Saturday, May 28, 2011
This blog post was written on 5/27, but the internet was down and I couldn't post it...
"We are all born on days when too many people died in terrible ways, but you still have to call it a birthday." --Andrea Gibson
Yesterday we drove to Nyamata and visited a genocide memorial at Nyamata Church. In August 1994 thousands of Tutsis sought asylum in the church and thousands lost their lives there. We walked through doors scared by grenades and entered a cavernous room filled with rows and rows of pews covered with the clothing of the victims. The ceiling was pocked with bullet holes and the windows had been shattered. The entire church has been preserved as well as possible, leaving a hauntingly authentic feel. Behind the church were two mass graves, one which we were able to enter. The dark underground room had shelves with coffins as well as hundreds of skulls and other bones. After visiting the grave we held a small interfaith memorial service for the victims of the genocide. Our trip coincides with the 100 worst days of the genocide, and it reminded me of a line of poetry by the spoken word artist Andrea Gibson, "we are all born on days when too many people died in terrible ways, but you still have to call it a birthday." Today we began our day celebrating Humna's birthday and ended the day by celebrating all of the students birthdays for the month. One key concept behind the village is acknowledging the past, present, and futures of each child. By juxtaposing Rwanda's tremendous loss with the birthdays of her future leaders, I have been reminded to be hopeful, to celebrate life, and to keep looking forward.
All the stars,