my bivouac

...aka video night in kigali


Trip to the Genocide Memorials

I'd agreed with Edwin to go see the Genocide Memorial today, not realizing that we were thinking of two different memorials. I was thinking of the museum IN kigali, whereas he was thinking of the churches 30 km outside of town. he picked me up at 11:45, with Xemena, in the white landrover and we were off. I quickly realized that we were thinking of two different places, but in the end I was very glad that we went even though it took the whole afternoon. It was hot, and the roads were terrible: it took us about 2 hours to get there. The first memorial we went to was Nyamata which was much cleaner, and more organized than Ntarama. There was a french speaking guide who took us and some visiting human rights lawyers and interns from the ICTR in Arusha around the sight, giving the history and context of the sight. After that, we went to Ntarama where a Kynarwandan only speaking guide showed us the church which has been left as is, following the massacre. The language barrier, was not a problem, as the sight speaks for itself. They have left the human remains strewn around. It was extremely distrubing, and leaves you wondering, again, HOW such a thing was possible.

Republika y'u Rwanda Posted by Hello

The church at Nyamata. Posted by Hello

At Nyamata, they have created two large underground vaults where over 20 000 genocide victims have been laid to rest, unearthed from pit latrines and mass grave sites from the surrounding communes. As the Gacaca trials continue, new burial sights are still, 10 years later, being discovered. We were allowed to go down into the cript where rooms and rooms of human remains rest on shelves. The smell in this one was horrific, and i could only go down to the bottom of the stairs.  Posted by Hello

The Church at Nyamata where thousands died. The alter has been left with blood stains.  Posted by Hello

Shelves of skulls. Many of the skulls both machete or club marks. Some still had bits of cloth, scarves tied on.  Posted by Hello

The poster on the right speaks of amahoro - peace - and the one in the middle commemorates the visit of the pope john paul. Someone has put a figurine of the virgin mary, and another of the baby jesus on the floor. Posted by Hello

The Kiyarwandan speaking guide took us down the length of the church.  Posted by Hello

Skulls in Ntarama Posted by Hello

Bags of bones in Ntarama. The first bag contains skulls, the second hip bones, and so on.  Posted by Hello

The Church in Ntarama - left as it was. Posted by Hello

The church in Ntarama where 5000 peoople were killed. We were able to walk down the length of the church, stepping from wooden bench (pew) to wooden bench. Between the benches were all sort of debris - children's vinyl handbags, tin cans, shoes, necklaces - and bones - jaw bones with the teeth still in them, tibia, parts of spine. It was terrifying and grim. While it conveys the message more clearly than any statue or memorial, I am not sure whether peoples' remains should be left as such, like garbage on the floor, to be stepped over and photographed for websites. Behind the church was another dirt hut where another mass grave remained, still unearthed, with a handless arm sticking out the ground.  Posted by Hello



played RISK at Volker &Leana's last night. i'd never played before, and was intrigued by the maps. lost miserably to V who expertly conquered oceania before anihilating purple. intend to introduce mafia to kigali, in the near future. woke up at 5 am again... it seems as though, either i am going going going - working, running, and not sleeping - or i am dragging my feet, being unfocussed, unconcentrated, and sleeping loads. no in betweens. reading david rieff at the moment. listening to marin marais. its getting light outside...i should go get ready for work.


me, 48 hours later...and stress free :-)

african lily

view from the dock


"just one more cup of coffee"

good morning!

the view from my tent

where i slept

the view from the dining tent

the main dining and sitting by the fire relaxin' tent

on the way to the island...

my first eco-lodge

Went to an eco lodge on Lake Bunyoni in Uganda for the weekend. Left on Friday with two ODI fellows and arrived late on Friday. The lodge in on an Island. We parked our car at the dock and were taken on a small covered motor boat to the Island where we checked in in the dark. We'd barely checked in, when a British girl came running in sobbing because her friend had collapsed on the grass on the way back to their tent. Once we'd gotten her back to her tent we had dinner and spent the rest of the evening sitting by the fire. Saturday was spent lying on the dock, reading and doing a bit of swimming. We played trivial pursuit on Saturday night and had an early night. This morning after breakfast, Ben and i tried out the dugout canoe but the current was very very strong and we kept turning in circles ('whiteman's corkscrews). After stopping in Kabale on the way way to pick up some cheap olive oil and spices, we found ourselves at the border behind a huge queue of lorries. After some chaos, the line started moving and we got across.

Border areas are such stuck, awful places. Full of human misery - people trying to sell, trade, barter; barefoot children wearing huge dirty parkas, men on crutches. People dragging at the heels of the people who are desperately trying to get through. Robert Kaplan talks about this in his travels into anarchy or whatever its called, only more in the context of West African border crossings. I can only imagine what crossing from Sierra Leone into Liberia by land must be like.

Would like to post more pictures of Africans and Africa, but it is so hard for a white girl to take pictures.


this is one of the guards who works at the house i'm staying at. his name is 'jean de dieu'. he once told me that i had money, because muzungos had money...why? because they received money from their muzungo parents as a birth right...

....this is Francois, the kindest taximan on earth. when i left my mobile phone in another, less kind taxi, he helped me find it.


me...greasy but the intercontinental, chatting with molly hannah in winnipeg using the hotels super duper wifi connection.
Kigali - land of the mille collines

me. this morning. (i'm melting)
Kigali - land of the mille collines

Kigali, viewed from above
Kigali - land of the mille collines