Captain Samuel M. Merriman of the ship HisThoughtsAndExperiencesAboutRwandaTrip2014/2015 (who comes up with these names?) signing in, it is Information Age Date: January 2nd, 2015:
Hello Crew! This is your Captain signing in for another installment of Captain’s Blog. Today a lot has happened. In the morning we went to GEI headquarters and learned a little more about Rwanda’s history and current times. Stand out fact: 30% of Rwandan teachers are unqualified… so all those teachers out there looking for something to do Rwanda is taking volunteers to help teach their teachers! Also Rwanda is in the process of making their primary schooling free for everyone. The morning was rather light, as after this brief introduction about the culture (Rwanda is growing everyday) we had another delicious lunch! After lunch though things became more intense as we went to our first genocide museum: Kigali Genocide Memorial.
As I walked through the museum and the rose gardens/mass graves outside, I could hear all these side conversations between people about everything except; the memorial and I simply could not understand it. As people do we not have enough time or decency to just take a pause and respect the people’s resting place? That just really baffled me. But once our tour started I felt a heavy presence blanketing me and when I took a pause to write in my journal my right arm got heavy on my shoulder and around my hand, that was very strange and a little uncomforting but I continued to write what I was feeling.
The walking through the memorial not hard emotionally but difficult to understand how people could actually do this to each other. I stood in front of a video showing people killing each other, and I just do not get it. All I could think was, “Wow, white European’s are assholes.” (excuse my French). For those who do not know before the Belgians started labeling and categorizing the Hutu and Tutsie, they lived in harmony together. They were driven to a point (not to excuse them of their crimes) of hatred between the two and for 100 days this genocide happened. That was another thing that baffles me… how someone could just come into someone else’s country and just change everything, this is part of the reason why Africa is in such a turmoil now. These made up boundaries that clump combative tribes and people together is just not smart. The memorial is very beautiful, and really sheds light about what really happened. I had trouble walking through the room of skulls… I do not like seeing bodies it really does not sit right with me. It is not because I’m afraid of them or that they creepy me out, I just get a sense of (lack of a better word) unholy“ness”. Personally I feel bodies or skulls should be let to rest, I understand why they are on display but I just feel those people went through hell before they died… If it was me shot down I would just like to be buried and allowed to rest. I am very nervous about the other places we are going that do have more than just bones on display, not sure how I will handle it.
Lastly, after we were down with the tour we went to dinner at Sol e Luna. It was a beautiful restaurant and had amazing pizzas! I ordered an apple, goat cheese, and pine nut pizza— that was beyond good! As we ate dinner Drew talked to us about what happen during the day and asked how we felt. I still am unsure how I will feel as we level up in genocide memorials.