We started out the day with driving to Bugesera to visit the Nyamata Memorial. The Nyamata Memorial was a Church that many of the Tutsi found refuge in during the genocide. One day, the Hutu perpertrators broke into the church, using grenades, rifles, and machetes. They killed every single person out of the 10,000 that were hidden there.
Inside the memorial, the pews are littlered with the blood-stained clothes of the people who were killed that day. From the shawls of older women to the smallest baby onsies, the sight was shell shocking.
We were led down a set of tile stairs to a crypt, where a glass case held some of the skulls and bones of those murdered that day. Some of the skulls were shattered from what we could only assume was the blunt force of a machete. Others had the remnants of gunshots.
After we visited this crypt, we walked outside to the mass graves for everyone in the church, as well as those who died in the surrounding areas. The remains of about 50,000 people were burried in these mass graves.
The Memorial is a gritty rememberance of the brutal killings, but also a physical display of how far Rwanda has come as a nation in twenty short years. As a nation, Rwanda has united again. They have done what many of us have thought to be impossible: forgiving those who wronged them and their loved ones in one of the worst ways possible.
After we left the memorial, we drove to one of Africa New Life’s schools, so we could run a VBS-type camp for the primary (elementary) aged kids. We started by serving lunch to the kids and playing with them on the field.
We played tag, catch, and other various fun games. The “Bannana Song” and “Waka Waka” by Shakira were two favorites amongst the schoolyard.
After lunch and playtime, we started a series of stations for the kids, including playdough, coloring, and outdoor games. We played with the kids for about two hours and then we headed back to The Guest House.