10 November 2008

Kigali Genocide Memorial

The second day in Kigali I did not feel like a tourist…

The Kigali Memorial is the burial site for over 250,000 Rwandans… it is located in plain view for the 600,000 citizens of their capital city… they do not want to forget and neither should we…



At first glance it was beautiful and completely surrounded by gardens… whether it was the garden of young fruit trees symbolizing the youth who were victims or the garden of cactus symbolizing the Rwandans fight to protect themselves while the world turned their backs… each garden taught us about the genocide…



There was also a string of 3 gardens which told the story of the genocide from start to finish… the first garden was filled with an abundance of plants with a spring shooting out from the ground forming a peaceful stream… this garden taught of their peaceful beginnings, unity and times of prosperity…



When the stream reached the second garden it split in several directions… each divide manned by an elephant with his back to the other elephants… Rwanda is filled with elephants because an elephant does not forget… this garden taught of the division which took place and how the Rwandans turned their backs on each other…



The stream reached the third garden were a spring shot from the ground out of a pile of rocks… again it was surrounded by elephants but this time the elephants were talking and one was even on a mobile phone… this garden taught of the unity which was resorted and the importance of not forgetting as we tell and teach others…



The four hours at the memorial were difficult as we read, heard and watched stories of genocide from its early roots to its painful and longstanding impact… as we heard story after story I wanted it to stop… but more importantly I wanted to remember…

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