September 15, 2016


i spent the last week in Rwanda since i still have no work permit and needed to do a visa run.  also, contacts there + market analysis for the company + mountain gorillas + my birthday = win/win.  don't check my math - not sure that my calculus professor will agree with that but i'm in Africa and the math is variable.

the difference between Rwanda and Tanzania is shockingly surreal. i probably mentioned from a post about Nairobi, but when there are paved roads, curbs, sidewalks and street lights (or even just electricity) it elevates a society to a different level.  it's clean and the drivers so polite you feel like you are in an alternative universe.  i'm constantly told it is safe to walk at night in the streets (and we do with no problem) or to sleep with your windows open (which I don't) and in general to wander freely without concerns about safety.  this seems absurd to me in a country where 1 million people were slaughtered by friends and neighbors while back in Tanzania where there has not been ethnic violence everyone is in lock down by dark.

i had been warned by a friend in Tanzania to not try to put on blinders about the genocide but i thought i'd give it a try anyway.  I remain physically ill and in tears whenever I bring to mind the killing places I visited in Cambodia, another genocide that happened in my lifetime.

When I arrived I was given the same advice by another expat there along with a book called 'Machete Season, the killers speak'.  So, off I trot to the Genocide Museum, watching as much as I can of the video testimony but averting my eyes from that which is most distasteful.  I avoid the room with the skeletons of those that were murdered.  I force myself to walk among the large concrete slabs that cover the bodies of over 250,000 people but i walk quickly.

people don't speak of it, other than to refer to the violence, or unstable time or 'before'.

i'm never going to be an expert on the happenings of the Rwanda genocide but there were some scary things i learned and i will share.  1) the genocide was not a surprise - the UN was briefed about it in advance  2) the catholic clergy in country were responsible for thousands of deaths and 3) the possibility of another similar event is highly likely.

much better stuff in the next post.

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