Lucia has something to say

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Rwanda

How does one prepare to go to Rwanda? How do I, in just under a couple of weeks, prepare to put my shoes on Rwandan soil? Just before the long rains start.

They call it the Land of a Thousand Hills, or because of the perfect weather Land of Eternal Spring. Mountains and volcanoes. Mountain gorillas. I’ve heard it’s a beautiful country. Beautiful, and, when I looked at a map, I realized it’s remarkably small.

It’s impossible not to think about the genocide in 1994. A tiny country with a current population of about 8 million had one million, yes, ONE MILLION people killed. And there’s no way around it. It’s a country of survivors. And orphans. And refugees.

In the community I’ll be visiting, all of the school girls were killed. ALL OF THEM. How scarred they must be. Scarred for the rest of their lives. Maybe some even regret having survived when so many were killed.

Maybe there is no way to prepare. Maybe all I can do is go with compassion. Maybe tears should well up in my eyes. Maybe...

11 Comments:

Blogger Maggie said...

This is the second time I've gone off in a blog post about how sad and insignificant I feel and then came over here and was humbled. Truly humbled.

Its so easy to forget that tragedy, true tragedy has plagued people's lives and my weepy self gets all self-involved over not having someone to talk to. Pooh.

Thank you for bringing me to my senses. I can't promise to be bubbly off the bat, but at least I can think beyond my little world.

8:06 PM  
Blogger meno said...

There is no way to prepare for a trip to Rwanda. It would be like preparing for a trip to visit the gas chambers, or the Vietnam memorial.

No one human could go there and not cry.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

One of the most remarkable books I've read lately is called "Left to Tell" about a young woman who survived the Rwandan genocide by hiding in a tiny bathroom for three months with six other women. It's an incredible story that has clung to me ever since.

While I was in Ethiopia, I talked with a man who'd been in Rwanda during the genocide. He said it was years before he began to feel human again after the horrors he saw.

Apparently there is quite a moving tribute to the genocide victims in a museum somewhere in Rwanda. I don't know the details, but if you're interested, email me and I can find out from a friend who's been there.

9:32 PM  
Blogger jen said...

there is no way. but you will go w/ your big heart and your open and discerning mind, and you will spread your healing and peace.

because that's how you do it.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Sanjay said...

There is no way to prepare for something like this.
And what Jen said.

3:45 AM  
Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

You have a clear head and great compassion. You'll be okay. You'll probably cry when you're there, but what feeling human being wouldn't?

8:22 AM  
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9:52 AM  
Blogger Thailand Gal said...

There are certain places I've visited where holding it together in any respect required a lot of numbing. My guess is that you will have to do that to function. We have to keep perspective. The processing takes time.

Peace,

~Chani

10:12 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

You're going to Rwanda now??

Jeez. I'm so jealous. I've been to Tanzania and Egypt, but never Rwanda. I can't wait to see the photos from that trip.

The movie is awsome. The events are just so tragic.

10:22 AM  
Blogger QT said...

What an incredible movie that was. And I am with meno - I don't know if you can prepare. It will be an experience that will touch you deeply, as it should.

It always amazes me the cruelty we are capable of. I am curious as to what you will see as far as products when you are there?

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Gordo said...

Canadian General Romeo Dallaire was heading the UN mission to Rwanda when the slaughter began. His book, Shake Hands With the Devil, is an earth shaking narrative of what happened.

He mustered out of the military when he got home and hasn't been the same man.

1:21 PM  

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