Why suffering? Why death?
My name is Claudine and I live in Bujumbura, Burundi, a nation with beautiful green rolling hills and plateaus.
In 1993, when I was 4 years old, a terrible war broke out and it lasted 12 years. Also my family lost everything - we are 8 children - our house was destroyed and we had to flee.
In my family, we no longer wanted to speak about that period. When I asked my mother some questions, she always responded that the essential thing was that we were alive, that we could only thank God. I tried to do what she told me: I thanked God and prayed for peace in the world.
But questions remained within my heart and I grew up in a climate of fear. I still remembered the violence that I had witnessed. Gradually, I refused to watch television, to read the newspapers; at night, I could not make it to sleep. Even though at school I had good grades, that fear would not leave me.
A few years later, when my father died of an illness, my questions grew even more: why do people die? Why had my father gone to heaven so young?
And yet God was waiting for me. In fact, he had never forgotten about me. In those months, someone invited me to a meeting of Y4UW and there I understood that God loved me immensely and he also loved my family and my people, with that same immense love: He supports us in the midst of the greatest sufferings.
With Him life has meaning and it makes sense to build peace and unity. Today everything is new - a new life has begun for me. I want to learn to live the art of loving (to love everyone, to be the first to love, to suffer with those who suffer and rejoice with those who are celebrating); to live the Gospel and therefore contribute, together with many other youth, to building up my nation and universal brotherhood.