Monday, July 23, 2012

July 22: Back to Kigali

The hazy air in Kigali feels heavy in the languid heat of a busy Saturday afternoon. It is a perfect match for the heavy feeling after visiting the genocide museums today. Frankly it is always unbelievable what people are capable of doing to each other. The first museum was in a village church where hundreds were killed after seeking refuge. Apparently the priest locked everyone in and made a call that resulted in row upon row of the bloodied clothes of the victims along with several underground crypts filled with bones. The second museum in Kigali told a more complete history of the events running up to the 100 days in 1994 when over 800,000 people were murdered. Parts of the exhibits are so dreadful that I had to look away. How many machete wounds can you absorb before you turn off? Maybe I understand Dalaire's PTSD just a little. I gather that most Rwandans wish to put the genocide behind them and move on with their lives and with the development of their country. Apparently some wish to deny the magnitude of the murder so these museums are truly important. Sadly, I have my doubts that more similar museums won't be created in future in other parts of the world. Is Syria next?
All this stands in stark contrast to the beautiful week in Gashora as described by many of the other posts. I really enjoyed working with Rodgers/William on the kitchen gardens, with Peter on the shelving and the fencing led by David. As I said to the team the other night those shelves really offended my sense of level/square/straight etc, and really had me wishing for my "proper" tools, but Peter never quit despite the wet wood and bent nails. So we all plowed along with him and got it done. I hope they will serve them for many years to come. I think we've seen a glimse of a future Rwandan leader in Rodgers. He is incredibly passionate in helping people eat better by installing kitchen gardens. More importantly he always makes a point of knowing everyone's name and passing along encouraging words. I have my doubts the gardens will work given the limited water and seed supplies, but if Rodgers has anything to do with keeping them going they will be fine. He is very charismatic and draws people in with his big smile and big dreams.
We're heading out to a nice dinner at a place called Heaven tonight and you can believe I won't be ordering anything with potatoes! We've had spuds morning, noon and night this past week. We should have brought some ketchup!  Over and out.

DWC Participant
Rwanda, July 2012

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