When Kahindo Mateene and her family left Zaire—now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and her home for 16 years—the country was on the brink of a major crisis. A political conflict was brewing in neighboring Rwanda, which soon erupted into a genocide that helped spark the First Congo War. The countless Congolese affected faced brutal treatment, including extreme poverty and, for many women, rape. The Mateenes got out just in time—had they stayed in the country, they may have become trapped by the violence and not permitted to leave.
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