Rhymes with “Schmawanda”

October 12
Today, my friends, was indeed the most glorious day of my entire life thus far.  Did I win a new car? Nope!  Did I achieve a world-record high jump?  Please.  Did I finally accomplish the one and only abiding dream I’ve ever had? You betcha!  At approximately 12:10 pm local time, I crossed the Ugandan border into Rwanda.  It was quite the process, passport stampings and whatnot, but the feeling of passing into this misty nation was worth any kind of language barrier-ridden international relations I could imagine.
I cannot even hope to adequately describe to you the immense beauty of this place.  These hills are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and I can’t wait to get some pics up here so you can see them as well (just until you fly here yourself, naturally).  They terrace the hills and grow mostly tea from what I’ve seen so far, but there is a definite culture of coffee exportation.  Rwanda is the most densely-populated country in Sub-Saharan Africa, so they need to terrace the hills so they can maximize the farming potential of every inch of space that they can.  You’d think that so many fields would make things feel a little less like “Africa” and a little more like Minnesota, but you’d be delighted to find that the mist covers the banana trees in real life just the same as it does in your mind.  The lush green hills are dotted with the dark forms of women bending to tend their crops, and it is stunningly quiet.  In contrast to the constant hustle and background chatter of Uganda, you can almost hear the worms in the dirt in Rwanda.  The hills hang steep and rippling, curtains which shroud memories of the beauties and terrors that they have seen.  It is astounding to imagine that such a horribly tragic event could happen in such a breathtaking place.  It is incredibly difficult to picture these roads lined with bodies, the rivers flowing with evidence of genocide.  Eight hundred thousand people, maybe a million died in these hills.  How do we overcome this as outsiders, Westerners, fellow human beings?  Rwanda is striving to become well-known for coffee exportation and not its follies, but it is a formidable task.  Just as nearly everything of note in Northern Uganda will facilitate a conversation about the LRA war, the genocide here is just plain relevant.  I hope that in my time here I’ll be able to really see a new Rwanda;  one where not only 800,000 people were killed, but where thousands more are born; where love is borne from the ashes of tragedy, and where humanity grows stronger together with every effort it makes toward real and lasting peace.

Posted by on October 12, 2010 in Uncategorized


3 responses to “Rhymes with “Schmawanda”

  1. Jane M

    October 12, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Congratulations on achieving yet another goal! Rwanda is blessed to have you there! Be well.

  2. Miranda

    October 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    I´m so excited for you!!! You Need to Blog about what you go through Everyday because I´m sure you will have SO much to tell!!!

  3. Debra

    October 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    So glad that you are there! Be safe and know that you are the conduit to opening the eyes and hearts of many Muzungu here in Minnesota! Looking forward to your next posting :-).