Saturday, November 24, 2007

La petite saison de pluie

La petite saison des pluies is full of melancholy because arriving in a country where in 100 days
a million plus people have been killed while the world stood by and watched, makes you think and try to understand. Rwanda, the country of the thousand hills could be a paradise. The weather is tropical but the hight makes it pleasant. The soil is fertile, all is extravagantly green. But it also is the most densely populated country of Africa where the medium income per year is 250 $. People are afraid, thirteen years later the events and the wounds they left are open and raw. Hundred thousands of women have been raped so HIV is rife and it becomes up close and personal when in the hotel you don't get a complementary mint on your pillow, but two packets of condoms.

The mist over the hills is real, but I didn't go and disturb the Gorillas. Every nook and cranny, the smallest, steepest plot of land is planted: banana trees, corn, manioc, papaya, mango... During the genocide people were told that if they killed their Tutsi neighbor they could keep the land. And land is what the people wanted, needed to feed their family.

Yet, there is beauty, gentleness and smiles, courage and lots of empty eyes. A lot of Women's cooperatives work together in networks and teach the women to manage their own small business, and provide health care and retroviral anti aids medication.

If you go to museums and safaris, you wouldn't notice the hardship but if you manage to talk to people, you will be moved at a deeper level.

The mournful pale purple blue jacaranda blooms in Kigali.

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