Reliving the genocide, and hoping for the future

Trip Start Jun 10, 2009
Trip End Jun 22, 2009

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Flag of Rwanda  , Gitarama,
Friday, June 19, 2009

Today was very inspiring. Jean-Marie the 4WD driver who took us to Bukavu a few months back, arrived with his Toyota at 07:30, as arranged. Since the camera crew was not to arrive until about 1:00 pm, I freed him to return at 12:00. I spent the morning working on my laptop. Gordon had managed to find me an alternative itinerary; so I could make the choice to leave Sunday or Monday (with a hefty surcharge). I decided to wait to see how the shoot went in the afternoon before deciding whether I needed to stay longer or not.

At 12:30 Jean-Marie and I drove to the airport, hoping to meet the media crew: Peter Eddington and Clay Thornton. They did in fact arrive on the flight from Nairobi and finally came out with their luggage at about 1:30 pm. They had not changed clothes, washed or shaved since yesterday (I have to admit I know that feeling), but if we were to try to stick to our schedule we needed to head straight to Remera for the interviews with the Mundelis. So off we went, out of
Kigali, up into the mountains, off the blacktop, and onto red-dirt roads. We arrived at the Mundelis' home at around 2:30, and chatted briefly. Mrs. Mundeli served us each a cold soft drink, a bit of a luxury in much of Africa, and a kind mark of hospitality. Then we moved outside
for the interviews.

Clay, an Emmy-award-winning cameraman, and producer was concerned about lighting. There was no electricity, so we could use no artificial light. But when they set up, Clay found the natural lighting was close to perfect. The sun was slightly veiled by clouds which diffused the
light just so. Conditions could scarcely have been better. We had two good hours for interviews with Mr. Mrs. Mundeli as well as a young woman named Sarah, now a wife and mother of 5, whom the Mundelis hid at the risk of their own lives from murderous Interahamwe militiamen.

They showed us places where they hid young people from the militia, where Mrs. Mundeli was beaten on the head with a rifle-but but refused to give away the hiding place, where, tragically, some young people were captured and brutally murdered, but also where others were saved. Their story of courage, humility, commitment to God and to the fundamental tenants of Christianity was an inspiration to us all. I don’t want to spoil the telling of moving story, but I will just say: don’t miss the FOT video!

Clay and Peter recorded like men on a mission (which they were), and when the sun finally plummeted toward the horizon – it sets very quickly on the equator – they had all the footage they needed. So if all goes as planned, I won’t need to extend my stay, or spend any more money on flight changes!

We drove slowly back to Kigali after sunset. Traffic in Rwanda moves much more slowly in the dark. Peter and Clay were happy to have a quick shower and change and then we had dinner together at the hotel and swapped stories of Nigeria, Malawi, South Africa (on their part) and Cameroon, Congo, and Burundi (on mine). It was relaxing and there was a good deal of laughter.

We’ll all turn in early tonight, I’m sure. Tomorrow we will have a service, shoot video and fellowship with the Rwandan church members. It should be another full and inspiring day.

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Where I stayed
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