Jambo! I have said this one single Swahili word (meaning ‘hello’) more times than I can count.

Taryn and I cannot even begin to describe our experiences and the heaviness of the past two days. Our hearts are anguished and shattered from the unfathomable stories we have heard. So we have decided to give you a glimpse of what we are taking in and documenting with one specific story.

This is Sifa Shukuru. When we met Sifa she entered the room with a grace that cannot be described. Her shy smile immediately warmed our hearts. She is a gentle and kind young girl who loves to sing and dance for fun. Often you can find her playing games with her friends, many of these involve dance. Sifa dreams of being the director of a school in hopes to help poor people, orphans, and those in need. This aspiration is extremely humbling after we heard her story, which was heartbreaking and unimaginable for such a young girl. Here is her story.

At the age of four she was working in the farming fields with her mom and younger brother, when a group of rebel Rwandan soldiers ambushed them. Her mother and brother ran away, and tragically she was left alone. Sifa was held captive and raped one by one by the ten rebel soldiers. Her mother returned to her after the soldiers had left. Because Sifa was so young and endured such a trauma as this, she was found unconscious. Sifa’s mom took her to the hospital, and they were able to do surgery to try and repair the damage. Her story was told to the director of the Dina Center for rape victims. After Sifa was released from the hospital, she was sent to the Dina Center for girls. Her parents are still alive and she is able to visit them only on holidays. She needs food, clothing, medicine, water, school supplies, and support for her studies, as well as prayer for emotional and physical healing.