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Monday, May 12, 2008
...Back to Normal? Life Can Never Be "Normal"
After living with our 'Rwandan family' for a week; eating meals, going to church, taking walks around the neighborhood, I got lulled into feeling that life in Rwanda was "back to normal" after the genoside. But a few words was all it took to instantly be shocked out of this illusion.
After a night celebrating the birthday of a fellow volunteer over pizza with our Rwandan family, we were feeling right at home, life as normal. As we drove back to the house, our Rwandan mother and father were talking. We asked what they were talking about. Very nonchalantly our mother mentioned "Oh we were just noting that this was the place we were stopped by a road block while fleeing to Congo from the genocide. They were checking ID's for ethnicity and taking the Tutsis to be killed. They checked the first five IDs, those of my husband and children, which were all Hutu. Just before flipping to the next one, mine, which is Tutsi, the man said 'That's enough' and let us pass. God was with us that day."
Life as normal driving home from pizza quickly changed to life that can never be normal. I can't imagine trying to live a normal life when every time I look around my neighborhood I recall flashes of immensely painful memories.
Another normal night, another family dinner, this time at home... normal conversation, casual questions, "When will you come back to visit us?", casual replies, "We'd love come back as soon as we can." Normal dinner, normal conversation. "Well we think within 2 years the rebels will come back across the border, so you better come back soon..."
Normal life shattered once again. The constant fear of renewed war... The persistent worries of rebels grouping outside neighboring borders storming back... The painful memories of her brothers and sisters murdered... her flight to Congo... her country torn apart.
The amazing people we have met here live as close as they can to a normal life. But in reality, life cannot be completely normal after living through the murder of a million of your fellow countrymen.