Aimee Zangandou, Beatrice Uwimpuhwe, and Beverly Bull

Recorded February 9, 2021 Archived February 4, 2021 40:47 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: atl004362


Mother and daughter Beatrice Uwimpuhwe (67) and Aimee Zangandou (39) relate to their friend Beverly Bull (69) the story of their escape from Rwanda in 1994 as the Rwandan Genocide began, their lives as refugees in other countries in Africa, and their eventual arrival in the United States in 1997 through the efforts of the World Relief organization.

Subject Log / Time Code

Beverly (BV) asks Beatrice (BE) to talk about her and Aimee's (A) life in Rwanda before they became refugees.
BE talks about when she first realized the genocide had started.
A and BE talk about how they decided to leave Kigali and Rwanda, and the logistical details of their movement as refugees .
A talks about crossing into Congo and staying with friends.
BE talks about having to cross into Burundi to send a fax to make a connection with her husband who had been away on a business trip.
BV asks BE and A how they connected with the World Relief organization.
A talks about her family's discussions related to coming to the United States.
BV asks A and BE about their first impressions upon arriving in America and at the Atlanta Airport.
A asks BV how BV came to be one of the people greeting her family when they arrived.
A talks about how BV and her church gave her family, especially her--a teenage girl in high school, a sense of belonging, and BV talks about her admiration for BE and A's family and how they have prospered in the United States.


  • Aimee Zangandou
  • Beatrice Uwimpuhwe
  • Beverly Bull

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type



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00:04 Is zangandou and I am to Dish I have 24 years old. Today is February 9th 2021. I am in Lilburn Georgia and I am sitting here with my mom. She's in our good friend Beverly.

00:24 My name is Beatrice boy 67 years old.

00:31 Today is the February 9th 21 2021.

00:40 Amanda Wright Lilburn, Georgia with my daughter and my best friend be ready.

00:52 My name is Beverly Bull and I'm 69 years old today is February 9th 2021. I'm sitting in my home in Lilburn, Georgia with bed rest and Ma.

01:14 So bitch with an m a i when you came and met was 16 17, and I just wondered we seems like we quickly got into doing things getting you settled finding things, but I never heard your story what was happening and want what happened before? I actually met you.

01:44 I got saved we have a good drive. So I was working. My my husband was work. We are just middle-class. We have it for children. The youngest was six years old and was exhausted starting school.

02:09 So

02:12 Then in one night everything chest.

02:19 It was a war.

02:22 That was I do remember the date. So that was April 6th 1994 and you you are visiting a friend. Then you all happened was 8 around 8 p.m. At 8:30, when the planet carrying the Brandon and Dave Brandy and presidents. Both of them was shot down you was in the evening and and you weren't home. Did you want?

02:58 Not everyone has not had some security issues in but that was dated the triggering of the trigglypuff the genocide the shutdown of the presidential airplane. That's when everything I guess exploded in the killings happen, but you ain't you ain't coming back home.

03:40 I was just stuck.

03:44 Got time to water mother started. So it was a very very hard to get to the process that neighbor. I mean the closest the friend I knew that time.

04:00 Stay to stay there.

04:04 We passed almost all night trying to get to do to my friend and the last lie or more around 5 morning.

04:20 With or we get this

04:24 And I think the context of their plane was shot down near the airport near the residence of the president president directions. So you are so close to eat happening. Is that everybody come from that direction was treated as a suspect and roadblocks on every mile that you go and it was so busy that it was I remember you telling us that we're hiding on the border of the road being seen in aan being asked how many questions that you to avoid? Like today was doing too many people. There are so many.

05:24 From or oversaw. Where is that a high being in the

05:30 Let it go anywhere everywhere.

05:47 Yeah that time. My husband was not in the country in about 2 to 3 days before.

06:00 That what he left for a training in West Africa.

06:07 In New Jersey

06:16 And then of course when I arrive to my friend

06:21 It was a curfew.

06:25 No one no one was supposed to get out from the house. I stayed there for a week without knowing any news of my children.

06:35 I was just wondering what happened, but we were not even knew we didn't know that the massacre haunted.

06:51 We have to send somebody out to see if I can get something to eat. Then. It came back crying saying or I found outside our bodies on the road. So that the time I start seeing that.

07:14 I don't know what's going on with my children. Maybe they are still alive or not.

07:21 Call time to you to say how we have cell phones are sitting habits house rental car lots in after everything. I've had people calling you. So we did not really for her entire week when you know where she was. My neighbor had a very good friend neighbor who are naturally he came to see likes to talk to my mom to figure out who knows maybe try to drive than what was happening was rested. Very morning of of of of that night.

08:09 It is Mom wasn't home. That was because you know how you probably not going to make it home so he can bite you again December Nights just to check you to come home. So he took it in his house myself and my three siblings just because I think he was trying to figure out what to do with the kids. Really. He's not home. So we leave their friend and neighbor for for a whole week to make it home.

09:06 It wasn't very spot where she was but it was so hard to move it so hard she can't wait to get home. So that's what happened last night and we have no idea.

09:38 How did we decide to leave? How are you in hiding for alcohol wake you come home?

09:54 And then the right way.

10:07 Yeah in Kigali exactly.

10:14 I didn't know what to do because the people that we're managing 222, they have to have an escort whatever they have to have a military to escort them to get out from the city.

10:32 I didn't know if anyone who can do that so ugly.

10:43 They was just at Naples passing by.

10:51 He saw me sitting outside the door.

10:56 Escape me

10:59 I remember I met your husband in Nairobi going to Kenya going to need every why everybody is leaving. So what am I doing tomorrow morning very early, but my car is full belly.

11:26 Create one sport one prayer. When is it if you can come you can go.

11:39 I'm sorry. I cannot take your phone because there is no for now and his brother.

11:53 Even though I must say, you know what I wish that was if you want to see it. You said you heard one on do you live and how to order another word on his I said don't bring any clothes. That's where as many clothes you can wear.

12:49 I'm the keys. Don't bring anything anybody laughing then come with it. We did it then we managed to leave the city Slide the City. How long was it between naps and reaching a point of connecting with Samuel and coming here or not.. Was nothing even to compare because I want to go to princesses city. That was a rose to my husband parents to see if we can arrive there.

13:31 So it is too cuz usually it's almost half an hour in the car all day until 6 to arrive there because of dog is mr. Roblox. So I have to stay where you are. I remember we passed the night on the playground somewhere. I do in the Morning Star Wars and again a long long story to arrive now to my parents thought I've been following day. My husband was not so we wear nowhere even so

14:30 Admitted to sleep the 3-5-2 continue the elasticity because her grandparents in the village and who are in between places not knowing what to do after we heard rumors that now.

15:12 I guess I will position you know, two people fighting is that that fighting is coming where we wear with blue eyes. And what do you want to leave? So we packed our stuff and we were even going to

15:53 Are we going anyway to be fun.

16:10 We have to cut to stay there to still to to pack tonight so I can see your photo people in their memorizing somewhere in the end and we just say okay from here to pick up going and on the third day. We arrived at one of the relatives. Do you spell Mariah?

17:07 I'm good. I give the symphony happened to that. And after that storm was over two months we decided I was across the border of Congo because it wasn't any more or you stay on.

17:49 Toyota Congo, we don't know what I was saying someone that when you cross the border maybe like a month or a few weeks before have fun housing and we stay with them for

18:12 Was it a wait a week awake? And in the meantime you trying to contact Dad to let him know that help with house? We'd like to have nothing to eat. We don't know what to do to be able to go very far away. So we are next door. It's like you could travel tomorrow. Then we heard that you can communicate it to cross the border to go around a Eucharist. And if I wasn't a telephone and it today. No. Where we wearing and then I guess we have to say hey we are alive.

19:12 We were thinking it's cool. What's the new facts come by?

19:45 Maybe I can explain to stay there, but I can get my last one to Orange everything to go back and give me a few money that was stolen even find out if they offer me a job to work in the north to work for like Social Services.

20:35 That's why this is another person has come in the park State. My training is over. I'm coming like where should we meet? You know, you said I need Precision. Should I cut a ticket for for what city like it doesn't remember you like right away the seven the next morning was trying to get back to 22 brownie so I can have your money with trying to get out of here.

21:28 And I got time like it was like millions of people across the border. They are totally crazy. So I got time because we're working you want to be connected to some people in Peru, Indiana to offer you a job so I could face itches. But, what should I tip you over not together? So you're trying to figure out the money for us. We can actually go to that City so you can see if she can get a job or food and try to figure out to join like we've been used to rule the world relief. How did you get connected?

22:28 What was the door that finally opened?

22:37 My husband images

22:46 Yeah, they correct somebody to buy us tickets and then we might not to join him. Yeah, because he was five people and trying to improve the relay even though you've seen so much and you didn't adopt when you don't think they are you going back by there was a reason to doubt that everything to make it better to wait for a few months. We can go back home in addition to that. It was really

23:23 Who are okay with middle-class but ticket for 5 people who was extensive to Como se year to have enough money to take a flight from from from Congo to Nairobi and then find him in West Africa. And is there still any Transit?

24:00 I think when your family came I felt like I and other people were able to learn something that we had never at least me. I didn't know anything about I remember somebody saying no, they're not slipping in over the Border. They're not they're not like going under a fence. They're coming legally. And I said, wow, what is this process? Could you describe a little bit? I mean, I don't know if you're old enough said but what if there was a process that happened?

24:30 Call me and then I just wonder what that was. Wanted to help my husband. So we were the countries where they called the refugees. Ciara. That's how one day they end up to Tara's. Are you willing to go into it? Like I said, it's people like crazy is you know, I sent.

25:30 This is something of course we want there will be people that require a mannequin that they refused we pre-order list, of course. Yes, and those people came from Nairobi from we did that person tells you they came in for a second one and then they organized kind of orientation about United States.

26:19 Did they say okay so went for almost 1 year?

26:29 Tuition 1995 one of the reasons to leave the refugee camp is is it is just it's hard to make it to everybody so much of convincing than it is time to what he's trying to figure out what happened in the guilt of nitric oxide. So it was weather.

27:08 Big threat diversity hire someone to register with the UN program. It's a permanent residency in the US if you want to know a price by moving again into the United States, like is that even possible? So that's always had the process, but it's is coming to Georgia and Washington DC.

28:08 But we don't know anyone in this you still buy usually decided in Atlanta, Georgia. I wouldn't know until two days before we can chat with you.

28:55 What did you have to bring with you in any documents that I bring back Panda? I mean you could just wait.

29:55 Drive to the Atlanta airport.

30:00 Yeah, that's gonna be remembered. I don't maybe it's Steven different. But do you remember what were your first thought?

30:09 Can you say?

30:15 Or I still remember we wearing welcome do like a king.

30:23 Because they have to be so but I remember when I arrive at that point with how many people I don't remember the name. Comprehend why you would say no, I don't smoke. It feels like some dollars. Maybe it wasn't you so $60, but

31:23 Very happy to be in United States because that was a miracle in itself.

31:59 A person in General Lee bike in the world come in the people who wanted you to finish all the papers or whatever and then

32:59 1990s

33:08 Have you got time to be like so different positions that that that took place and really likes you.

33:15 What what why you are you then and then what time to you too?

33:19 If we work in different countries, so we knew from our own experience. We didn't go as refugees, but we know how differently people live in different parts of the world and I had never been to Africa. We are praying about having a job in Rwanda. So we had but I knew I remember always what it felt like to get off the plane and you look around and you think what could it was going to be here for us? Cuz we traveled with our children and I think at that time in our church, it was a new step for us to say, okay, we're going to we need to do this as a church. This isn't for one person to have four children all different ages. We need to help them get in school practice English driver's license. Stop it. It's more than one person job who's on board and many of us said, yes.

34:19 I want to do it and Dave spoke French so he thought he was when you get off and

34:34 And all of us had children about the same age we were talking about that and it made us we saw we have children in middle school and high school. We know how hard it is for that. They already speak English is hard for them to go to a new school to make friends. It's awkward when your child, you know, you need a lot of support so he gave us a heart for you just as other parents and children. We know what it's like come will walk with you in the halls of the school will walk with you when it need to go to this other school for English classes cuz I feel really good. You know someone

35:13 Is a big property High School no English 9th grade.

35:24 Can you set up the apartment 3?

35:37 Did you make a decision of where it was in Stone Mountain? Not that far from here. That's where we're going to leave to find an apartment day in Clarkston where many refugees came but our Pastor said do you want your children to feel comfortable like our children? This is the closest we can get we can afford. This is closed. We could drive down the road we can see them and they can drive to Austin so he was important to find a place that was affordable and it was close to our car Church the people of the church and it was just weird just moved here. So I was learning how to get girl book.

36:30 Prepositional Smith asked where we going to do because that means that she said your children to be going to see them and made a big difference really into my life and my siblings life because it wasn't hard the culture shirt no English, but with the kids who are familiar with and I can give us a sense of belonging and luxury not being sitting side one because we were you when you when you kill people in a remember that they will take turns day by day and it will show us the first week the workers into each class is called an intention. Send one classes / 6 days. I will send someone outside the door waiting for me to make a scarf.

37:31 Yeah, we were impressed as a church of people. I thought I had never been a refugee. I have never travelled like that. I'm and I grew up going 200 miles to visit my grandmother, but we were in the little bits of your story that we knew that despite all that it was like like you landed on your feet twin news that there were hard things. We couldn't communicate well cuz most of us didn't speak French or kinyarwanda, but we knew from you should little bits with Grace. It had been a rough. It wasn't just like you woke up and keep Kalia to let's go to America. There was a big journey in between and it was Ross and yet you prospered all of you came in you all and the kids started working. We worked hard to set to learn English. I'm terrible at languages.

38:31 Ready to put down roots and succeed and that always really impressed me. I said God if I go to another place, I want to have that attitude.

38:42 So I see you like that. Yeah, we were ready to to do whatever needed to be too. I guess that was for 5:32 to ask you have a permanent space here. But my point is like you did have that community that people who would I show us things that show at school and she wants to know what kind of drugs to get so our lives were changed by by by you investing in real estate investing in to arrive.

39:42 Five of the welcome that received 25 minutes later and we still on for today in the Friendship last forever. I'm so glad I'm talking to you. 25 26 27