What an extraordinary country this is! We began our stay with a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial, which our friends highly recommended. It’s difficult to put into words the horrific history that is portrayed here, where the ruling Hutus brutally massacred the Tutsis in 1994. It’s incredibly sobering to see humanity at its absolute worst.

But what’s even more extraordinary, is the resounding message that the Tutsis are proclaiming. They are promoting an ethos of mercy and forgiveness toward the Hutus, saying that’s the only way to move forward. Many moving testimonies were shared in this vein. I was so impressed with this difficult but wise approach to promote healing and growth.

Another extraordinary practice of the Rwandans is their commitment to keeping their country clean. After the genocide, when there was so much that needed to be rebuilt, the government established a day each month where all citizens were required to help rebuild their community in some way. This practice has evolved to a community clean up day once a month, where everyone is required to help clean their region. And it shows! It’s strikingly clean everywhere you look. It’s clear Rwandans take pride in their beautiful green country of rolling hills and productive fields.

On a more personal note, we very much enjoyed visiting with some wonderful Rwandans and our new friends, a family with 6 delightful children.

Our family with our friends, the Webers.
We learned about how these Rwandans make compost and plant crops. They gave us a young avocado tree to plant.
We’re putting the avocado tree in the ground.
They taught us to make a liquid compost out of cow urine (Jessica’s pouring it here), any kind of vegetation, ashes and water. This making of the fertilizer with natural resources has made a big difference for them because commercial fertilizer is very expensive and has become even more so recently.
A sweet girl holding an ear of corn we just picked.
The pastor is presenting a bike to a parishioner as a gift. Bikes are like gold here. They are low maintenance and provide opportunities for everything from a way to transport precious water to your home, transport other goods and groceries, transport people, and a way to start a business by delivering goods.

One young man who received such a bike started a business whereby he fills 5-gallon Jerry cans from the lake and delivers them to people’s homes for a fee.

A man carries several Jerry cans full of water, often up hills, and sometimes it takes 2 or 3 people to push the heavily loaded bikes. This a common sight during the dry season, as many people don’t have running water.
Local women from the parish.
The kids all wanted to high-five Jared as we left the grounds.
One day we went into some of the classrooms of the local boarding school and shared about our culture and helped them practice their English speaking. Jessica and Gianna shared in one class.
Jared and I shared in a classroom where they taught him how they dance!
This is a picture of the side of a school building, and it tells the story of a miracle in the village. On April 20, 2004, at 6 am, there was an earthquake and a huge crack appeared on this wall (shown in the small image of the wall). The people came together and prayed and prayed that God would fix it. It seemed like it was bad enough that it would be prohibitively expensive to repair, and it was an important building for the school. At 11am the same day, they looked for the crack, and it was no longer there! They recognized the miracle, but they called an inspector to come and verify. When the inspector got there, two weeks later, he could find no crack and nothing wrong with the building. So they made this memorial to remember what God did for them.

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  1. Thank you for the text, Allison! I just read this post! I cracked up at the part where Jared danced for them. Is there a video? 😊 I’m also encouraged to hear about the Tutsi message of mercy. How beautiful and hopeful!

    1. Yes, there is a video! This was actually of one of the boys teaching me their traditional wedding dance that the men do which he told me is supposed to mimic the movement of a bull, all the kids got a kick out of me trying to do it.
      See video here.

      1. Thanks, Jared, for explaining this. That is interesting that the wedding dance is like the movement of a bull. That is cool that you tried to do it. I’m sure that made the kids feel that you accepted them and their culture.

  2. I loved hearing about the forgiving spirit of the Tutsis. I loved seeing the pictures of each of you and all you experienced in Rwanda. That is cool that the kids wanted to high five Jared and that he showed them how Americans dance. That is cool that Gianna and Jessica shared in the class and helped them practice their English. That is cool that you got to plant the avocado tree and learned to make a less expensive fertilizer. It appears that the Rwandan people are very hardworking. I liked hearing about the miracle and the sign of remembrance. I liked seeing all the pictures.

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