Published: June 26th 2012June 26th 2012
Went down to the bus station this morning to figure out how to get to Gisakura tomorrow. What a manic place. There must be 20 different outfits operating out of the one station. Eventually found that Omega Buses are the guys I need, buses leave from about 6.30am and cost Rwf 5200 to Gisakura. Took a mototaxi back up the hill to the Auberge just in time to meet Benjamin, my driver for the trip to Nyamata & Ntarama to see the genocide memorials. Almost became a statistic when we were cut up by a Toyota 4WD but Benjamin's lghtening reflexes saved the day. I wouldn't want to drive in Kigali!
Got out to the Church at Nyamata but there was no guide avialable at that point so went on to Ntarama. The bent up iron doors in front bear testament to the use of grenades to force entry back in 1994.The clothes of many of the 10,000 victims that were killed in the church in June 1994 are piled on the seats in the church. The piles of childrens' clothes are the hardest to take especially when the guide points out the spot where the children were killed by dashing them against the wall. It's very hard to conceive of death on that scale but a walk down the stairs in the mass graves outside the church brings the stark reality home and brings you face to face with racks of skulls that bear witness to how the people died, via clubs, machetes and bullets.
I went back to Nyamata and the guide there spoke excellent English and explained that 5,000 were kiled in the church and its grounds. This church does not yet have a mass grave so the coffins and racks of skulls and other bones are stacked up in the church.
It's hard to know what to make of it all really and I'm in two minds about Genocide Tourism but if it prevents it happening elsewhere then its probably worth it. At least i'm pretty convinced that this will not happen again in Rwanda. It now seems to be a vibrant, very busy place.
Back in Kigali, and went to the Camelia Tea House for lunch and what must be the world's best Chai Marsala along with Beef Brochettes and the ubiquitous mountain of fries.