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‘Ihahamuka’ – Why I’m Selling Chocolates This Christmas


Only 17 years ago, while my toddlers were safely playing in our back yard, approximately 1 million Rwandan’s fell victim to one of the most brutal acts of murder ever committed. During the three months of killing, it is estimated that up to 500 thousand women were traumatized by rape, 67% of whom were infected with HIV AIDS and 20 thousand babies were later born as a result of these rapes.   Additionally, 50 thousand women became widows and 75 thousand children were completely orphaned.1

Since, the psychological disturbance Ihahamuka has emerged as an unwanted part of their daily existence.

Ihahamuka, is a Rwandan term that literally means ‘without lungs’.  It refers to acute shortness of breath triggered by fear, flashbacks and chronic traumatic grief.  (Nearly all of the survivors of the genocide did not have the opportunity to bury their loved ones, nor perform mourning ceremonies. As a result they have not been able to fully process their grief. To this day tens of thousands of Rwandan’s continue to struggle with Ihahamuka.)

So what does this have to do with selling chocolates at Christmas?

For the past three years I have worked closely with a ministry team that seeks to bring healing to victims of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional and verbal), the orphaned (through divorce, death, emotional trauma and estrangement) offering freedom from guilt and shame, and encouraging participants to re-embrace lost hopes and dreams.  Our team has been invited to Rwanda, next May. 

The plan is to offer a week of seminars and workshops to hundreds of national church leaders, then provide them with the tools to take what they have experienced to their local communities across the nation.  Many will come from remote locations to attend.  As a team, our goal is to invite as many leaders as possible to participate with no additional financial pressure or stress to their families.  My heart is to help the orphans and widows be free from the debilitating affects of Ihahamuka.

That’s why I’m selling ‘Annie’s Chocolate’s2 this Christmas! 

Mint, dark, white, milk and cherry chocolates, bars, smoothies, fudge and popcorn.  A great stocking stuffer, hostess gift, secret Santa or teacher gift or a wonderful idea for your employer, co-worker or hairdresser.  Chocolate selections come in $5 or $15 sizes.  Available through Gateway Church over the next few weekends, or send me a message to place an order.

I hope you enjoy some of Annie’s delicious chocolate this Christmas, you won’t be disappointed!

If you ‘like’ this page, please click on Facebook icon below to share with your friends.  

2  A local chocolate shop in Arva, Ontario. Founders Burt and Annie have partnered with us, as they too have a generous heart for missions!

Author: Elaine Olson

Elaine effectively counsels in the area of marriage and family, with specialization in anxiety and stress, decision-making and young adult concerns. Elaine uses a variety of counseling therapies to meet the specific needs of each client. Her insightful approach to life challenges the three-part makeup of humanity, to ensure total wellness, physically, mentally/emotionally and spiritually. She is a strong advocate for women, taking a lead role to pioneer many innovative support programs for women around the world.

3 thoughts on “‘Ihahamuka’ – Why I’m Selling Chocolates This Christmas

  1. Is there a website one can go to, to order the chocolate?

  2. Hi Derm:
    How much do you want? Are you in Canada?

  3. Hi Elaine,
    I will take 10 boxes ($15.00)-boxes. Choclate Mint., Cherry Choclate, 5 boxes of each.
    Let me know where I pay. Probably at the church. This cause makes me emotional.
    Ell Sinden

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