Twenty-one-year-old Eric Manishimwe is back to the same village he had attempted to leave in April this year.
At their dilapidated one-roomed house in Nyabagobe village, Nengo cell, Gisenyi sector, Rubavu sector, the young man lives with his mother Florence Imananiyibizi.
Manishimwe crossed from Rwanda with a village friend via an ungazetted border. Manishimwe didn’t inform his mother that he was going to Uganda.
He didn’t have money, but the friend did. They had been invited to Uganda by their village mates who had been there for as long as four years.
Manishimwe and the friend travel to Kisoro, on to Kampala. From there, they headed to Kiboga district, about 125km central-northwest of Kampala.
As a result of the anti-Rwandan rhetoric and physical attacks on those suspected to be Rwandans, Manishimwe and the friend from Rwanda lost each other.
Manishimwe says he worked for different Ugandan homes, finally finding one where he settled. He served the family as a domestic worker for five months.
The payment had accumulated to 350,000 Ugandan shillings (Rwf 102,000). The employer refused to pay him and even chased him from the home.
Manishimwe started again from scratch. He found another home to work. However, in the meantime, the physical attacks and rhetoric among villagers about Rwandans, were getting worse.
Manishimwe had raised Rwf 120,000 Ugandan shillings. He decided to head back home. He took the same route, via Kampala on to Mbarara.
The bus was stopped by Ugandan police. Manishimwe and others were taken into custody, spending two weeks there until they were deported on October 21 back to Rwanda. The 17,000 UG shillings and Rwandan ID were never returned to him.
On arrival at the Kagitumba border, Manishimwe called his mother on her phone, telling her he was coming back home. As mandatory, he went through the COVID-19 isolation center, staying there for 7 days.
What would you like to do now? We asked Manishimwe. He said he would like government to send him to a vocational training center, what are called TVETs. He wants to be a mechanic.
As to wherever he got any help on arrival, Manishimwe said he got transport fare from Nyagatare to Rubavu district. He says officials who received him at Nyagatare gave him the phones of the Mayor of Rubavu district, with promises of financial support.
“I telephoned the mayor many times using my mother’s phone and he stopped picking the calls. I also stopped calling him,” said Manishimwe.
However, it is important to note that local elections were ongoing and the Mayor was up for reelection. It is unlikely he was in position to undertake any official activities.