Captain's Blog #Gatanu The Man in the Sweater Vest

Captain Samuel M. Merriman of the ship HisThoughtsAndExperiencesAboutRwandaTrip2014/2015 (who comes up with these names?) signing in, it is Information Age Date: January 3rd, 2015:

Today we went to our second Genocide Memorial: Nyamata Genocide Memorial. The interesting fact about Nyamata was that it is a church and thought to be a holy/safe place for the Tutsi. The tragedy happened were the Hutu came and started shooting on the church. The slaughtering happened quickly and a few people able to flee to the forest and survive. It was very tough to listen to our tour guide has he led around the church. The most difficult moment came when he took us to a memorial added under the church. From ceiling to floor white laminate square tile swallowed the room and in the center was a glass triangle. The contents of said triangle from top to bottom: Bones of arms and legs, next many skulls with different fractures or bullet hole, and lastly at the bottom was a coffin with a woman resting inside.

Here is the story behind this young lady:

She was raped multiple times, by multiple men and then was killed. But her story does not end there, after being raped and murdered the soldiers tied her hands to her feet in a looking up to heaven triangle pose, and then interested a stick through her private area all the way up to her shoulder – I also think they cut off an arm as well.


Needless to say that was an extreme story and very hard to take in, just the complete and utter destruction and violence of the Hutu onslaught on the Tutsi. The picture only worsened as events were furthered explained. After the majority of the adults were killed, the Hutu came in and rounded up any remaining children lined them up against the back of the Alter, and then started shooting or bashing them against the wall. We moved out of the church and to the mass graves in the back. The tour ended there with our guide saying the site is still finding bodies and the body count is increasing always.


The real gift of this trip came when a man with a sweater vest started talking and his translator said, “I would like to tell you my story, I was here when the killing happened”, his story continued and he told us his wife and four kids (eldest was 5) were all killed here. He thanked us for coming and for honoring all the dead. His name was Pastor Vianney Ntez’ryayo and his story touched the whole group, this led to a group prayer led by Carol! This pray was powerful it was just beautifully said off the top of Carl’s head.

There is a picture I will upload as soon as I can! Internet is being not very nice!

On the bus ride back I reflected on what happened and wrote this poem. This poem like the first is not finished, but I just wanted to throw it up on the blog so you all had something to read! Again it is just a reflection of how each one of us could be stoppers or helpers of genocide.


I Am Who Am

I am Sam, Sam I am

            That is what I know.

But who is Sam?

            That is what I want to know.

I am who can never let genocide happen again.


I am who can let genocide happen again.

            I still don’t know what is to come.

Hands ever present, guiding me along.

            Are we all too far gone to change?

I’m struggling to see where I belong.

            All I know I’m not I am who am.