Rwanda is a wonderful country. It is a very small country with very fertile land. It also has more people per square mile
than any other country in Africa.
The people are very poor. We saw almost no automobiles and even bicycles were scarce. One day we were on a very
poor dirt road miles from the hospital when we encountered a group fo thirty people from a village taking one of their
sick--manually carrying the stretcher--to the hospital. There is virtually no running water so children as well as adults
are seen everywhere carrying jugs of water--sometimes for miles. We saw virtually no pets and even farm animals were
scarce. Virtually every acre of land was farmed. People did look relatively well fed and groomed and were very friendly.
|Everywhere we went, there were many people on the roads but motor vehicles were scarce.
These children were excited to have their pictures taken. When I showed them their picture on the back of the
camera, they jumped up and down with glee.
All over Rwanda we saw many women working in the fields with their babies on their backs. Many were very young
women. We saw this woman as we walked out of the national park through the farms. She asked the ranger if one
of us did not want to take her baby.
Our lodge was at the top of a mountain looking over two pristine lakes. It was a view Americans would pay much for. In
Rwanda, houses are very simple, but almost all come with spectacular views. Nightime was incredible. Even though we
knew tens of thousands of people were out there, it was almost pitch black with very few lights as most people have no
electricity. Our second evening some of the local people came and put on entertainment for us just for the tips we would
All over Rwanda there are monuments to the genocide. In Kigali we visited the most substantial of these memorials. It
was a world class monument with much information about the genocide in Rwanda as well as similar events in other
places in the world. Prior to the Belgians colonizing Rwanda, there was little conflict in this region of the world. The
Belgians divided the Africans into groups and gave privileges to those with lighter skin and smaller noses. People were
given identity cards showing these designations and the perceived more intelligent "Tutsis" were designated to harshly
rule the rest of the country. When the wickedness of genocide unleashed its fury, the masses turned on the Tutsis. A
priest locked his Tutsis parishioners in the church so they could be massacred by the rest of his congregation. A small
international force could have prevented this killing of a million people, but the head of the United Nations was ordered
out and the world sat by and let this tragedy unfold.
Today the people of Rwanda are dealing with this awful legacy. Trials are occurring and efforts being made for
reconciliation. Over and over the people of Rwanda told us to tell people that Rwanda is a good place to visit.