“This is about our past and our future.
Our nightmares and dreams.
Our fears and our hope.
Which is why we begin where we end.
With the country we love.”
~Kigali Memorial Center
“Never Again”…”We Will Never Forget You”…banners with these inscriptions on flower baskets were lined up on the mass graves.
The Rwandan Genocide of 1994. A tragic time in history. Horrific. Still fresh. A recovering country.
During our trip to Kigali, Rwanda, we took the time to learn about this history, to honor the ones who were killed, listen to the ones who lived, and to hear their stories.
‘Hotel Rwanda.’ Many of you have seen this movie. In fact, many people know about the Rwandan Genocide because of this movie. Our new and dear friend David who lost his whole family in the genocide when he was 10 years old, said to me: “Nadine…the movie was well done but did not even show remotely how bad it really was…it couldn’t have shown how bad it really was.”
The way people were tortured and killed…I can’t even repeat or write to you about it.
We walked through the memorials in Ntamara & Nyamata churches and were surrounded by thousands of skulls, bones, & clothing that were still stained with blood. There were still old bags of beans and dishes that people brought in when they went into the churches for hiding…to a place they thought they were safe. Over a million people were murdered in a period of 3 months…all of them having died the most horrific & brutal death possible. Women were serially raped before their families, and then the killings would begin.
Jean-Baptiste, the national director of Rwanda YFC, was targeted to be killed during the genocide because although he was Hutu, he was a christian leader, preaching peace between the ethnic groups. Of the dozens of Rwanda YFC staff members, he was the only one who survived the genocide. In the years that have passed, he rebuilt Rwanda YFC from the ground up. They run an amazing organization that we had the pleasure of learning about and spending time with during our trip.
Every Rwandan has lost somebody they loved.
But God has been restoring this country. It is a beautiful country & has come so far so fast. What a blessing. Strong and decisive leadership, along with massive international attention and support, has allowed Rwanda to thrive. Kigali is the cleanest city in Central-East Africa.
Burundi has been through civil war. Hundreds of thousands were killed in Burundi over a longer period of time, ending in 2008. Every Burundian has lost somebody they loved. There is a tenuous peace here, but the country remains undeveloped, poor, and hungry, with so far to go.
Please pray for restoration, for hope, and for a prosperous future for the countries of Burundi and Rwanda.
To learn more about Rwanda Youth for Christ, click HERE.
God bless you all.
3 thoughts on “The Reality of Rwanda.”
Josh, your photos are beautiful and powerful. What an amazing opportunity for you to go and see thing things you saw. Just think – you and Nadine are part of the solution for building Burundi into a stronger country! What a blessing you are to them! Love you and miss you! Bec
Thanks Bec! Nadine took most of the shots for this one, I can’t take all the credit! Love you tons! See you soon!
Hi Josh and Nadine
It’s great to see what wonderful work you are both doing in Burundi. In honor of your father retiring from the CVICU in Edmonton we had a collection and have donated $1052 to Youth Unlimited for you to use towards your mission in Burundi. We wish you both well and again congratulate you on your efforts.