Sunday, May 11, 2008


We spent 2 days in Rwanda being impressed with the progress they have made since the genocide of 1994 and past division of Hutu and Tutsi people. As we drove into Kigali from the Ugandan border, a 2 hour drive we were awed by the green vegetation around us all up and down the mountains of Rwanda. It was a truly beautiful drive. We spent the first afternoon walking the hills and looking for Hotel des Milles Collines, means Hotel of 1,000 Hill the hotel from the movie Hotel Rwanda. It is back up and running and located right in the middle of the city.

The second day we headed to the Genocide Memorial Museum. What a great place in terms of dealing with their reality and educating people. We were shown the outside grounds by a tour guide. There are over 250,000 people buried in mass graves on the site. They are surrounded by many beautiful gardens and fountains. A flame burns for all of April through June every year in memory of the genocide that happened in those 3 months in 1994 when most of the killings took place. We then went inside to read about the history of Rwanda and how and why the genocide happened. There was a room with bones and skulls on display that we did not go in, and all throughout there were video segments of survivors sharing some of their experiences of the genocide. There were good stories of how moderate sympathetic Hutus hid and saved Tutsi's. The second floor was divided into 2 parts, one was all children which was really hard to read and see, and the other was about genocide in general and about other countries and their past history with genocide. I am embarrassed to say that I did not know many details about some, Cambodia, Romania, Namibia, and even details about Croatia. It was embarrassing to read how the church failed the Rwandans and genocide victims of the past, going along with the killings, even encouraging them. In the evening we went back to listen to a survivor tell his story of life before, during, and after the genocide and then watch the movie Shooting Dogs by the BBC. One of the statements that stand out for both Danny and I from the survivors about those people that were lost in the genocide was, "They should still be here." Our devotion for that day was about every person here is important. How true for what the day held for us. We are both so glad that we went through Rwanda and witness their past and their healing!

No comments: