Muraho from Kigali!
After a great night's sleep and a team meeting, we were ready to tackle the day. Around 9:30 we left to meet with some students in the Bridge 2 Rwanda program. The program identifies high performing students and connects them with scholarships so they can return after college to become the future leaders of Africa. This might sound like a big task, but after only a few hours of talking with them, I know they will be ready for the job. They were some of the smartest students I've ever met; one is already accepted to Princeton and another to Rochester. It was so cool to get the chance to connect with other university students, and get their perspective on agriculture in Rwanda. Many of them have come from rural communities, and told us stories of the role agriculture has played in their life. I was especially excited to get the chance to talk with one of the students who wants to study environmental sciences. It was awesome to meet someone from across the world who shares my passion.
After we finished our interviews for the day, we visited the genocide museum. This is a tough experience to sum into words. We studied the genocide as part of our research for the trip, but I didn't truly understand the full weight of what happened until I was hearing testimonials from survivors and reading horrific stories of families and neighbors turning against one another. The halls were filled with information on the conflict, family photos of victims, and words of hope for a more peaceful future for the world.
Outside the museum is the burial ground of over 250,000 genocide victims. This is completely unfathomable to us, but it is the final resting place of many people's loved ones and it is a place where their legacies can be remembered. While we will never fully understand the trauma caused by the genocide, we can now understand a little more about the Rwanda's history, and appreciate the immense progress they have made since then. The entire team was moved by the experience.
After our afternoon at the memorial and a long group hug, we lightened the mood by going to the market for some supplies for mini pizzas. We spent the night enjoying each other's company and ringing in the new year.