‘Why Rwanda?’

“Why Rwanda?”

That has been a common question for the past three weeks since i clicked purchase on kayak.com.

The simple answer is that I have a desire to seek exploration and understand the language of the world.

The response with more context would be that ever since the Scranton Times first reported the horrific genocide in 1994 where over 800,000 people were murdered in a three month span I wondered at our kitchen table in Dalton, Pennsylvania, ‘Why?’

Granted, I was a punk 12 year old who was just as fired up for our Little League All Star team to make a run at Williamsport and the World Series, but my curiosity for this nation never left.

At the University of Pittsburgh my relationship with Rwanda reached new heights as I began to read about how this brutal moment in time began. I became fascinated with the stories told by survivors, in particular the women of Rwanda. Many, who were my age or younger at the time of the genocide, watched as their parents were murdered. A large majority of the women were also raped, mutilated and exposed to a brutality that we would not wish to imagine.

As I began to discuss this newfound passion in my early 20s I met a man named Michael, who would become a mentor and close friend. He was in Rwanda during the killings as a television news producer from Washington, D.C. and he told me of how his helicopter touched down and landed on bodies, literally.

After weeks of submitting images to his superiors they continued to not run those graphic pictures on the nightly news. Michael, who could not believe that the USA was practically ignoring this situation, eventually took matters into his own hands and leaked an image to the Associated Press.

The next day President Bill Clinton ordered US troops to Rwanda.

Almost twenty years since my mind was exposed to Rwanda I get to set foot on her land.

My goal: gain an understanding of the competitive spirit of its women and how they survived, overcame and are now role models for all who compete for life.

What will my findings be, I have no idea.

But I thank the Scranton Times, Pitt and Michael…



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One comment

  • Annamarie June 27, 2012  

    Make it happen my friend! Thansk for the update. Now I can answer that question when people ask why you are there 😉 Looking forward to following you on your journey.