This post was published on Opportunity-UK’s travel blog at opportunityinrwanda.wordpress.com.
Today, we visited the Genocide Museum in Kigali before heading to the Virunga Mountains. We are miles away from an internet connection so have texted these entries to Mark at Opportunity-UK. We’ll post photos once we get reconnected.
Today has been filled with all kinds of emotions. We started by visiting the Genocide Museum. A very moving, emotional and informative trip. Not without tears and much sadness. It left me totally stunned at the level of evil people are capable of. It is not possible for me to comprehend how man can be so cruel to his own brother. At the same time I’m amazed and reassured by the heart of forgiveness and reconciliation people are determined to have here. This is indeed a remarkable country.
As I write, we‘ve said so long to Veronique and Elizabeth who’ve left for London. We are now ensconced in the breathtakingly beautiful Virunga Mountains. Welcomed by traditional dancers, we even got to show off some of our own dance moves. Now, from my simple but very comfy room, I can hear a multitude of unfamiliar animal and bird sounds. A fire is burning in my room and a noticeable drop in temperature tells me this next part of the adventure will be entirely different. I miss my family in a good way and simply can’t wait to see the gorillas in the wild tomorrow.
The emotions of the morning at the Genocide Museum left us deeply sad, silent and without appetite. It is beyond understanding… Still we keep meeting people from all strands of society who live for rebuilding Rwanda. Among the Opportunity ladies we met today, their strength is humbling.
There is a tailor with a great workshop with eight sewing machines, who beams happiness and I am glad to have captured her beautiful smile with my camera. She will definitely get her photo on our blog when we get back to an internet connection. Now in view of our trek in the misty Virungas tomorrow, I am retreating to our room with the many animal noises around. Can’t wait for the gorillas! I am grateful to my family to let me be here!
This morning we visited the Genocide Museum in Kigali. So much to take in—the brutality Rwandans have experienced denies belief. How any human beings can be so cruel to one another is impossible for me to understand. The work being done toward reconciliation and forgiveness by those wronged shows the opposite extremes of compassion and kindness. It will take me a very long time to digest some of the stories I have heard today. The “land of 1,000 hills” made more sense to me today when we drove into the mountains toward DRC to see another Trust Group in rural Rwanda.
Groves of banana trees—I have never seen as many bananas as in the last few days! Hope the rest of my group enjoys the gorilla trek—I am so sorry to be leaving them. It has been a privilege sharing this experience with such a lovely group of women and I have so enjoyed getting to know them all. God Bless.
For me, the Genocide Museum affirmed the foolishness of man over the history of time. Our desire to box in everyone results in such division, as was evidenced when under Belgian rule the Tutsis and Hutus were classified and separation began. The museum room that touched me most was the children’s room where they detailed each child’s favorite food, best friends, favorite TV show, and then the last thing they said and how they died. It’s hard even to write about it now.
The day changed mood once we headed into the hills for our two-hour drive north. Every single inch of these thousand hills is terraced and under some crop or other. Rwandans are working hard. The Opportunity clients we met this afternoon are too, and very successfully. A good finish. Early to bed now. Silverback gorillas tomorrow!!