Yesterday was a rollercoaster of emotions. From the walking tour of Kigali to the genocide memorial.
My sleep was way off, I went to bed at 9:45pm and was up and ready to go at 3am. But I haven’t felt any jet lag, so that’s a good thing. Most of our village was awake at around 3:30am & 4:00am
We had our first breakfast at the hostel, it was huge toast, with eggs, fruit salad, & scrambled eggs. I also had my first Rwandan Coffee....SO STRONG!
We went to go exchange our money. $100 usd = 87,000 rwf (Rwandan Franc)
Our first part of the day was a walking tour of the oldest part of Kigali. It is run by the women’s center.
Here is some info about the center: “Nyamirambo Women’s Center (NWC), a Rwandan NGO, was launched at the end of 2007 by 18 Rwandese women living in Nyamirambo, Kigali. Together they created a project which aimed to address gender-based violence, gender inequality and discrimination. Today, NWC’s mission is to provide education and vocational training to women who do not have the means to pay for such training on their own, so that they can gain better opportunities for employment.”
The walking tour begins at the Women’s Center with a traditional snack, a quick Kinyarwanda language lesson, and an introduction to the Center and its activities. It then weaves through Nyamirambo, one of Kigali’s oldest neighborhoods. Along the way guides lead participants into a women's hairdressing salon where the adventurous type can get a free braid; into a family compound to pound cassava leaves; by two mosques and a lookout view over Kigali; and into a tailor shop to feel the fabrics you'll otherwise see styled on the streets. The tour concludes with a traditional lunch made and served in the home of Aminatha, NWC's best cook.
This was a kind of a culture shock for me. Just seeing everyone walk around, carrying their food around or sitting in front of their homes preparing meals. We walked into their market, it reminded me of a huge block sale. We witnessed them bartering for clothes so they can sell them on their own.
The second part of the trip was attending the main genocide memorial. I really have no words for that. It was very emotional and I learned what actually happened. It’s just so very sad. Right now in Rwanda it’s Kwibuka 24. The next section is Stolen from the website.
Kwibuka means ‘remember’ in Kinyarwanda, Rwanda’s language. It describes the annual commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
More than one million Rwandans died in the hundred days of the genocide. It was one of human history’s darkest times.
Kwibuka is a series of events taking place in Rwanda and around the world. These events lead up to the national commemoration of the genocide in Rwanda, which begins on 7 April every year. The genocide began on 7 April 1994.
Kwibuka calls on the world to stand against genocide in three key ways:
– To remember: Honouring the memory of those who died. Offering support to those who survived.
– To unite: Rwanda shows that reconciliation through shared human values is possible. We ask the world to do the same.
– To renew: As we build Rwanda anew, we are humbled to share our experiences and learn from others. Let’s create a better world together.
We had the honor to put flowers on one of the mass graves. That’s when it hit me, I just couldn’t understand how the world let this happen. As I put my rose on the grave, all I could say was “I’m sorry.” And that’s when the tears started flowing.
We as humans need to spread love around to everyone. Stop with all of this hate, we are better than that. ❤️🧡💛💜💙💚🖤🇷🇼
Sean Murphy is a Childhood Education Major with a concentration in Social Studies at Buffalo State College. He is very active in the Buffalo theatre community and has performed with many local theatre companies. Sean studied musical theatre in NYC and has worked at Walt Disney World as a Character/Parade performer. He is beyond excited for this extraordinary trip to Rwanda.