Wednesday, December 26, 2012

One month out: Why Rwanda?

One month to the day from my flight to Rwanda! Having survived finals and my little sister's surgery I can think of nothing else. I am bringing back my travel blog for the time that I will be gone and will update it now and then before I leave. So today: Why Rwanda? 

When I say 'I'm studying in Rwanda next semester' I get one of three reactions: “Rwanda eh? Don't stay in any hotels, har har” or “Uhm, where is that again?” and finally “Why?”. I will try to explain. Why would I leave my lovely university, friends, family and boyfriend to study in an obscure African country famous only for violence?

Because I can't stop thinking about it. Because to me Rwanda is a broken heart, my addiction to darkness, my St. Peter's gate, and above all: a question. Because for me, Rwanda embodies the problem of evil and the mystery of resilience. Beyond all things this is what I seek to understand of the world. How can an ordinarily, loving, flawed, special, ordinary human being be twisted to take up a machete and break apart the bodies of the neighbors they once called friend. And following this, how can a country made up murderers and victims go on to become one of the most successful in the region? In Rwanda, all are stained by history. It is a place of trauma so deep I cannot comprehend it, and yet it is the golden child of central Africa, boasting a rapidly growing economy, universal health care and the strongest military in the region. How could it fall so quickly into hell? And even more mysteriously, how did it find it's way out?

This is what I seek to answer in Rwanda. How people found hope and life in the darkest moment of modern history. Want nothing more than to learn enough to help transfer some the lessons of Rwanda to other people struggling against darkness. I am going to Rwanda because I can do nothing else. I would love nothing so wildly as this.  

The beautiful lake Kivu: