Today we awoke to eggs and toast, along with cinnamon tea (?) in traditional African style; followed up by our usual amazing concoction of fruit. Then we were off, travelling by minibus to the Genocide memorial museum which can only be summerised as emotional.
The journey around the museum told the story of the 1994 Genocide, and how one community was torn apart. A comment stood out to us, where you were catagorised by how many cows you owned (10 or more cows, a Hutu. Any less, the minority, Tutsi). How can anyones life be determined by how many cows they own?
A room filled with pictures of lost strangers suddenly became a room full of people we felt we knew. Every picture tells a story they say, we couldn't help but feel the pictures were picked specifically to show traits of lost loved ones. In some cases they weren't even pictures, just words by family members.
The most emotionally straining room was yet to come. Empty rooms with pictures of specific children, their names, ages, food they enjoyed, and how they died. “Age 2, squashed against a wall.” in a church, where most would feel safe. “Grenade thrown in shower”, “Shot in head”, “Beaten to death.” How can any human being justify killing innocent children in such a brutal way. Next came this quote, “A tree can only be straightened when it is young”, the Hutu intention was to eradicate all possibility that Tutsi ideas would ever be known, therefore, killing children was their answer. No future generations.
Huge concrete graves were situated in the gardens, the luckiest were taken here, from shallow graves, or just picked up from where they died. Flowers were laid on an open grave, with the words “never again”.
To us (Katie Maw and Aliesha), we are heartbroken. We're trying to think of more words to desrcibe our expereicne and how we feel, yet there aren't any more. We will leave you with a final quote, again from the museum.
“He who saves one life, saves the world”
And just to mention that the rest of the day included visiting the Catch Up Centre to see what it is like, sorting resources and preparing for the week. All good stuff that you’ll hear more about as the week goes on, but for today the blog focus is the Genocide Memorial Museum