Village outside of Kigali
We spent the first part of our morning at a village that was constructed to assist survivors of the genocide. There, we had the chance to speak with survivors as well as spend time with the kids from the community. This was probably the highlight of my trip. I made friends with a 2 year old kid (pictured below) named Chancé. The kids were so much fun and even took to my camera and become photographers for the morning.
Meeting with the International Red Cross
Meeting with Student Survivors Group (AERG – Association Étudiants Rescapé Génocide)
One of the afternoons we meet with the a students survival group at a university in Butari. With over 1,000 members they are broken up into three categories, 1st survivors, 2nd other student members and 3rd, honorable members that are not students such as a professors. The student who I was matched up withs name was Christian who was a second year statistics student. I do not believe it is my place to share his story, however he was a survivor of the genocide and lost family during the conflict. He told me about how the government has assisted him and other students who survived financially and has proved them hope for the future. Our conversation quickly switched to music and weekend plans, providing a glimpse into the lives of students in their twenties which is much like the scene in the United States.
Belgian Peacekeeper Memorial
At the start of the genocide in 1994, 10 Belgian peacekeepers, who were protecting the Prime Minister at the time were rounded up and killed by Hutu extremists in the blue building below. The pillars in the second picture represent each peacekeeper who was killed and the notches denote their age at the time of death.
Hotel Des Mille Collines aka Hotel Rwanda
Presidential Palace Museum
The Presidential Palace Museum was pretty incredible. It offered a glimpse into the life of t Rwanda during the monarchy and before its independence in 1962. The king used to live in huts as seen as below, and the third pictures shows the intricacies of the ceiling. By the time we had left..everyone wanted a straw “palace”.
Yes, I got my hair partially braided, a long with most of the girls on the trip and some guys. Some of you may be thinking..”what in the world is that red doing there?” Apparently it’s the “cool” thing to do in Rwanda. I will take it out soon no worries, I won’t embarrass the family for too long hehe