East Texas Woman Shares Her Experiences Of Helping Those In Rwanda, Africa - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


East Texas Woman Shares Her Experiences Of Helping Those In Rwanda, Africa

She's made the trip to Rwanda, Africa not once, but twice in the last five years.  While overseas, this East Texas woman saw the hardships in Africa, from genocide to aids.  Just this week, the G8 Summit made African aid one of its major themes and decided to pledge $60 billion in relief.  It was one brave African woman that showed an East Texan her strength and courage.    

"It had been 10 years since the genocide," said Jessica Thompson, who visited Rwanda, Africa.  "We saw physical scars from the war.  I mean machete scars, limbs that were missing and orphans and widows."  One million people.  That's how many Africans in Rwanda died in the early 90's during the genocide.  One African woman, Gaudence, is one of thousands of widows still feeling the impact of the war.

"During the war, Gaudence awoke in her home to armed soldiers," said Thompson. "They had already murdered her husband who laid in bed dead next to her, and they murdered two of her children, and then they gang raped her."   That's the story, Thompson of Tyler heard five years ago when she visited Rwanda and met Gaudence.  It's also the story that inspired Thompson to start her own business to make money to send to Africa.

"Most people that live in Africa live on less than a dollar a day," said Thompson.  "Gaudence is a perfect example of that."  Last week in Africa, Thompson and Gaudence were re-united.  With only a first name and a picture, Thompson was able to find Gaudence.  Jessica told Gaudence how her story has changed her life.

"We just ran to each other and held each other and cried for several minutes," said Thompson.  "It was incredible." Thompson says Rwanda has come a long way in five years, but still 60 percent of the current African population has Aids, many of them children.

"You can do something," said Thompson.  "You can do something. We all have a platform. You may not be Oprah, but we can all do something and every little something makes a difference."  A difference that could mean saving a life, like the way Thompson is helping Gaudence.

Molly Reuter, Reporting. mreuter@kltv.com


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