How Dare the Sun Rise begins with Sandra Uwiringiyimana’s recollection of a violent night in a Rwandan refugee camp — the night her younger sister was brutally killed by soldiers.
Driven to Rwanda by ethnic persecution in their homeland of the Democratic Republic of Congo (also known as the DRC or Congo-Kinshasa), Sandra’s family struggled to reunite and find safety. Eventually, they were given refugee status through the United Nations and immigrated to upstate New York. There, Sandra faced a new set of challenges: acclimating to a different culture with unfamiliar expectations around race and gender. As she settled into life as an American teenager, she turned her turmoil over the horrors of her past into passionate activism — and finds a worldwide platform.
Note: trigger warnings for sexual abuse and child death.
“Ten years before the flames, I was born in the mountains, a scenic land of jewel-green fields, bamboo trees, and forests inhabited by gorillas, elephants, and chimpanzees. My people lived in small round mud huts with pointy roofs made of dried grass. They raised cattle and farmed the land. My parents grew up in these towering mountains, the Hauts Plateaux, in a province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo called South Kivu. When they were young, my mom and dad lived in neighboring villages that were about a day apart by foot. There were no roads, no cars. Everyone walked everywhere, and they still do. We left the mountains when I was around two years old, in 1996, so I don’t remember much of our life there. But today when I see pictures of the region, known as Minembwe, it looks like the most idyllic place on earth, with lush, leafy mountaintops scraping the clouds and miles and miles of green.”
Sandra Uwiringiyimana is an author, activist, and public speaker. She has spoken at the Women in the World Summit and in front of the United Nations. How Dare the Sun Rise is her first book.
Length: 304 pages
Main Settings: Rwanda; New York, United States
Secondary Setting: Democratic Republic of the Congo
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