Sunday, January 2, 2011

Book Review: Escape from Rwanda

ESCAPE FROM RWANDA: A True Story of Faith, Hope, and Survival, John Yves Bizimana, Deseret Book, 2010, 160 pages, $18.99
John Yves Bizimana relates in this book his childhood escape from Rwanda and journey to attend Brigham Young University where he was scheduled to graduate in August 2010.  He wrote this book as a response to the many who had questioned his miraculous survival and how he ended up in Utah going to college. 
As a child in Rwanda John enjoyed a privileged life until his father died in an automobile accident a few short months before the start of the killings in April 1994.  At age seven, shortly after the death of the President of Rwanda, John and his family were evacuated to a stadium in Kigali and stayed there for some time before his family decided to walk to Zaire.  Later his family relocated to Tanzania, Zambia, and eventually settled in Zimbabwe.  When he was ten years old and living in a refugee camp his mother died from malnutrition and he spent the next couple years bouncing between orphanages, boarding schools, and relatives.  Finally at age 15, relatives living in Belgium adopted John and his siblings and they emigrated in 2002.  With the help from friends John applied to BYU, was accepted, and began his studies in 2006.
This book is informative for its description of the life of a refugee in Africa and how the author was able to find solace from the many tragedies in his life through religion.  Religion then provided a means to travel to the United States and gain a university education.  The author's success is not typical but his journey is educational.

1 comment:

  1. I wasn't sure if you had heard of Mariama Kallon. I heard her speak at an event this fall. Her message is impressive and inspiring. I don't think she has a book, but there is a DVD of her presentation available from Deseret Book. You can get an introduction to her story at