This is Suzu:
Today we set of for the National Museum and University of Rwanda and we were joined by the Head of the Literature department from KIE. He shared his knowledge with us at the museum which we all were very appreciative of. It was great to be able to experience the culture and history of Rwanda this way, we saw a woman weaving a basket and groups of young students eager to learn and explore the exhibits.
I also really enjoyed our drive to the museum through the patchwork quilt covering the hills, various crops creating beautiful patterns; we stopped on route at a rock and piled out of the van. Leon shared a story with us; I’ll try to remember some details. There was once a king visiting the area, he was presented by a peasant who had committed a crime and must be punished. The King went to the local chief to ask what punishment they would give. The Chief said he would start a fire on the rock we were standing on, wait till it got really hot and then throw the peasant onto it. The King was appalled, how could the Chief be so mean! The King decided that the Chief would have to be the first to experience this cruel punishment. The message being that though there should be punishment, the punishment must not be cruel. I was reminded of a sign at the Kigali Memorial Center that said, there can be no humanity without forgiveness, there can be no forgiveness without justice, and no justice without humanity.
We visited the National University, we saw the theatre and met with the Head of the Arts Department who shared the University’s mission to use the arts to build sympathy, build communication and be a way for people to reengage with each other creatively. I was moved by his words, I appreciate the value and importance given to the arts in this country and in the work we have been doing at KIE I have been most excited and rejuvenated by the young people who also speak about the usefulness of the arts to create dialogue, community and understanding.
Thanks so much to Emmanuel and KIE for lunch, we all drank (soda!), ate and were merry. We look forward to a day off tomorrow to take in more of Kigali and work on our Forum Theatre and TIE pieces for Monday’s workshops.