spoke no one was left."
Ilibagiza said all she did was pray and hold her rosary
. It was
a gift from her father.
"There was a time when they came to search and I prayed to God, if You exist show me a sign and that day they came and stopped by the door in the bathroom and they didn't find it," Ilibagiza said. "That's when I said, I give everything to God, I don't know You but I'm going to try and learn who You are."
She learned English while she was in hiding by reading her Bible everyday.
"When we came out, the war was over but everyone was killed,
including my parents, my mom and dad, brother, grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, best friends.
She lost everything
but her rosary and her faith.