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My Father, Maker of the Trees

Author Eric Irivuzumugabe & Tracey Lawrence
Narrator Dion Graham
Runtime 4.8 hrs - Unabridged
Publisher christianaudio Hovel
Downloads ZIP MP3 M4B
Release Date February 7, 2009
Availability: Unrestricted (available worldwide)

In 1994, 16-year-old Eric Irivuzumugabe climbed a cypress tree and remained there for 15 days without food or water. He wasn't trying to win a bet with his friends--he was attempting to save his life. Eric is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide that claimed the lives of 800,000 people in just 100 days.

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In 1994, 16-year-old Eric Irivuzumugabe climbed a cypress tree and remained there for 15 days without food or water. He wasn't trying to win a bet with his friends--he was attempting to save his life. Eric is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide that claimed the lives of 800,000 people in just 100 days. In the midst of indescribable loss, and without a job, a home, or an education, Eric was determined to start a new life for himself and his two surviving brothers. My Father, Maker of the Trees is the story not only of his physical survival, it is the story of his spiritual rebirth and the role he is playing in the healing and redemption of his land and people. His incredible account will show readers the reality of evil in the world as well as the power of hope. Eric's message of God's relentless love through our darkest circumstances will encourage and inspire.

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Customer Reviews 10 item(s)

I was surprised by this book on many accounts. I was surprised by the depths of depravity that is possible in the human heart, and the way that humans can be have when operating out of that depravity. I was surprised by the courage and determination of the survivors, and those being hunted down and slaughtered for no other reason that the families they were born into. I was surprised by the desperate measures that needed to be taken, on a daily or hourly basis, just to remain alive.

But most of all I was surprised by the way God has worked through the people who have endured these horrors, the comfort and closeness that they now experience with God, and the fresh grace of God (like the green shoots pushing up through the ashes after a bush fire) that is present in their lives and that empowers them to carry a message of hope to their hurting nations.

The narrator does a great job with expressing the feeling of this book, it seems that he has the same accent as I would imagine the author to have, and this adds to the authenticity of the listening experience
Review by / (Posted on 12/15/2011)
We listened to this audio as...
We listened to this audio as a family. Our boys, ages 11 and 13 were able to listen to My Father, Maker of the Trees and learn so much about God's restoration and the forgiveness a human being who loves Jesus is capable of. This was an excellent audio. It was moving, at times rivetting, and a real learning experience. I highly recommend it. Allow your middle-school and up children to listen to this with you. You'll be glad you did!

I received a copy of this audio in exchange for this review. Read my entire review at
Review by / (Posted on 5/4/2010)
Have you ever read a story...
Have you ever read a story where you know the main character survives and thrives after a series of successive horrible events? You sit in eager anticipation straining to comprehend how survival is possible, and even after the book is over, there is a feeling of disbelief because you think no man could survive or thrive after such events. Similarly, this book recounts the unbelievable nature of human depravity, and the overwhelming ability of God to change hearts from bitterness to forgiveness. This true story recounts the story of a boy (Eric) who endured some of the darkest hours lived out on earth. His drama is shared by a nation ripped apart by Darwinian division and genocide. This story is a first hand account of a boy’s struggles with man and God. I was on the edge of my seat through the whole book, knowing that the boy comes out alive and trusting God, but I did not know how this was possible. Eric found God in the darkest of hours and found rest in his Sovereign arms. In the book, I was horrified at the atrocities man can commit and I was inspired by Eric’s forgiveness. God had clearly done a work in his life that would otherwise be impossible. I would highly recommend this book for its historical, inspirational and spiritual content. This book puts my problems in perspective. It is healthy for those who are free and without fear to understand the depths of depravity into which man can slide. Man, without God and without proper restraint can fall into deplorable conditions. Eric’s story is one where restoration and hope seems impossible. Yet God works in his life to restore much of what he has lost, and bring a joy and rest in Sovereignty that only God can give. The book is read in English with an African accent. This makes it feel as if I were there, with Eric, experiencing the horrors of genocide, and experience the healing of Christ. I highly recommend this book.
Review by / (Posted on 3/23/2010)
“Every tree is sovereignly planted by...
“Every tree is sovereignly planted by God for a reason bigger than we know”. This quote is by the author's uncle sums up this incredible story. “My Father, Maker of the Trees” is the personal account of Eric Irivuzumagabe, a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
This was the first “story” audiobook I've listened to, and I enjoyed the experience. I listened to certain parts of it several times and it was just as intriguing as the first time I listened to it.
I'm not familiar with the Rwandan accent, but the narrator, Dion Graham, had a “foreign” accent which draws the listener into the world of Eric Irivuzumagabe. Graham was animated and full of expression. I appreciated the beautiful and seemingly authentic pronunciations of Rwandan words and names.
I don't know if reading “My Father, Maker of the Trees” would have had the same effect, but hearing it painted vivid scenes in my head. I felt as if I were watching it on a screen or running along side the fleeing Tut-sis.
Theologically, there is very little I disagree with. I'm not sure what denomination Eric is nor do I care. As far as I can tell from his testimony, he is a true Christian. I don't see how a person can have the heart to forgive the Hutu tribe for what they did nor see that a genocide was God's way of drawing a person in unless they were a Christian. Eric mentioned that, as an unbeliever, he prayed to God to rescue him and God did. I don't believe God answers the prayers of non-believers except for the prayer of repentance and salvation. God rescued Eric from being a victim of genocide because He willed it, not because He answered Eric's prayer. Eric also makes mention of “Christian” Hutus that participated in the genocide. Yes, Christians can and will sin at times, and sin is sin no matter how “big” or “small” the sin is. I just don't see true Christians taking someone's life, and in such a heinous way. Again, Christians will sin, but I think there are some sins that true Christians can't participate in. Eric quoted Tupac Shakur, Mother Theresa, Rick Warren, and various personal spiritual mentors. I have to say that I agree with the quotes and the context they were used, but I don't think Christians need to be ecumenical to align themselves with non-Christians to reach a common goal. Maybe Eric used them because the quotes were appropriate despite who said them, but it did surprise me when he quoted non-Christians. This story reminds me of Joseph in the Bible (even though Eric was not a Christian at the time of the genocide). God used the evil in Eric's life for His perfect plan. Eric repeatedly speaks about God's sovereignty.
The first half of the audiobook was exciting and dramatic. The second half wasn't as exciting or dramatic, but I was still amazed at how God worked in and through the life of Eric.
This story struck a chord in me because I'm a houseparent. I've never been an orphan or experienced trauma like the orphans of the Rwandan genocide, but I work with children that have trauma ingrained in their memories. Eric mentions houseparents briefly, but he calls all Christians to obey the charge of James 1:27: caring for the widows and orphans.
I highly recommend this audiobook to adults, especially those in foster care or child care work. Mature teenager would greatly benefit from hearing this audiobook, but keep in mind the subject matter of genocide. Eric recounts vivid and, many times, graphic and horrific moments of the atrocities of genocide, such as violence and war rape.
This audiobook includes a song written and sung by co-author Tracey Lawrence and there are other narrators that briefly speak for other people in Eric's life.
Review by / (Posted on 3/14/2010)
The title of this audio book,...
The title of this audio book, ‘My Father, Maker of the Trees’ by Eric Irivuzumugabe & Tracey Lawrence, does not prepare you in any way for what you are about to listen to. The one hundred days of the Rwandan genocide, where nearly a million Tutsis were massacred by the Hutu militia, is brought into stark reality by the powerful narration of this story.

It is impossible to comprehend the sheer horrors of those one hundred days without a trust worthy guide, and you certainly feel that you have that in Eric Irivuzumugabe. From the preceding days, into the killing spree, and through into the peace and reconciliation process, you begin to understand the disbelief of a people who were soon fleeing for their very lives and asking the most profound question of why?

Through a miracle Eric survives and then there begins a story of such grace and virtue that the reader is lifted from the depths of despair in their fellow man to utter speechlessness at God’s grace and the boundless humanity of forgiveness.

I listened to this book as part of’s review program, but I truly believe that ‘My Father, Maker of the Trees’ should be required listening for every person in every society that has ears to listen.
Review by / (Posted on 3/2/2010)
If you want to learn facts...
If you want to learn facts and figures about the Rwandan genocide, read the encyclopedia.

If you want to learn what it is like to see hundreds of thousands of your own people slaughtered like animals in only a few short days, and to survive yourself only by a seeming accident of chance; if you want to learn how bewildering and worthless life can seem to be; if you want to grasp the struggle to believe in God and to forgive, then listen to this story.

It is unfathomable what human beings will do to one another. The depths of hatred and of brutality make life seem not worth living. How could one experience genocide and have faith in God and hope that life is worth living?

Eric Irivuzumugabe lived through the Rwandan genocide and came to believe in God. Through Christ he gained a hope for himself and for his people as well. This book is the story of his struggle to survive physically, and of his spiritual birth. The book ends with him on a mission to reach out to his fellow Rwandans, particularly the orphans of the genocide.

This book is read very well by the narrator in a soft and gentle style.

This review was written for
Review by / (Posted on 3/1/2010)
In 1994, hundreds of thousands of...
In 1994, hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Tutsis were murdered by the Hutu militia in the country’s worst act of genocide. In roughly 100 days, as much as 20% of Rwanda’s population was killed. The acts of horror and violence committed during this time are unthinkable. Yet even during such a nightmare as genocide, God showed himself to many people, among them Eric Irivuzumugabe. My Father, Maker of the Trees is Eric’s story, not simply of how he survived the genocide, but how he came to faith in God despite, or perhaps because of, his experience.

Eric was 16 years old when the violence erupted in Rwanda and he found himself trying to escape with his family. During the mayhem, he was separated from his family and forced to find shelter in a cypress tree. From there, he witnessed and heard the massacre of many people including his own family members. After the Hutu militia was routed, Eric was reunited with two of his brothers who also survived the genocide.

The book tells the story of how Eric and others, including his two brothers, escaped the killings. In heart wrenching narration, we learn of the brutal atrocities committed by one people against another. But, as amazing as the survival stories are, this is not what makes Eric’s story remarkable. The true wonder of the book is how Eric finds hope, healing and even the power to forgive his family’s murderers through God’s mercy and grace. His words of encouragement speak not only of the love he has for ALL Rwandan people (Tutsi and Hutu alike), but also of a confidence in a sovereign God, even in the face of horrific trials. I would highly recommend this book.

Dion Graham, the narrator for the christianaudio recording, did an incredible job. Very few narrators make you feel like they are sitting next to you engaging you in conversation, but Dion certainly accomplishes this. His ability to convey the heart and intensity of Eric’s story is excellent.

(Thanks to christianaudio for the opportunity to review this audiobook.)
Review by / (Posted on 2/18/2010)
The subtitle for this book is...
The subtitle for this book is ‘How I Survived The Rwandan Genocide’, and that’s a good summary. Eric Irivuzumugabe survived the horrors of the genocide that saw 1 million killed in 100 days by hiding in a cypress tree. He presents in this book his experiences during the genocide, and the experiences of his family members, before moving onto his life since – how this awful, horrific suffering was used by God to adopt him into His family.
Perhaps the only (very small, and unavoidable) weakness would be that everyone talked about in detail in the book survived, which seems to play down the enormous impact of the genocide, but Irivuzumugabe is good at highlighting who was lost, and the effects.
Be prepared to be shaken up by this book, as our pride is ripped apart by Eric’s humility, as our hardships are dwarfed by Eric’s enormous losses, and as our ministries are shown up in part to be self-seeking, rather than filled with mercy. Overall, this is most definitely a good book!
The narration is excellent – every accent is well-represented, and every person’s voice is different. There is a song played about three quarters of the way through which is a bit odd and not something I’d have chosen to listen to, but does stick something different in there!
I got this audiobook for free as part of’s book reviewers’ programme. I’m not required to give a positive review.
Review by / (Posted on 2/18/2010)
I recently listened to My Father,...
I recently listened to My Father, Maker of the Trees (Unabridged) by authors Eric Irivuzumugabe & Tracey Lawrence for the christianaudio Reviewers Program (

I can honestly say that not only did I really enjoy the book, but it challenged me at a deep level on many issues of life. It is a story about a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide who spent 15 days in a cypress tree trying to escape the vicious murderers who were slaughtering his family and people all around him. I thought the book did a great job of not being excessively detailed in the gory aspects of this historical event, while opening the eyes of readers who know nothing about the horrors of genocide. I found myself wanting to cry through most of the book as the reality of the details hit me that this book represents the experiences of multitudes of real people. I was also encouraged in the hope and faith of the author. His conviction that “God does not waste suffering” was a powerful theme that will encourage every believer no matter what phase of the journey they are on!

I really liked the narrator, Dion Graham, for this particular book. His voice, accent, and reading style blended perfectly to the setting of this book. In fact, I would have thought that the author Eric himself had read the book if I had not discovered differently.
Review by / (Posted on 2/14/2010)
Absolutely an incredible story of God's...
Absolutely an incredible story of God's sovereign hand at work! As an American christian I had heard some of the Genocide in Rwanda, but this book has given me a deeper appreciation for what God has done through the lives of the survivors. It even deals with how one should deal with the problem of evil. Great listen! Dion Graham (narrator) does a wonderful job with the Rwandan accents, making the listener feel and see all the horror and beauty of Rwanda, in "My Father, Maker of the Trees."
Review by / (Posted on 7/30/2009)