Writers Space Africa-Rwanda
Issue 3 Poetry

A Hundred Days in the Papyrus | Marie Merci Cyurimpundu

Thunderstorms barked in the sky,
The rain dripped on the ground,
My skin wet, my soul dry
This was the third day.

They came to see my dad
When the night fell,
It wasn’t a bad dream!
“Rugaba yatugabiye abanzi,” said Mum, sacking the house
For treasures to buy our lives.

Our pennies in their pockets, they threw dad back to us,
“We will come back in the morning,” one of them said,
Dressed like the devil wearing banana leaves.

Dad told us to go and hide in the bush.
There we crawled and couldn’t sleep,
Until morning when the men came as promised and burnt our home in our eyes.

My younger brother cried, and the devils jumped
With machetes raised to slice everyone they could get.
We dashed across the field; everyone ran for their life,
That’s the last time I saw them.

I headed towards the papyrus of Nyabarongo,
Not knowing where the rest of my family passed,
I found myself alone in the papyrus.

I sat there wondering if my family was alive or dead,
Since I was with nobody,
I spent my days checking if any of my family members’ bodies were floating in the river.

Hunger kicked in, but I never gave it time,
Crocodiles used to sit by my side,
They kept me safe, even though men were hunting me,
In men, I saw monsters, but in monsters, I saw love.

I am sitting here, it’s almost midday,
I have uprooted some raw cassava to eat,
I do that a lot during the night
When no man is hunting me.


Marie Merci Cyurimpundu is a college student at RICA, dedicated to her studies in agriculture. Alongside her academic pursuits, she expresses her passion for writing and poetry, skillfully crafting stories and verses. As the host of the Mpundu Merci podcast, she invites listeners into engaging conversations and shares insightful perspectives.

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