The week of April 7 seems like a distant blur to me, a week that began the period of Kwibuka, commemorating the 1994 genocide that targeted Tutsi people in Rwanda, a period that has been the primary focus of my research in Rwanda since 2013. I started by attending the national commemoration at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, moving to Nyanza-Kicukiro and the ETO, Kinigi in Musanze, Ntarama where a friend buried his uncle who had been killed during the genocide, whose body was found this year. Then to Notre Dame school, Ndera, and Mbuye. Interviews conducted on memory culture in Rwanda before genocide in different sites led me to being exhausted and overwhelmed. And as tired as I was, my mind kept turning to my Rwandan friends and colleagues, who suffered through the genocide personally. All I could do was hopelessly check in on them and their mental health, knowing I could not provide much support but trying nonetheless. I hope they will forgive my inability and, at times, and my lack of comforting words or actions.
Some lessons learned from this difficult period of fieldwork are highlighted in this article I wrote for The Conversation.
Also, I thank the United States Ambassador to Rwanda, Peter Vrooman for joining our community to remember at Ndera Memorial Site at Caraes Hospital, Kigali.