Rwanda is the land of a thousand hills. Or so I’m told.
I’ve also been told that the country is rapidly rising – economically and socially – through investment, technology, and an impressive work ethic.
I know I’m not allowed to bring plastic bags into Rwanda, nor can I get on a motorbike taxi without a helmet. If I want to go see the gorillas in Virunga National Park, I have to make reservations months in advance. Friends and colleagues have told me that Kigali is one of the safest cities in Africa and that it’s a relatively easy place to live.
I also know about Rwanda’s darker history; the genocide that began in April 1994 and that resulted in the massacre of almost one million Tutsi and moderate Hutus. I have read about the Arusha Accords and the plane crash of President Habyarimana that eventually incited the events of 1994 for which Rwanda is most well known. Over the last semester I have researched the current political situation in Rwanda and written about the political and social rise of women after the genocide.
I have done my homework and learned a great deal about what I will be doing in Rwanda as an Advocacy Peace Fellow working with Survivor Corps, an international organization, formerly known as the Landmine Survivors Network. I’m excited to meet Albert, my Survivor Corps colleague based in Kigali, and begin working on a survey project and documentary about Survivor Corps peer support program.
All in all, I consider myself well informed about Rwanda’s history, political and economic situation, its potential for growth, and the organization I’ll be working with this summer. Yet, as I pack my bags, make housing arrangements, pick up my malaria prescription, and begin saying goodbye to friends, I have no idea what to expect when I arrive in Kigali on June 2nd…
Posted By Lisa Rogoff
Posted May 27th, 2009