While growing up, Jean Claude Muvunyi remembers listening to his grandparents tell many stories about their Masisi life in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).
All these years, I had no clue on the whereabouts of my relatives. It seemed to me like they had all perished. I completely had no hope that I would ever see anybody in the family ever again
Muvunyi is one of the thousands of refugees living in Kiziba Refugee Camp in Western Rwanda. At 33, he recounts the story of how he miraculously met his auntie and a few close relatives for the first time in the camp-a connection he said he yearned for most of his life.
Muvunyi says he spent most of his childhood at his family's farm in the North Kivu province. Although his mother died when he was only three years old, Muvunyi was close to his siblings, father and grandparents.
He recalls most of the details of his childhood even though he did not have much time to live with his parents as they died when he was young.
As a child, he was always eager to find out more information about his family. He recalls cuddling up next to his grandfather in the small house where he lived; the frail man would lay on the couch, nearly blind and almost deaf.
One fateful day, Muvunyi remembers going to school as usual but upon returning, he was told armed gunmen had taken his father. At that time, his grandfather was bedridden because of ailments he suffered at his old age. As a young boy, he had only a few close family friends and relatives to confide in. When they all fled the fighting in Eastern DR Congo, he had to nurse his frail grandfather. Muvunyi says he lived in constant fear of the armed militia who frequently moved around the countryside.
"I eventually gave up hope that the war would soon end," he says.
"During these uncertain times, I grew close to my grandfather, who died five years ago. What he taught me has enabled me to survive as a refugee and he inspired me to search for my other relatives who were long lost," he adds.
"He would tell me about some relatives reportedly living in Rwanda. Much to my surprise, I found them upon arrival at Kiziba camp," Muvunyi recalls.
He explains that the latest conflict between Congolese government forces and mutinous soldiers prompted him to embark on an endless search for his relatives.
"Armed soldiers infiltrated our village and everyone immediately literally began to run for their lives because they were threatened and terrorised," he said.
Muvunyi eventually found his way to Nkamira Transit Centre in Rubavu District (Northern Province) where close to 14,000 other refugees are sheltered pending relocation to Kigeme Camp in Nyamagabe District.
However, he says he could not stand the influx of Congolese refugees crossing the border into Rwanda adding to the already existing 50,000 refugees who have been in Rwanda for close to 18 years having fled insurgencies in the same region.
Before he embarked on a seven-hour journey by bus from the transit centre to his current refugee camp, embedded in the hills of Karongi district, Muvunyi had to weigh his re-settlement choices.
Armed with enough information acquired from his late grandfather, Muvunyi did not wait for the relocation exercise to begin because several other refugees were still swarming into the area.
This is the reason the Government has failed to estimate the exact number of refugees or the period over which the relocation exercise is expected to last.
According to Fredric Ntawukuriryayo, MIDIMAR's Public Relations Officer, between 100 to 200 refugees enter the country daily.
"They come in all the time but we have been able to relocate about 15,000 to the designated location amidst significant hardships," Ntawukuriryayo disclosed.
Impacts of the ongoing political conflict in the DR Congo are crystal clear amongst the local population.
"All these years, I had no clue on the whereabouts of my relatives. It seemed to me like they had all perished. I completely had no hope that I would ever see anybody in the family ever again," he says with a sigh of relief.
Even though he has completely lost hope of ever finding the father he cherished dearly, Muvunyi is happy to start a new life in Rwanda.
As the world commemorates the World Refugee Day, it is said the refugees such as Muvunyi, are continuously displaced as a result of the cycle of violence.