YET TO RISE
I first heard of Rwanda when my mom decided to visit Rwanda as Indian Delegation visiting Rwanda. Ever since then I had been reading on the country’s history and I was amazed to see the rapid development that is taking place after one of the most horrifying genocides in history. Therefore, during one of the a long weekends in my school I decided to visit this nation and see for myself. I joined a community service project started by AVEGA AGAHOZO (http://avega.org.rw/) for the Tutsi genocide survivors of 1994. I visited a center outside the main city, Kigali, to interact with the widows of from the genocide. Their bodies still had scars from the genocide, and the details of how their children and husbands died was as if the genocide happened yesterday. However I realised that every single one of them makes a constant effort to move on with their lives by becoming experts in their hobbies. Some at singing, some knitting and others dancing. I went with an intention to help them forget, but I came across something more amazing- I couldn’t expect or wish for anyone of them to forget the past, their stories give them their unique identity and outlook on life. They make them powerful and motivate them to work towards ‘change’.
I spent most of the time touring with my host brother, Rurinda. He taught me about the cultural aspects. One morning, we went to a local primary school. We bought food for the children. I danced and played games, as well as, taught them how to play drums on the native African drums. I learnt to handle kids and just seeing them smile made me happy.
On one of the nights, the Rwandan press was called and I decided to give a speech on what I learnt by simply dancing with a few widows. I am not very good at public speaking and I had to address an issue that has deep cultural, historical and sentimental roots; the wound was still fresh. My speech expressed the warmth i felt and how my views of ‘under developed country’ changed to a ‘country who still hasn’t explored its potential’. I put forward the idea that the problem lies in the scarcity of resources that makes it very difficult for the survivors to get out of the genocides shadow and grow towards a fulfilling life.
Helping this community over the long term needs a sustained effort in a number of areas like politics, microeconomics, communication, fund raising, etc by volunteers who work hand in hand with the community. I am going to make frequent visits to Rwanda in order to do my part in tackling this problem. (https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqhA4ZQYmus).