Even though we were leaving Ethiopia we were all looking forward to visiting Rwanda. Personally I didn’t really know what to expect since I had heard that from country to country in Africa they all have very unique societies. Even looking back at Egypt to Ethiopia the differences were incredible!
We touched down in Rwanda and were greeted by our wonderfully hospitable hosts! Their names were Glenda, Peter, and Dianne and as soon as we dropped our bags off at the YWAM base they wanted us to get an idea of what the country has gone through. As we approached the genocide museum you could sense the weight of the memorial grounds. Walking through the museum and reading of the calamities, was utterly heartbreaking, there are no words to do this description justice. The entire time a lump was in my throat. Holding back tears of confusion was all I could do while reading. For humanity to deteriorate due to propaganda in such a devastating way and people turn on friends or family was perplexingly as well as scary all at once. Processing this visit was tough for the team and took some multiple days to just get through the first layer.
Once we left the memorial a somber evening followed and four of us prepared to head to the countryside with Peter and Dianne about two hours outside of Kigali. Another thing we noticed about the capital in Rwanda was that it was excessively clean. It even put most North American cities to shame in my opinion! Of course getting a little ways out of the city that slightly changed but so did the standard of living. Staying with some local Rwandan’s who are doing aid work with YWAM in the area it was fascinating getting to know them and here about the vast amount of work that is being accomplished in these villages. One of the highlights for me was walking the red dirt roads and being able to see the people go about their lives. The opportunity repeatedly would arise where they stood mesmerized by our white pearly skin and I could jester to the camera seeing if they would give me the go ahead to capture their portrait. It was also inevitable that the children would take the time to holler “Muzungo Muzungo Muzungo!” multiple times at us, which means white person. Often it was comically entertaining to see some of the kids face’s light up as we drove by on motto bikes while they emerged from their mud homes to provide us with this greeting.
Overall Rwanda was a breath of fresh air considering its heavy past. When I think of the country the words resilience and hope come to mind. Both of these terms define the people and growing culture there. Unlike most of the locations so far, I would love to return one day in order to experience more of the geographically small but diverse country since we only spent a short four days there. In addition to this I would love to take more time to photograph the people since the images I did capture are some of my favourites from the entire trip! Enjoy and let me know which one is your favourite.