There was a Kwibuka observance several weeks ago at Buffalo State. There are events that take place worldwide to remember the genocide and it is often a very solemn event. These Kwibukas take place during the 100 days in which the genocide occurred. This ceremony was very somber, but at the same time full of hope and togetherness.
I wasn't expecting to see many people from the community to come, but to my surprise there were some of my current and former clients there, along with community leaders from various groups from all over Africa. The ceremony and reception after was a time for all of us to reflect and join together, and it was so wonderful to see everyone chatting and discussing, and remembering what brings us together.
The guest speaker, Ms. Chantal Mudahogora, shared her story of survival and strength. I spoke with her afterwards about her research and work in mental health in East African communities, and she is absolutely inspiring.
Last minute I was asked to bring my camera; attached are some pictures from the day.
I am honored to have been given this opportunity to go to Rwanda and look forward to growing from this experience, both professionally and personally. The Great Lakes region in Africa is of great interest to me, especially as a resident of the Great Lakes region in the United States. I currently work as a refugee resettlement case worker at a local agency in Buffalo. Conflict resolution and community building are two topics that are crucial in my work, and I am eager to both share my stories on those subjects and learn from the stories of others. Ultimately, through our collective stories, I hope to witness and engage in the solidarity that has developed in Rwanda since the mid-nineties. My hope is to bring that knowledge back to my work in Buffalo. The lessons learned can then be put into action by aiding in the development of programs that will have a positive effect on the families and communities that I serve.