Laura in Rwanda

Laura is a senior journalism major in Meadows School of the Arts with minors in art history, photography and human rights. In August 2009 she is participating in the Human Rights Education Program trip to Rwanda, where the group will visit sites including the Nyarubuye Genocide Memorial and Urukundo Home for Children.

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Murambi, site of massacres

Day 5

Today we visited Murambi, the site of some of the worst massacres of the genocide.

At Murambi, like so many other sites, rooms are filled, virtually floor to ceiling, with bodies. Men, women, children, infants. However, Murambi is different.

At Murambi, the bodies have been preserved in lime – permanently frozen for all to see. Facial expressions are forever cemented; the crushed skull of an infant is available for all eyes to take in. The smell permeates the rooms and all of the corridors.

Others in the group were sobbing as we walked among the rooms, and most were being comforted, strangely enough, by women whose families lay in the very rooms we were walking through.

IMG_8449.jpg 57-year-old Immanuel then told us his story. A tall, thin man, Immanuel’s pronounced facial features were clearly circumvented by a prominent sunken hole above his left brow. The hole – a bullet hole – is one of many physical reminders that thousands of Rwandans carry from the genocide.

A woman named Juliet then told us her story – how she lost her husband and two of her three children.

After visiting Murambi, my subconscious was obviously processing what I had seen. I was unable to eat – I skipped two meals that day – and slept virtually all of the afternoon and into the next morning. The marks made on me at Murambi might not be physical, but undoubtedly, they will last just as long.

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