Last week Rwanda remembered the pain of the past, April 7 was National Mourning Day. This country torn apart by hate, impacted tragically and unbelievingly by one of the worst genocidal massacres we have ever known, is today continuing to rebuild itself twenty years on. The New York Times have shared the amazing photographs of Pieter Hugo showing the perpetrators and survivors of the Rwandan genocide side by side in a set of very moving images. His Portraits of Reconciliation work show how forgiveness in the face of overwhelming devastation is changing the face of Rwanda today.
The Guardian presented an article by Tony Blair highlighting the amazing transformation of Rwanda as a nation, calling it a ‘Beacon of Hope’. Twenty years on, Rwanda is indeed shining its light as both forgiveness and hope bring healing to a nation intent on rising from the ashes of incredible heartache. The triumph of the human spirit is miraculous!
In just a few days I will be packing my bags and setting off to Rwanda. I am excited about the opportunity to see for myself the faces of courage and bravery in its beautiful people. The land of a thousand hills beckons me forward. Somewhere out there lives a little boy belonging to us, Eric our Compassion child lives in a sub-urban community relying on subsistence farming as its main economic activity. His compassion letter states , … ‘Many of these children and widows had lost hope and meaning of life as they had witnessed the tragedy of genocide’. It is good to know that contributing to this cause through Compassion means lives are being changed on a daily basis. The project has had a big impact on the community because parents with supported children can send their children to school and have their basic needs met. Parents are educated on how to make vegetable gardens using the little they have, which in turns provides nutrition for their children. Malnutrition is a thing of the past.
Eric has been our Compassion child for the last 7 years. That day we looked at the sea of faces on the table, I never expected that I would pack my bags seven years later to fly into Rwanda to visit this boy. Back then I didn’t even know about the Rwandan genocide, didn’t know how this country had been torn apart by hate and violence. I didn’t know that my heart would tilt in response and set me off on a journey half way around the world to embark upon my own heart and soul journey.
Not long after taking Eric on, he lost his father and went to live with his grandmother. Compassion is not sure of his mothers whereabouts. I hate to think of what might have happened, had I not listened to my heart that day! In just a few short days I will see this boy. I am grateful to Compassion who have helped make this journey a reality for me. I can’t believe I get to do this.
Not long now!
Would love to have you visit my life blog at Heart and Soul Pursuits