Thursdays are our Coffee Talk days at “A Sista’s Journey.” I’m not a coffee drinker but on Thursdays I write about the things we would talk about if I were with you drinking coffee. I actually do quite a bit of talking with my friends, and don’t blog on Thursdays as frequently as I would like.
There are a lot of things I want to share with you but for today and right now, let me tell you more about my upcoming trip to Rwanda, and introduce the other women who will be joining me on the trip. I’m so excited!
Hope. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about my upcoming trip to Rwanda, and my first trip to the continent of Africa. This summer, I have the opportunity to participate in a learning exchange and humanitarian effort called “Woman to Woman Rwanda” in partnership with Africa New Life. This is the first trip I know of its kind where an all African American team of women are going to partner with, listen and learn from Rwandan women.
Like many of you, my first introduction to the daily life of Rwanda was from the atrocities of the 1994 genocide. I read Immaculée Ilibagiza’s story of redemption in her riveting memoir, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. As a part of the Tutsis tribe, she lost most of her family to the genocide where “more than one million people were murdered in roughly 100 days.” Most of this history was told with the 2004 movie release titled “Hotel Rwanda.” However, death and murder is not the entirety of Rwanda’s story. It is only a snapshot of the history of colonization and oppression that crippled the Rwandan people, and nearly destroyed the country.
In the later part of the nineteenth century, Rwanda was colonialized by Germany. During this period of approximately 15 years, Germans elevated the Tutsi tribe (as being more Caucasian) by giving them the best education and jobs, while causing a class-system and rift between the native Tutsi and Hutu people groups. At the end of World War II, the country was given to Belgium who continued to exploit this division and govern Rwanda for approximately 40 years before the Rwandans kicked them out.
Rwanda became an independent nation in 1962, but the relational damage had already been done among the nation’s first people groups, the uncertainty about the country’s future, and the struggle for power is what climaxed in the 1994 genocide. This genocide began with Rwandans, and because of the lack of international involvement, it ended with Rwandans.
Over the past 22 years, Rwandans have led their country, instituted a democracy, charted their path to economic freedom, and have pursued reconciliation and justice. Rwanda is now a country led by Rwandans, and Africa New Life is a ministry led by Rwandans.
Continue reading at Missio Alliance.