Today was filled with highs and lows. We started today at Church-- some in a nearby town for Catholic services and the rest of us at Protestant services at the village. Students from the village sat amongst us and translated the service into English, and we all enjoyed the singing and dancing that took place. Some of us were touched because the experience was so different from what we are used to, and others because it was amazing to be in a service halfway around the world that was so similar to the kind they would attend at home.
After attending church services, we set out to visit two other, very different churches-- churches that were massacre sites during the genocide in 1994. Below is one student's reflection on her experience at the sites,
"I can't hold my emotions. I am standing in a place where 5,000 people died. It was a devastating massacre. I can only imagine the emotions of fear that took over this room. People praying and hoping to God that they would survive. However, after going to the second church memorial called Nyamata my feelings changed. I have a stomach ache, I feel like vomiting. I am overwhelmed and have tears in my eyes for these people I have not met. The oder of death around me and the aroma of flesh is repulsing. I feel as though i am in a place that was filled equally with strong hatred and strong faith by those in the church. The church is filled with wardrobes of people hiding. Shoes, shifts and even bibles laying all around."
Our last stop was dinner in Kigali at a restaurant overlooking the city, with an amazing view. Over dinner, we had a chance to unwind and spend time with each other after a challenging, yet powerful and inspirational day.