Bosco is a gifted young Burundian leader with big dreams and huge potential. His smile is genuine and his manner relaxed, but they bely what has happened to him in his life…
It was 29th October 1993, a week after the President of Burundi had been assassinated. The whole country was experiencing bloodshed, and Bosco’s area was no exception. He was a timid 7-year-old, sheltering in a house with a number of his extended family. His father and elder sister fled into the swamp at 4am, having heard that the killers would shortly arrive. His Mother had swollen legs and couldn’t flee, and in any case they all thought that women and children would be left alone.
At 5am, the killers arrived and tried to break down the front door. In the ensuing panic, everyone inside fled out of the back door, but people with bows and arrows were waiting there for them. Of the fifteen children, only three escaped. All five adults were killed. Bosco was one of the three to break through the cordon and make it to the bush.
After an hour, in the quiet, he crept back with his sister to try to find his Mother. There she lay, still alive, with both arms and legs hacked off. He hugged her and wept, and then begrudgingly left her to die as the killers were still nearby and she was beyond hope. He was her last born, and didn’t want to leave her side, but there was no choice. They had to try to get to the nearest church to relative safety. Meantime (and he only discovered it two weeks later), his father had also been killed.
They went to a friend’s house from the other tribe – even in the darkest moments, goodness was to be found. This man was willing to put himself in danger by trying to rescue them. He told them that the following morning the killers would burn down the forest to flush out those still hiding, so he told them to return to the bush and be ready before dawn, when he would guide them to safety.
Early the next morning, he led Bosco and Bosco’s sister through the mist. She thought he was going to betray them, so at one stage she refused to follow. Bosco had to obey her and it was a mistake, because they soon came across a gang of killers, who were resting on the verandah of a house. When the killers saw Bosco, they rushed into the house to pick up their machetes, and then chased them. Bosco and his sister literally ran for their lives, reaching the Catholic church just fifty yards in front of the fastest-running killer. Belgian priests took them in and nursed them until safe passage to the capital could be arranged.
In 2002 Bosco gave his life to Christ. He was attending a boarding school where he was discipled by mature Christians who were fellow students. Whilst still a school boy Bosco was aware of God’s calling upon his life.
He states, “I believe that I was rescued for a purpose. I know that God wants me to be his hands and feet to show his goodness in this broken world.”
After graduating from secondary school, Bosco joined Youth for Christ. It was here that God expanded and affirmed his calling.
Today Bosco is the Director of ICJ Burundi. ICJ reaches out to the most vulnerable communities, widows and orphans, sharing the word of Christ and providing practical support. ICJ helps construct brick homes, teaches literacy, numeracy and farming skills and helps initiate microenterprises. Through initiatives such as the porridge programme, malnourished children regain physical strength and a renewed enthusiasm for life. One mother spoke of how she witnessed her children being ‘resurrected’ after they attended the ICJ community centre at Ciya.
Bosco is married to Danella and they have two young sons, David and Joshua.