Patrice started with one glass of beer and ended up being addicted to alcohol. Bars became his second home. Alcohol destroyed his physical and mental health. His family was on the verge of being torn apart.
Patrice, 43, is married to Evelyne. They have seven children. The family of nine lives in Rusizi District in the Western Province of Rwanda. Patrice is one of the people who underwent the Celebrating Families project model training, offered by World Vision. The aim of the training was to reunite families and ensure sustainable development of the families.
Before the trainings, Patrice lived a miserable life with no clear purpose. He spent most of his time drinking alcohol in bars and other drinking places. He barely remembers any time he spent with his family at home. He would often come home very late in the night just to sleep.
“I was always drunk. Fighting was like a hobby. Every time I came back home I had to find a reason to beat my wife,” Patrice recalls.
Sometimes he never came home at all until the next day. Patrice’s life was not only in danger because of his evil thoughts and deeds but his health was also at stake due to his negligence.
After the first session of the training that Patrice and Evelyne attended, he went back home and reflected on the words he was told. Patrice was mostly moved by the topic on causes and effect of conflict/violence in families. He realised the mess he had been causing his family. He realised that he had wasted a lot of time and money in bars which he could have used for his family’s development.
Patrice decided to apologise to his wife and change into a better man. After the leadership in his village saw the change in him, they gave him a cow. When the cow gave birth, he sold the calf and bought a small piece of land for cultivation. Patrice knew he had changed, because usually he would spend all the money he got on alcohol.
“I think I would be dead now if it wasn’t for the trainings that I received because I had no life by then,” Patrice said.
Evelyne now has a life. She had always been on the run due to her husband’s behaviour. This affected the children so much because neither their mother nor father was there to support them. They were traumatised by their abusive father. All the children would go into hiding at the sight of their father. They would always run away to their grandparents’ house, in fear of the constant fights at home.
Their son Jerome, 21, lost his childhood because of his father’s behaviour. As Evelyne would often be gone a week at a time, the children had no one to take care of them.
“I was unable to go to school as a result of my parents’ conflict. This greatly affected me,” Jerome mentions.
Jerome says that since his parents attended the trained offered by World Vision, his mother has not left home. The family now works together and the children enjoy the love of a father.
“I am now happy because now my parents have reconciled and are cheerful,” he says.
The rest of the children have changed too. After their parents went through the Celebrating Families training, they bonded with their father and are enjoying their father’s love for the very first time. Patrice’s only wish is to be able to provide for his family. He believes that it is possible because every challenge that comes their way, they will handle it together as a family.