Rwanda.

Hey all!

So in the last 10 days, I:

  1. Ate plenty of rice and beans.
  2. Was offered Rwandan citizenship by 2 young (and handsome) men who proposed over lunch
  3. Was in a crammed van with leopard print interior for over 40 hours
  4. Discovered that you have to pay to pee in a cement hole in the ground (and forego the use of toilet paper). I now have an old Rwandan woman still mad at me because I wouldn’t. 
  5. Wrestled wild crocodiles.

so i might have thrown in the last one for shock value, but i promise all the others are true with very little embellishment..

It’s been a long 2 weeks. 

Some other students from the U.S. that are with USP (Uganda Studies Program) and I were able to travel to Rwanda before classes started.  Rwanda is an absolutely gorgeous but complex country.  We drove through the country side through its towering mountains, green vegetation, and extra-bumpy roads.   Its people groups are rich in culture, but have so much history.  Interacting with some that had been through the Genocide broke my heart.  They oftentimes have no family.  None.  There are many walking through the streets with missing limbs and scars that tell their story.  At the same time, so many are still welcoming.  Many people and churches as a whole have begun to reconcile and deal with the pain of over 13 years.  I wanted to share about the people because my heart is still bearing the weight of interactions I had, images I saw, stories I heard, and even some smells that still linger in my mind.  If you don’t know much about the Genocide in 1994, I would encourage you to research it.  Over 4 months over 1 million people were brutally murdered.  Women and children were targeted because they were seen as the future of the Tutsi – the people group that were the victims. 

For the detailed oriented who really want to know, let me give you the brief run-through of the itinerary from what I can remember:

Friday/Saturday: Traveling, guest house in Kigali (Capital of Rwanda)

Sunday: Church, unlike anything you’ve ever been to – singing, dancing, singing, dancing, some talking, then singing and dancing.  

Monday: More traveling- short stop at a Lake in Gahini. The Bishop of Diocese Gahini welcomed us and spoke for a while.

Tuesday: Kigali Memorial Center – much like the Holocaust Museum in D.C.

Wednesday: Murambi Memorial, The University of Rwanda.

Thursday: Kigali? I forget.  Spoke with 2 lawyers of the Gacaca (pronounced Gah-cha-cha) Courts – very fascinating.

Friday: Sheikh Saleh Habimana, the Mufti of Rwanda.  He talked about Human Rights, Terrorism, and Dialogue of the Muslim Community.

Saturday: Visited a small community of women rebuilding and supporting one another. All had been affected by the Genocide in 1994, and were orphans or had no existing family members.

Sunday to present: Lake Bunyonyi, traveling, etc..

At some point I got to see a traditional African dance, which was amazing.  Also, went to the Belgium Memorial for the soldiers killed in the Genocide, and walked around Kigali. The real hotel from the movie Hotel Rwanda was in Kigali; it was a nice hotel, but not at all similar to the one in the movie.

 

For these next couple weeks, I’ll be commuting to classes and staying with a Ugandan family in the community.  I won’t have electricity or running water.  However, I will have a great little tub (Little as in i can barely fit both feet in it) where I’ll be bathing.  I’ll let you know how that works out..  I’m excited, and can’t wait.  I’m looking forward to lots of football games with the kids in the neigborhood (soccer that is) – I’ve already succeeded in finding some little pals to play with. 

 

As for pictures, I tried, but couldn’t get any to upload the other day.  I’ll try again until it works, but I can’t make any promises.  Rest assured that I’m taking them. 

 

I hope that all is well.  Have a GREAT weekend!

 

 

 

 

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Rwanda.

  1. Bt. and Jay

    Sarah! How are you going to remember all of this? It’s too much already. “Too much” is a good thing in this situation. Love you and praying for your health and safety… You are really going to smell.

  2. Carolyn

    Sarah, it’s so nice to read your “journal,” and to hear about all you’re experiencing. I have no doubt that you ARE taking lots of pictures, and know that whether or not they upload, I’ll see them when you return.

    Still thinking about what a wonderful time we had chatting before you left!! I miss you, and am happy that we have this technology to hear from you, see your smiling face, and catch a glimpse of Africa (when you upload!).

    Regarding proposals — remember our conversations! (That’s making me have a HUGE smile!!!)

    Love you, love you, love you!

    Mrs. Davis

  3. Kim

    bury!!! i was so happy to see you updated and hear all about your trip. sometimes i forget you are not here. like yesterday, let me tell you a story. sab went to cedar point so i was hanging out with melody. and all of the sudden she said “bury.” and i got so excited but then remembered you are in a different country. and she really only said your name because she saw penguins as a prize at the one game thing. so that was my story. then i really started missing you as i was thinking about it. and i love you. sounds like all is going well. you are going to have so many sweet experiences. can’t wait to hear about them.
    love.
    -kim:)

  4. Bur, This sounds amazing and I can’t tell you how jealous I am right now. I’m so glad you’re having a great time. I hope everything goes well while you’re living in the community, we miss you, can’t wait to see all your pictures. Love.

  5. mom and pop

    Sarah –
    I’m glad I taught you well and you didn’t pay to pee. I hope the tub works out. Just remember how it was sleeping in the double bed with Bekah and Anna. Was the leopard print van anything like the beast? And, as far as the Rwandan citizenship, I’d much rather you just take a class!
    Thanks for not wrestling the crocs – please at least wait until Jacob gets there for that.
    We’re praying for you and miss you lots!
    Love, mom and dad
    ps what address should I use? Can I just send to the University with your name?

  6. Tammie

    Sarah,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post and providing all the details of your amazing trip. God has really given you a heart for Africa and it’s so amazing to see you embrace the country and its culture. When you’re all done with this and graduate, I think you should really look into becoming the next “Survivor” I really think you have what it takes AND your adventures would be televised, courtesy of CBS!

    I loved the pictures – your camera (and your eye!) rock! Amazing photographs!

    A few of us are sending you a little package shortly…should I include some fiber tabs?? haha

    Look forward to future blogs!
    Love,Tammie

  7. Kellie

    Sarah,

    Loved the pictures and the update! It sounds like you are in a constant state of awe…Gary shared those same feelings while he was in Africa. I especially love the pics of the children.

    Stay safe and healthy!
    You are missed.
    Love, Kellie

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