NPR

She Fled Rwanda To Survive — But Does Not Like The Words 'Refugee' Or 'Genocide'

Clemantine Wamariya talks about her memoir The Girl Who Smiled Beads, what people don't understand about refugees — and her hopes for the future of Rwanda.
Clemantine Wamariya, who fled Rwanda as a girl, is now a U.S. citizen. She is a human rights advocate and a speaker. Source: Steve Jennings

Twenty-five years ago this month, more than 800,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsi, were slaughtered over the course of 100 days by members of the country's Hutu majority.

Among those who lived through the terror is Clemantine Wamariya. Her memoir, The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War And What Comes After, recounts in wrenching detail her six-year trek in search of refuge from her country's killing fields. Co-authored with Elizabeth Weil, the book was published to acclaim in 2018 and is now out in paperback.

The title comes from a favorite story that Wamariya heard from her childhood nanny about a girl who disappears leaving no trace except beads. In her prologue,

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