Clemantine Wamariya talks about her memoir
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It was a quintessential “Oprah” moment. In May 2006, Clemantine Wamariya, an 18 year old refugee from Rwanda, sat in the studio audience, one of 50 winners of a national high school essay contest. As her host listened, an emotional Clemantine explained that she had been searching for her parents since she was 6, when war separated Clemantine and her older sister, Claire, from the rest of their family. The sisters had spent the next six years on the run, wandering through seven countries, dodging bullets, suffering illness and living in canada goose stockists uk refugee camps before landing in the United States, empty handed, in 2000.
canada goose black friday Canada Goose Outlet sale “So, Clemantine,” Oprah asked. “Before you left Africa, did you ever find your parents?” canada goose black friday sale
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canada goose coats Moments later, a curtain lifted and out came Clemantine and Claire’s parents healthy and impeccably dressed along with several of their siblings. There was certainly relief, joy and gratitude, she said over a recent lunch in Washington. But there canada goose outlet seattle was also something else: “I felt guilty.” canada goose canada goose outlet in canada coats
canadian goose jacket In her new memoir, “The Girl Who Smiled Beads” (Crown), Clemantine writes candidly about canada goose outlet vancouver the moment that turned her into “the Oprah Girl,” and how that role has been both a blessing and a burden. canadian goose jacket
Canada Goose Parka Clemantine had not canada goose outlet las vegas only survived war, she had come to America and succeeded: She was taken in by a well to do family canada goose kensington parka uk and became a high school cheerleader and activist. canada goose factory outlet toronto location After her “Oprah” appearance, Clemantine became a sought after voice and face in the humanitarian community. There have been luncheons, fundraisers, a TED talk, work with Harpo Productions and Oprah’s leadership academies; David Brooks cited her courage in a column. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Canada Goose Parka
“I canada goose parka outlet uk was the clever child who induced the fairy godmother to canada goose outlet winnipeg address bring her parents back to life,” Clemantine writes. “I was often cast as a martyr or saint. I was special, very special. So strong, so brave, a genocide princess… It felt strange and rewarding to become such a useful character.”
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While she is grateful for the recognition and proud of her role, Clemantine feels a void, too. “Even the kindest individuals with the best intentions rarely made room for the particular person I was,” she writes. She hopes her book will help change that.
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canada goose clearance Even Clemantine admits this is a difficult point to make when your work consists of telling your personal story in the service of a larger cause. I want to tap into everyone’s senses, to touch on our human sensibility.” canada goose clearance
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canada goose clearance sale Her book achieves that. Like Ishmael Beah’s “A Long Way Gone,” on being a boy soldier in Sierra Leone, or Joseph Kim’s “Under the Same Sky,” on canada goose outlet phone number escaping North canada goose outlet england Korea, “The Girl Who Smiled Beads” is at once terrifying and life affirming. And like canada goose outlet mall those memoirs, it painstakingly describes the human cost of war. canada goose clearance sale
The tale begins in Kigali, where Clemantine enjoyed a comfortable life: There were fresh flowers on the table and nannies to care for her; Claire canada goose outlet toronto factory dreamed of attending college in Canada. Then slowly Clemantine’s world began to fall apart: “The electricity flickered on and off. The water stopped working. There was shushing, so much shushing, so much canada goose outlet london pressure to be quiet and still.” As the ethnic conflict intensified, Clemantine and Claire were sent to their grandmother’s house, where they hid in a pit in the ground used for making banana wine. “Colors and sounds bloomed, then exploded,” Clemantine recalls. “I didn’t sleep.”
Canada Goose sale The situation quickly worsened. Soon there was a knock at the front door of their grandmother’s house, and the girls were told to run. Clemantine carried https://www.canadagoosejacketca.ca with her only a towel. She reached a banana grove and witnessed for the first time others also fleeing, “most of them young, some of them bloody with wounds… We heard laughing and screaming and pleading and crying.” The noises “were human and not human.” Canada Goose sale
cheap Canada Goose Over the next 200 pages, Clemantine recalls her and Claire’s harrowing, dramatic journey: joining a mass exodus from Rwanda to a refugee camp in canada goose outlet eu Burundi and then on to Zaire (now Congo), Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa. Over six years Clemantine and Claire covered thousands of miles, by foot, truck and once via a boat in which they nearly drowned. Sometimes strangers took them in, only to kick them out soon after. Clemantine learned to eat grasshoppers, fend off lice and forage on farms. While Claire found ways to make them canada goose outlet locations in toronto money, Clemantine took care of Mariette, the baby her sister had with her husband, a CARE worker she met at a refugee camp. cheap Canada Goose
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Clemantine, who was called “Cassette” as a child, lives up to her nickname as she vividly records the sights and sounds of her experience. Of that first migration out of Rwanda, she writes: “We walked, this mass of desperation, no longer distinct people. We walked until we stopped and fell asleep… The clearing became a colony and people started dying. I had never seen that many flies and bugs of all kinds, day in and day out. Cholera, dysentery, infected wounds. People bonded together into groups for safety… Nobody spoke of the past or the future. Time balled up into a knot.”
[‘Radiance of Tomorrow,’ by Ishmael Beah]
canada goose store The book, which publishes April 24, moves back and forth through time, interspersing scenes like this with Clemantine’s later life as a student at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill., and at Hotchkiss, Yale and beyond. Although sometimes awkward, the structure allows Clemantine to emphasize the vast canada goose outlet store new york differences between her two lives and the challenges she continues to face bridging them. canada goose store
buy canada goose jacket canada goose parka uk The most difficult obstacle has been reconnecting with her biological parents beyond the spotlight. A few days after the “Oprah” show, they had to go back to Rwanda, and though they have since immigrated to the United States, “time had created such an intense gap,” Clemantine says. “The relationship that we had was gone, and I couldn’t really rewind time.” buy canada goose canada goose outlet real jacket.