Day 1 - Rwandan Genocide Memorial
A grey overcast was blanketed across the luscious green hills of Rwanda as city lights illuminated throughout the thin layer of fog. The overwhelming sounds of song birds filled the quiet city as each of us began to wake. Once we had all gathered, chatter of how well each of us had slept ensued. “I woke up at 12:00 am thinking it was about time to get up” Alicia Carmichael said, I myself had woken up around 3:00 am with the exact same thought. As various conversations continued, we were called over to eat breakfast. As we each made our way down the path towards the main eating area, we noticed they had set up the table outside. There is nothing more peaceful than sipping Ugandan tea while being encompassed by the beautiful landscape of Rwanda. While we all inhaled our morning breakfast, which was an array of pancakes, eggs, and fruit, we soon began to inquire into the plans for the rest of the day. Sue explained we would be going to visit the Rwandan Genocide Memorial Museum. Not knowing exactly what to expect, I was hesitant to how deeply this experience would personally affect me. Upon arriving at the memorial, we each scurried off the bus, went through security, and made our way into the main lobby. We watched a short ten minute film which was then followed by multiple exhibits. While all of the images and words were impactful, the Children’s Room was especially disturbing. Within this room lied images of children who had been brutally murdered during the genocide. Underneath each photo was a placard which told you what each child’s favorite activity was, who their best friend was, what their favorite food was, and finally how they were murdered. Each child’s face portrayed such innocence while their deaths were anything but. After an emotionally impactful morning, we headed out on our trek to Kanungu, Uganda. The city life began to fade as we entered into the rural country of Rwanda, filled with massive amounts of fertile land. While there were a few literal bumps along the way, we eventually made it to the border where we then had to officially leave Rwanda and enter Uganda. Crossing the border is always an experience, this time was no different. As each of us made it across safe and sound, we hopped back on the bus and entered into the final hours before we would arrive. After roughly six hours of driving, we finally arrived at the Mountain Gorilla Inn, the place which would be our home away from home for the next few weeks. As dinner commenced and we all engaged in quiet discussion, a few of us began to show signs of exhaustion. The excitement of arrival faded as sleep began to call the names of each and every one of us. We had finally made it.