Saturday 23 of August
Akagera national park in the north east of Rwanda is a small and very unexploited national park with wild animals, including lions, elephants, giraffes, hippopotamus, wild boar, impalas, baboons, zebras, buffalo, antelope, tiso, cobras, green mambas, ……… The lions, fortunately, are nocturnal, but we were unhappy to miss seeing any of the 150 elephants in the park.
We spent 12.5 ours in the car, and our poor but very skillful driver Morris drove in very difficult terrain. We asked him if he was hungry, he responded that he does not think about hunger, he just forget about it. We shared our breakfast.
The day came to a pleasant conclusion with dinner at the home of Andre and Mathilde. Andre's wonderful sister and belgian husband Pierre were there. She is directing the first lady's office and Pierre is working on a commission on HIV. More people dye in malaria than in HIV, probably because they may already have contracted HIV and hence there immune system is low and may easily contract malaria. In that state the malaria will take them before aids does. Mathilde's brother Gerhard was also there with wife. Gerard is the chief financial officer for Heineken in Rwanda. He was than one who initiated this whole project of Summer school in Rwanda. When I met him the first time I asked him what Rwanda needs the most, this was in 2005. He answered investment in human capital. Eva and Liz McBride then at IRC decided to do something about that. Mathilde and Andre have both worked although in different ways with the reconciliation in Rwanda. We had a long talk about the difficulties and paradoxes of unification, justice and reconciliation in the post-genocide era. Today for instance many Rwandans hare going to be compensated by the loss of possessions and property. The courts have to decide. The perpetrators have second thoughts, and ask themselves why did they not kill everyone instead in order to avoid the demand for compensation. Just a couple of days ago, there was a story in the newspaper about a survivor being killed in a norther city by his ex wife and neighbors. The idea was to silence in order to avoid that the survivor would talk.
There is still a long way to go…