Artisan Spotlight: Alphonsine

Alphonsine had no idea what counseling was before being part of the DuHope community. She didn’t like talking to people; she was always quiet, and many people labeled her as contemptuous. She didn't have any friends, and she had no idea how to be a good mother. She always thought that buying food and paying school tuition was good enough to make her a mother.

Alphonsine dropped out of school when she was in high school, after her grandmother passed away, and she became responsible for paying her school fees. Although she came from a well-off family, over the years she developed intense rage and anger towards them, unable to forgive them for a long time. She never used to talk to them, and she literally hated them, blaming them for her inability to continue her education. She believed her life would have been different if she had gone to school. The fact that most of her family members went to school, except her, intensified her unforgiveness towards her family.

Raising her two daughters in the absence of their father also contributed to the hurt she experienced. She held a lot of unforgiveness towards him for abandoning her and the kids. Even now, she has no interest in remarrying; she finds joy in raising her kids on her own.

Counseling has brought her much healing, and it's one of the reasons she decided to stay in DuHope despite wanting to quit many times. She remembers the early years when they were paid very little money, and she would spend her time waiting for nightfall so that she could go to the streets. The money was so little that even on the streets, no one would give her that kind of money. The other women in the community also struggled due to their past lives. They quarreled, insulted each other, and broke down during counseling. There was so much confusion, and Alphonsine wondered how long this would last. She strongly believed that her counselor at that time had gone through so much because they were not easy to handle. 

Counseling also helped her open up and communicate with people. She now has friends and tries to help other women by sharing what counseling has done in her life. Although she feels that some women don't believe her, she believes they will come to understand at some point. She also feels compassion towards others, which she never had before. Life used to be all about her, but now she easily extends a helping hand to women in need.

She was able to forgive her ex-husband as well as her family, and they call each other once in a while to chat. Her relationship with her children has also greatly improved. She now knows that being a great mother means being best friends with her children. Her daughter was with her during the holidays, and they had a great time together. Sonia was so happy that she wanted to stay in Kigali, which is a sign that their relationship is in a good state, unlike before.

Through counseling, Alphonsine was able to pour out her whole heart, and someone was willing to listen to her. She appreciates her counselor because she  impacted her life on a deeper level, and it's one of the biggest reasons she chose to stay in DuHope despite having countless reasons to quit. She realizes that her decision to stay is all part of God's plan because many other women have left, but she is still there.