Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rwanda Revisited

So I made it to Uganda (yeah!). Literally we had one day at home in Kampala and all we did was laundry. 5 people + 7 days in Europe + no washing machine = a LOT of dirty clothes. Then the next day very early we went on safari at a park called Murchison Falls. We spent two days there and got home Saturday night. Then, again in the early morning, we left on Sunday for Rwanda.

Honestly, I was nervous about going back. (For those of you who haven’t read last year’s Rwanda post, click here. It might explain why I was anxious, but it’s a pretty heavy post so be warned.) Last year was so hard to stomach, I wasn’t sure I needed to witness all the stuff again. In fact, my mom and Abi didn’t. They sat outside the Genocide Museum and stayed at the hotel for the church site. The problem is that, going through that museum, you are hit by wave after wave of awful information and you start to shut yourself off in a futile attempt to prevent your heart from drowning. Last year I couldn’t decide how to feel, there was so much pain being thrown at me. So I had to mentally digest everything, “Oh my, that’s a child with a massive scar in its head,” before I could feel any of it. But this year I was able to feel more real empathy, with less processing. Still, by the end my heart was lead and my feelings rather numb and worn out.

The next day, however, compensated for the pain as we experienced the living Rwanda. A group of us decided to go on an adventure to a lake on the Congo border. The scenery on the way there was GORGEOUS!

Rwanda is known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills” (Milles Collines, if you’re familiar with that phrase), and it lives up to its name. 



Obviously I was obsessed with the beauty of this country.

When we made it to Lake Kivu, we commissioned a ferry boat to take us on a tour. At one point we asked the driver to stop the boat and everyone (except for me) jumped in for a swim. The driver and his wife thought we were crazy, and I think we were because we found out later that Lake Kivu is infested with the bacteria that cause Bularsia. Hurray for tropical diseases! And I didn’t even escape it because I was standing in the stagnant water in the bottom of the boat. No one’s had any symptoms so far but I hear it takes 7 years to kill you anyways…

The offending body itself
But the absolute highlight of the Rwanda trip was on the drive back to Kigali when we stopped on the side of the road to take a group picture with one of those fantastic views. When I got out of the bus, Peter has his camera out and his fingers to his lips. I peered over the edge of the cliff and heard what he’d found. There was a group of kids singing together at the bottom of the hill. As soon as they finished we all burst into applause, which started them into another song, this time with dancing too. All of the sudden, two white streaks started hurtling themselves down the hillside as Wayne and Brady ran to join the dancers. None of us could resist this experience and we all hurtled down after them (some with less grace than others). What followed I can only describe as the most joyous, energetic, amazing, mind-blowing, African experience I have ever had. It culminated with us, crazy Muzungus, joining into their beautiful dance, ruining it but also getting to beat our feet and celebrate life with them, in the total ecstasy that was their motion. Oh, and this video might help explain it, compliments of the amazing Peter Carroll.


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