Upsetting Experiences Make My Heart Stronger
by Lucien Nzeyimana
Trafford Publishing

"Jack came to the conclusion that Burundi was not the paradise he thought it was."

Traumatic events in our lives often result in one of two outcomes: We either grow in knowledge and character through our experiences or are emotionally and spiritually crushed by them. The author's account of the life of one man who grew up amidst the ethnic violence in Burundi sheds new light on the suffering of the tiny African nation. Yet the book also offers hope that even in tragic circumstances the human spirit can not only carry on but become stronger in the process.

Jack Barak spent his early childhood in a village setting where he saw firsthand the disparity between the common people and those he named "Evildoers." Fortunate enough to be allowed an education when so many others were denied this opportunity, Jack began to grow both intellectually and spiritually and soon decided to take a stand against the injustice he saw around him. His support of President Melchior Ndadaye and the political party Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) made him some powerful enemies, and when Ndadaye was assassinated Jack feared for his own life. After escaping into Tanzania, Jack struggled to survive as a refugee with his young family. Emigration to Canada seemed to be an answer to all his problems, yet eventual separation from his loved ones and stunning betrayals by those from his past awaited him in his new country.

Nzeyimana writes with a passion fueled by images of the heartaches of his homeland. The non-linear nature of some of the narrative and frequent repetition of certain points can be distracting to the Western reader but will be familiar elements to students of African literature.

Return to USR Home