Day 16: Kwibuka (Remembering)

Greetings all. As I wrap up my third full week with Aegis, there is a lot on my mind and heart. Last evening, Aegis hosted its annual Kwibuka (Remembering) event for its employees and friends, to honor victims and survivors of the genocide (many of whom work for or with Aegis). It was an honor to have been invited, being the only person in attendance whose life was not altered by the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. And as the citizen of a country that stood back and did nothing as hundreds of thousands were slaughtered, it was a moment of great contemplation on my place in the world as a privileged American.

Each attendee is given a white rose to lay on the mass graves in which 250,000 of their family, friends and loved ones lay.

The ceremony began in the court-yard, then moved to the mass graves, then the eternal flame, then the Peace School. From place to place, there was a time of silence and reflection. Once at the Peace School, the Kwibuka Ceremony officially began. Singers sang songs about their fallen loved ones. Survivors told stories about their lives before, after, and during the genocide. Politicians and soldiers gave encouragement and spoke of Rwanda’s bright future. It was a truly inspiring, but somber, place to be.

Procession stops at the eternal flame for a moment of silence.

Events such as Kwibuka remind us that the past is always part of the present and the future, something that can’t be ignored or forgotten no matter how ugly and tragic it was. Being an intern with an NGO like Aegis Trust, which is consistently striving to remember the past while also focusing on a brighter future, has taught me many lessons about the importance of acknowledging this aspect of life. I look forward to the many other life lessons I will learn in the rest of my time in Kigali.

Kwibuka 2018, 24 years after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

Tune in for blog #5 next Friday, June 22nd to learn about my experience fostering meaningful relationships as an intern and an American in Rwanda. Till then, feel free to browse this digital archive of my adventures: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.977445762432130.1073741847.100005001451639&type=1&l=8bd8ac20eb

2 Replies to “Day 16: Kwibuka (Remembering)”

  1. Liz, what a tremendous opportunity and responsibility you have been given with this internship. I cannot think of a better young person to represent America and learn the lessons being taught. You are going to help make the world a better place. Your compassion, intellect and love of your fellow man will help you make and leave your mark on anyone fortunate enough to meet/ work with you. I know it has been my privilege to watch you grow up and go out into the world.

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