25 August, 2012
We are in Rwanda now. What a beautiful country. I always thought it would be a merging country with Uganda…more or less the same, but it’s not. It’s trashless and beautiful countryside. I mean, I have only seen the samll villages on the drive in but it looks nothing like Mukono.
For these first couple of days, we are staying in a guesthouse. There are 50 of us…USP students, a few honors UCU students, staff and a handful of reverends. It’s a nice place. We are here on this trip for multiple reasons…today was Rwandan “help a neighbor” workday. It is tradition that people come together in the community and help each other complete projects. We helped the guest house we were in by moving large rocks to build a foundation. Some of us moved rocks through an assembly line and others carried on our backs, heads, shoulders and hips. What a workout and boy did we get dirty! It was simply great.
The other purpose for us being here is to experience the history and effects of the Rwandan genocide. I have watched “Hotel Rwanda” before and a documentary with USP students just two days prior, but we watched a PBS movie tonight called “The Ghosts of Rwanda”. It simply blew my mind again and by the end, listening to video recordings of President Clinton barely even ap0logizing for the stupidity of the United States by not stepping in to help save Rwandan Tutsis in 1994…oh, I am ashamed of my country. And this was in 2004 after Clinton had seen the endless remains of bodies in Rwanda…the bodies floating down the Nile, the skeletons in large Catholic churches and he cannot even say more than “Yes the U.S. has made some mistakes!” What B.S.! In writing in my journal, I did not even have to hesitate to write those words; it is just that disgusting. It makes me so angry! And to those of you who might not like me writing that, you are likely of age to remember the times of the genocide occurring, so you should be able to relate that much more.
I am currently reading “A Problem From Hell” by Samantha Powers, who appeared in both Rwandan genocide documentaries. There are so many genocides that have happened in the world, and the U.S. promised after the Holocaust (which was NOT the first genocide, by the way) that they would never let something like that occur without getting involved ever again. “Never again” was their statement justifying our lack of action. Yet the genocide in Rwanda came around and politicians would not touch the word simply to avoid that past promise.
I just can’t help but sit here and think, this world trauma just occurred during my lifetime…when I was two years old, living on this earth, being dressed up in drilly dresses and bows for my little hairless head, being adored by my family as the first child. All the while, 800,000 innocent Rwandans, including little girls my age were being slaughtered on the other side of the world. It just hurt my heart so badly and I had to just weep and ask God, “Why? Wh am I here and why do I have to know all of this?” Is ignorance not bliss? I ask Him, “Lord, you have given me an empathetic heart, but it’s now hitting me that you have called and are going to continue calling much sacrifice from me. So what does that look like?” THat’s a scary question…it’s like praying for patience. For now the Lord has reminded me that He is sovereign. He forgives the killers and those just living without Him equally, on the same level. He also damns them to hell equally. My Lord does not judge by “what’s fair is fair”. He can’t, He is God, sovereign and beyond that human hitch of ours. It is that characteristic of God and only that that keeps me from questioning His hand in Rwanda.