From Refugee to Student

Meet our first years! In the first few weeks of 2013, our first year students had a class assignment in Computer Skills to type a personal introduction and tell “Why am I at African Christian College?” In this series, you get to meet the students in their own words…


Salomon Ntibaharirire, Burundi

I am Salomon Ntibaharirire, from Burundi, Ngozi province, Ruhororo Commune and Buganuka Village. I am 35 years old and married to Gloriose Nizigiyimana from 10 September 2011.

In my family, I am a first born and we are seven children; two boys and five girls. We both boys and two sisters are married. Except me, all of them have children. The three other sisters are still studying, two in High School and one in primary school. My father was called Bernard Bizimana; he was a farmer and he died on 3 January 1994 from diseases. My mother is named Eugenie Singendakubwabo, a farmer, she is still living.

I began my studies in primary school in 1985 and ended in 1993 at Mugogo Primary School. I was not so far away from our house because I took one hour by feet.

In 1993, on 5 September, I entered my first class in secondary school. Immediately, after one month, the war inter-Burundians attacked our country. I was at Rugari Secondary School in Muyinga province which is more bordering with Tanzania. In that period things became so hot in the whole country. People killed each other.

Someone can ask himself the reason for the war. In June 1993, there has been the election democratically; the Burundian people selected their president Melchior Ndadaye from Frodebu, the party of the Hutus in majority. After 100 days he was killed by Tutsi soldiers representing the party which failed in that election.

What happened to me? It was so hard on me because from Hutus and Tutsis I had no place. I had not known who I was. I chose to stay at school when some students were leaving the school and joining their families, others running away to Tanzania and Rwanda in order to be refugees. In that time, I was very troubled.

A few months later, I decided to come back home in order to see if my family members were still alive. It was 22 December 1993. Arriving there, I met all of my family still existing on the Earth even if their riches were destroyed by the war.

One year past, I went back to school to regain my class in Form I. In 1996, I finished Form II. In that period, the war between rebels and the government soldiers was very hot. I got away and flight to Tanzania in the refugee camp called Mtabila. I stayed there from 22 October 1996 to 10 September 2004.

I was in a regrettable and redoubtable life. Many diseases attacked my life, hunger, loneliness, etc. But, praise the Lord because he helped me to endure all my troubles and then I finished my secondary school in August 2002 at Lycee de la Lumiere. I got a diploma in Letter Modern Sides.

I came back in my country in the way of repairment. From 2005 to 2011 I went into different Burundi universities, but failed because of my troubles from the war. It is the main consequence.

When I got married in 2001, things began to be good slowly because my wife understood what happened to me.

From 2008 to January 2013, I was student representative in our national church. From 2009 to July 2012 I worked in an NGO called Faith in Action, FA. I was a project officer. In December 2011, I heard from my pastor about ACC.

Why am I here?

  • I am here for sharing experiences of life with others
  • To build relationships between people from different areas
  • To serve and work for God
  • To acquire new knowledge
  • To be transformed and formed for a changing world

I hope that God will make my life sure at ACC.

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