Yesterday brought me to two very different locations. The first was an animal sanctuary that an American veterinarian created. She originally came to Rwanda to work with the gorillas, and she is now working on the sanctuary with the hope that someday people will visit in order to appreciate the beauty of life. While there, I was able to spend a few hours holding baby goats and baby bunnies, which was simply wonderful and a nice change from my usual days in Rwanda.
After leaving the sanctuary, I went to the Nyamata Genocide Memorial. Located close to the sanctuary, this memorial is about 30 kilometers south of Kigali. Like the massacre at Nyarubuye, the massacre at Nyamata took place in a church just a few kilometers off the city’s main dirt road. Again, people sought refuge because they thought the church would be safe and because, during past dangers, they had found refuge there.
Starting on April 14, 1994, an estimated 10,000 people were killed in the church and on the church grounds. Today, the church is dedicated as a memorial, and the pews are filled with clothes from the victims.
The guide took more around the church, where she pointed out bloodstains from babies being thrown against the wall. She then led me behind the church to the mass graves, which I was allowed to enter. The tombs somewhat resemble a library, with rows of shelves spanning from the floor to the ceiling. But, rather than books, you see coffins, skulls, and bones.
Back outside, the church grounds are decorated in purple and white ribbons. A school right near the church had just let out, and the children all waved and yelled as they walked past.