One of the children who survived the tragic church burning in Kiambaa village, Uasin Gishu county, on January 1, 2008, has revealed that he has forgiven those who harmed him.
Anthony Mbuthia, then just 10 years old, miraculously survived the horrifying church burning incident that claimed the lives of many innocent lives.
Today, at 26, Anthony shares his remarkable journey of forgiveness, healing, and resilience.
Anthony vividly recalls that fateful day when he, along with his family, traveled from Yamumbi village to Kiambaa to celebrate Christmas with his grandmother.
Little did they know that their lives would be forever altered by the political turmoil that engulfed the region.
The church, a supposed sanctuary, became a scene of unimaginable horror.
Armed individuals with painted faces invaded the area, leading Anthony and his siblings to seek refuge in the church.
The attackers later set the church ablaze, resulting in the tragic deaths of at least 18 people. Anthony, trampled on the floor amidst the chaos, somehow managed to escape, becoming one of the last survivors to leave the burning church.
The aftermath of the incident left Anthony physically scarred and emotionally traumatized. Bullied by classmates who cruelly mocked his appearance, he endured derogatory names and the painful removal of his cap to inspect “if he had a brain.”
Fast forward to today, Anthony resides in the United States, where he has built a successful career in photography and film production.
In an interview, he expressed his profound forgiveness toward those who caused him harm. His faith in God, he attests, played a crucial role in his ability to overcome resentment and embrace a journey of healing.
“In the United States, people have asked me, ‘Why do you still go to church? Why are you still involved with the church? You were burned inside the church, why don’t you harbor resentment?’ They expect me to be angry, to hate people. But I believe that much of my healing has happened inside me and outside through forgiveness. I was able to forgive those who did to me what they did,” he said.
Despite facing mockery and discrimination due to his facial scars, he encourages other children facing similar challenges to remain strong.
“Do not think you are the one with a problem. What is inside you should be heard more than what you hear outside,” he advises.
His journey toward healing extends beyond personal growth. Anthony has authored a compelling book titled “Triumph over Adversity,” chronicling his experiences and offering inspiration to others facing adversity. Launched in the United States in October, the book is also available in Kenya, offering readers a glimpse into the strength of the human spirit.
In 2019, Anthony’s father, Peter Mbuthia, a witness in the International Criminal Court’s genocide murder case, published a book titled “Scars of a Nation,” adding another layer to the family’s storytelling legacy.