Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Day 13: Travel and the Bisesero Genocide Memorial

Today was a long day. We got up early and left the hotel by 8am. After about an hour of driving on the highway the paved road ended and we spend several hours bouncing around the car on some wicked dirt roads. The views were amazing though. About 3.5 hours into the drive we stopped at the Bisesero Genocide Memorial which is currently under construction to see what was there. We were able to see the areas they had built, but not filled with anything, along with a  memorial to those that fought back against their murderers. The people, about 50,000 of them all hid there where men with spears stood guard to help protect. However, they were not able to hold off all of the murderers that had guns, grenades, and many hand weapons. Some survived the first wave of attacks, but the French arrived, and told them that they would arrange transport into a safe zone for them. The French then left to arrange transport, and when they left, the murderers returned and killed all of the remaining people, who thought they were under French protection. We were taken down to tin shed and inside was the skulls and bones of 1,040 victims. Below were coffins filled with as many as 50 people’s skeletons each. The plan is to move all of the remains into a permanent location where visitors can see the remains of all 50,000 victims. From there we drove a few more hours, getting lost part way, to our hotel which is right on lake Kivu. It is beautiful, and I’m sad that we are only here tonight, and leave in the morning. Below are pictures from the memorial.  I look forward to posting tomorrow!

The pictures of the bones in the genocide are not mine, but ones I found online. When we got there they said the government has to give permission for us to take pictures, and we didn’t know this in advance. But I wanted everyone to see what we saw today.

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