Editor’s note: This is the second installment in a three-part series discussing the Rutagengwa family’s search for God from the 1994 Rwandan genocide in light of their trip back to Rwanda in December.In April 1994, Jean Bosco and Christine Rutagengwa were preparing for their July wedding when the Rwandan genocide began. They became separated in the chaos.“We were getting ready for our wedding, and we survived at the Hotel [des] Mille Collines, now known as Hotel Rwanda,” Jean Bosco Rutagengwa said. “I got there first … praying to God to bring my fiancée there. I left the hotel to bring her back to the hotel, and that was to us a testimony that God listened to our prayers.“We stayed at the hotel about 40 days, and during those days, every day was a dangerous day.”The Hotel des Mille Collines was the only safe area at the time, but Jean Bosco Rutagengwa said he left anyway, trusting God to keep him and his fiancée safe.“Every day in the hotel, we put ourselves in the hands of God,” he said. “We prayed for our safety every single day at the hotel. We were surrounded by the killers.“It was like a small island, or let’s say, a sinking boat surrounded by sharks. It was like the Titanic sinking surrounded by sharks.”Jean Bosco Rutagengwa said he felt that he and Christine survived the genocide for a reason. After they were evacuated from the hotel by United Nations’ peacekeepers, others hiding there were killed by the militias, he said.“We were lucky enough to survive, and for us we have a mission — the mission is to spread a message of love,” he said. “We have a testimony that love is stronger than death. … Evil didn’t win.”Jean Bosco Rutagengwa said he has drafted a manuscript about the search for God from the Rwandan genocide, to be published later this year.“Before the genocide, I was certain I was just like everybody else, thinking about your future, your family, not thinking much about other people, about being involved in the community,” he said. “After genocide, [my wife and I] really have changed. We both feel like we have a mission to be involved in the community.“Whenever it’s possible to help your neighbor … to help someone recover from tragedy, [you should] get involved in their affairs, help them live a better life. You only realize that when tragedy strikes your own life. Then you realize that other people need you. You don’t realize that until your own life is impacted.”Photo courtesy of Fr. Dan Groody While praying to God helped the Rutagengwas get through the genocide, Jean Bosco Rutagengwa said praying does not entail survival. However, God has a plan for everyone, he said.“We just listened to the teachings of our parents and the Church, and we were able to survive, and we thanked God for all He did for us,” he said. “However, we are well aware, aware that there are so many people who died in the genocide. It does not mean at all that they didn’t pray to God. I know they did.“My mother was a devout Catholic. She died. My father was. He died. Christine’s mother — she was Catholic. She died. And our siblings, they died. It does not mean at all that they didn’t pray to God. We don’t understand how God works. Some people die, others survive. In our cases, this is why we think we have a mission to be humble people, to show love, to spread the good word — maybe this is what God was telling us?”Christine Rutagengwa said the experience taught her to appreciate life.“The life we have is precious,” she said. “When you lose it, when it’s gone, you can’t find it. But material things — we lost our houses, we lost everything, but we found them after. But we never found our parents. We never found our sisters and brothers. So life is precious, it’s very precious and you can’t replace it. That’s what I realized.”The Rutagengwas, whose daughter Fiona Rutagengwa is a freshman at Notre Dame, returned to Rwanda in December with a group including theology professors Fr. Dan Groody and Fr. Virgil Elizondo, as well as project coordinator for the Institute of Latino Studies Colleen Cross.“We were happy to go back, even if it was not easy,” Christine Rutagengwa said. “It was not easy because we saw the memorials, and it brought back bad memories.“To see people like Fr. Dan [Groody] care and show us love — it made us feel better. It cannot take away our pain, but it’s kind of very good for us. When people care, they are not maybe many, but they are people who really care, who were able to see what happened to us. I really loved that experience I had with friends from the [United States]. It was a blessing to go there with them.”Jean Bosco Rutagengwa said the trip had two purposes.“Fr. Dan [Groody] had the idea to go to Rwanda,” he said. “We wanted to show our friends what happened to us, because we wanted [them] to know and understand what happened to our family.“In Rwanda they built memorials for the victims of the genocide, and some of our family is buried there … and the motivation to go there was to honor their memory, to go there and say some prayers for them, being surrounded by some of our friends from the [United States].”While in the United States, Jean Bosco Rutagengwa said he channels his mission into helping other survivors of the genocide come to terms with what they experienced.“When I moved to the [United States] in 2000, I devoted my time to supporting FORGES [Friends of Rwandan Genocide Survivors], an association created by Rwandan survivors living in New England,” he said. “For the last several years, I have organized in Boston with other FORGES members the annual commemoration of the genocide of the Tutsis, which takes place every April, and I have spoken at different events aimed at fighting the genocide ideology.”Jean Bosco Rutagengwa said his advice to people facing difficult situations is to hold onto faith.“Life is full of distractions, especially for young people, and whenever life issues arise, many forget that God is the answer and revert to their habits and distractions,” he said. “Putting God before everything is the only way to be happy and to be at peace. But it’s easier said than done. It requires sacrifice; it requires discipline; it requires humility.“But at the end, it saves lives.”Christine Rutagengwa said she and her husband still wonder why they survived the genocide and others did not, and they pray to God for guidance constantly.“We’re always looking, praying and asking God, ‘Why? What do you want me to do? What are the lessons you want me to give to the people who don’t know about or happen to ask? We know you are real. We know you are there,’” she said.“That is a kind of question we don’t know how to answer. We are trying. Maybe one day we’ll find out.”Tags: Rutagengwas, Rwanda, Rwandan Genocide
Looking for off-campus housing? The search just got easier with South Bend Student Housing, a new website created by six Notre Dame students in the Engineering, Science, and Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Masters Program (ESTEEM). The website makes finding residences, contacting land lords and securing listings faster and more convenient.Graduate students Keith Marrero, Amanda Miller, Conor Hanley, Eric Tilley, Nathan Higgins and Sean Liebscher are the co-founders of the website and business South Bend Student Housing, which went live in February. “It’s kind of like Amazon,” Marrero said. “You tell it what you want and it’ll tell you what’s available that meets your needs, and then you’re able to make an informed decision based on that.”Marrero said the website allows students to browse housing options in the South Bend area based on amenities and preferences. “One of our goals is to provide information for students about everything that’s available because a lot of students will hear about their housing through word of mouth,” he said. “You don’t really know everything that’s out there.”Although the co-founders are still in the process of contacting landlords and adding additional listings to the site, Marrero said the site already contains numerous housing options available for browsing. Students interested in a property can simply click the “Contact Landlord” button to email the owner directly. The website includes additional features such as a compare option. “One of our big features is the compare feature,” he said. “It enables you to compare three, four, however many properties you want on one page as opposed to having a million tabs open.”Marrero said there are means of comparison between properties to see if they include various features such as off-street parking or in-unit laundry. The distance from the residence to the University is also included. The website is especially helpful for graduate students who travel from various areas around the country and world and are likely unfamiliar with the South Bend area and housing options, Marrero said. The website first started out as a class assignment, but Marrero said the interviews the team conducted for class showed such positive feedback that students began asking when the website would go live. After deciding to make the project a reality, Marrero said the team received funding from an anonymous investor for the entrepreneurial venture. A beta site was created last fall and advertising through social media started in February. Students interested in learning more about off-campus options can visit the website southbendstudenthousing.com for more information. Tags: ESTEEM, South Bend Student Housing
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York An East Meadow man was arrested for allegedly setting fire to a tent in which a man was sleeping in the Hempstead Plains Preserve in Uniondale this week, police said.Bradley Storey, 50, of East Meadow, was charged with arson, assault and reckless endangerment.New York State police said Storey and the 37-year-old victim got into a fight and when the victim later woke up from his sleep, his tent was on fire and he suffered burns to his legs and feet while trying to escape at 9:15 p.m. Monday.The fire spread, reportedly burning about 1,000 feet of the preserve on the south side of Charles Lindbergh Boulevard between the Long Island Marriott and Meadowbrook State Parkway. Uniondale firefighters reportedly extinguished the flames.The victim was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where he was treated for his injuries.Storey is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday at First District Court in Hempstead.
Police are investigating how the fall occurred. An 18-month-old girl who fell from a third floor window is recovering in the hospital, and is expected to survive, police say.Officials say the toddler fell down at The Cove at Boynton Beach apartments Wednesday evening. The toddler was taken to Delray Medical Center. She did not suffer any life-threatening injuries.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error This one will be different, though. “It’s going to be a good moment for (my parents) to watch me out there,” said Clark, who’s averaged 11.5 points on 48.9 percent shooting and 9.2 rebounds since moving into the rotation. “They know how hard I work. It feels good for them to see me start while they’re still living.” That moment may not have happened if not for injuries to Howard (shoulder), Gasol (concussion) and Jordan Hill (season-ending left hip injury). Clark’s season-high 20 minutes against Houston on Jan. 8 soon morphed into career-highs in points (22) and rebounds (13) the next day against San Antonio. Even when Gasol returned, D’Antoni granted Clark the starting spot after admiring his ability to defend all five positions, consistent energy and a surprisingly reliable jumper. “I didn’t know him,” D’Antoni said. “We had to go through the gantlet of guys and he was the last on the list.” Denver coach George Karl thought so little of Clark he chose him to take a pair of free throws last month after Gasol suffered a concussion from JaVale McGee’s inadvertent elbow. Clark made both shots. “I was kind of insulted,” Clark admitted. “But I’m glad I was ready and knocked them down. It’s like kicking his face.” Clark has plenty to keep him motivated. The Phoenix Suns drafted him 14th overall out of the University of Louisville in 2009 and believed he’d fulfill his current job description as an athletic and versatile stretch forward. But his rookie season entailed sitting in favor of a veteran-laden roster going to the Western Conference finals. Phoenix traded Clark the following year to Orlando. Lakers assistant coach Steve Clifford, who was then a Magic assistant, said former coach Stan Van Gundy viewed him as a defensive specialist. But Clark became buried in the depth chart behind Ryan Anderson and Glen Davis. “When we were in Orlando, the thing I always told him is continue to do what you do,” Howard said. “One day, you will get an opportunity to shine. Once you get that opportunity, you have to continue to do what you did to get there.” The waiting became tiresome. “It was real frustrating,” Clark said. “You have expectations with yourself and you have friends and family that call you that don’t know anything about basketball that bug you. Sometimes it gets to you.” That reached a tipping point during the NBA lockout in the 2011 offseason, when Clark signed a contract to play overseas with Zhejiang in China under former Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons. Clark lasted only five days over concerns surrounding how the food hurt his protein intake and his wife expecting a son back home. Clark and Cleamons then had a conversation spanning 90 minutes about his future. “My wish for him was to prioritize his life,” Cleamons said. “Then he could worry about basketball.” Clark has centered his life on both facets. He spends his free time hanging out with his 3-year-old daughter Ke’nya and 1-year-old son Nasir. Clark spends every other waking minute with a basketball in his hand. Coach and player accounts describe Clark as playing the most physical and energetic in scrimmages and the one most likely to attend the team practice facility late at night. “To his credit,” Kobe Bryant said, “he worked every single day and never got discouraged.” Clark then showed he was worthy of the promotion. He’s logged five double-doubles. Bryant passed to him for a layup on a key basket that secured a win last week against New Orleans. Bryant also set him up with an inbounds pass in the Lakers’ win Sunday over Detroit that resulted in a buzzer-beating lob before halftime. “When you have a great attitude and keep working, what’s afforded you opportunities, you not only have a chance to improve as a player but you’re ready when your number is called,” Lakers guard Steve Nash said. “If he didn’t have a great attitude, maybe he wouldn’t have played well when he got his chance and get buried.” Not everything has gone according to script. Clark told reporters three weeks ago he thought the Lakers’ next game was against Miami instead of Milwaukee. In one game, Clark sprinted to the entrance tunnel believing it was halftime when the first quarter just ended. In Clark’s buzzer-beating dunk against Detroit, Bryant repeatedly grimaced for one reason. “Earl forgot the play,” Bryant said. “He faked everybody out because he actually forgot what we were doing.” But as he’s emerged, Clark hasn’t forgotten what’s gotten him this far. With Louisville coach Rick Pitino telling him it’s a “dog-eat-dog world,” Clark has gone from licking scraps to chomping on steak. He hasn’t let go. “He’s working even harder now,” said Lakers assistant Darvin Ham, specifically on outside shooting and post moves. “He’s working twice as hard than before.” Once Clark goes through lineup introductions, he’ll know who to thank by eyeing them in the stands. “My mom always put strong faith in me to believe in God,” Clark said. “If you live another day, it’s an opportunity. When I wake up, I try to take it as a day to work and get better. Eventually, if it wasn’t here, on some other team I would get my shot.” “We’re excited to hear his name,” Brenda Clark said. “We know how much work he put into getting that moment.” Did he ever. Within one season, Clark transformed how the Lakers perceived him. They initially considered him just a throw-in involving the trade that brought them Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic. Clark has started the past 12 games over four-time All-Star Pau Gasol as part of Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni’s preference for a smaller and quicker lineup. Clark, who makes $1.2million this season, could field a more lucrative offer once he becomes a free agent this offseason, although he prefers staying here. He’s the Lakers’ feel-good story, what D’Antoni said has given the team a “good jolt” in an otherwise dreary season. It’s already earned him nicknames such as “Eazy” and “Clark Knight.” The Lakers have played the song, “Duke of Earl” during his starting lineup introductions at Staples Center. NEW YORK The words will ring pleasant once Earl Clark runs onto the court. When the Lakers (22-26) play the Brooklyn Nets (28-19) tonight at Barclays Center, starting lineup introductions will mark the beginning of an eventful evening for Clark’s parents, Brenda and Larry. It will mark the first time the New Jersey natives will see their son play as an NBA starter.