Deri Rundle, 80, an American national and founder of David Rundle Trust, which helps the most vulnerable, has written her first book titled “Never Again,” a sometimes harrowing, no-holds-barred account of her 13 year mission to improve the lives of people in Rwanda.
Each year, Mrs Rundle, has spent three months in remote areas in the north of the beautiful country Rwanda, globally known for the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
In December 2012, she travelled to Rwanda to help children who celebrated Christmas – build a crib, and improvise decorations for a seasonal tree fashioned from branches.
After some 13-years, she has written and published a book, ‘Never Again’ – which not only outlines a little of Rwanda’s history and the notorious period of genocide that brought this small country to world-wide attention – but includes lots of stories revolving around many of the people she has worked with on behalf of the David Rundle Trust— set up in memory of her engineer husband who died aged 59 in 1996.
Every penny raised by this book costing at £8.75, will be used by the trust to continue its mission to improve the lives of local people. It has so far built 10 water tanks and 15km of pipeline connecting seven villages to clean water, a clinic extension and an orphanage.
The trust has also organised and introduced much-needed family planning in villages, and is educating over two dozen orphaned children.
‘No holds are barred’, the book says on the back cover, ‘as the author describes the personal life and death struggles of Rwanda’s people and her own heart rendering – and often hilarious experiences while living and working in Rwanda.’
Mrs Rundle’s book is unsparing in horrific tales of the violence and brutality suffered by the people of Rwanda.
“Some people have told me they cried reading the book – but there were worse atrocities I did not write about,” she said.
“But the book is not all doom and gloom, there are parts you can laugh at – the majority of the Rwanda people just want to get on with their lives.”
In her book, Mrs Rundle, who worked on orangutan research in Borneo before becoming involved in Rwanda, described a close encounter with a 200kg silverback gorilla on a mountain trek – talking “gorilla” to move within two metres of the powerful creature.
Travelling around outlying areas on the back of a bicycle, motorcycle or a cart, and living mainly on vegetables, Mrs Rundle often found herself the only source of medical help for villagers – armed with a “Where There Is No Doctor” book.
She writes of treating anything from ear and stomach ache to boils, even having to carry out minor surgery because of lack of a doctor – stitching a bad gash in a boy’s leg, after giving him, and herself, a slug of brandy for courage.
When an earthquake struck she spent three days helping children in the ward of a hospital which had been damaged by tremors.
When she is not in Rwanda, living among the people she helps, the pensioner is at home helping to raise awareness and funds for the trust. Her fundraising book is available from most bookshops.