Churches Of Genocide

Piles of clothes covered with dust lying on benches and at the floor. Dust also on the air, mixed with a rotten smell. Light beams trough the many small holes from grenades pieces to the dark walls full of bullet holes. A team of American specialists working with masks, some with full covered dresses, to clean and preserve the clothes from victims of genocide in the church of Nyamata. Skulls and bones buried in the mass graves nearby, some are displayed for the visitors to show the cruelty of killing innocent people, women and children with primitive weapons, tools or simple sticks. The team of conservators tells me, occasionally they still find human bones in bunches of clothes.

A few kilometer away, a similar tragedy of humanity was happen in the church of Ntamara . The area around the church is preserved like a archeological site. New roof over the building protects from rain, paths leads between buildings and trough green garden, boards content explanations. But the horror of the history is written in the wall. Bullet holes, missing corners where grenades exploded and blood stains on the wall of sunday school where children smashed to death. A big pile of dirty clothes still remains in the kitchen, waiting for further treatment and preserving, while the life in the village goes on…

Kigali Genocide Memorial

At entrance gate every passenger has to get off the vehicles for security check. After the car is parked a friendly staff at reception welcomed me with a smile and explained me there is a photography fee of 20 US$ inside the museum building, but outside it’s free to take pictures. Due the low light in the exhibition rooms i decided to focus on the stories, and taking only few shots from outside.

Just behind the welcome hall a room with rows of chairs is prepared to show an introductory movie. A brief overview of the history and some heartbreaking stories of survivors of genocide brings the viewer goosebumps.

In the museum a path leads from display to another, shows photos and and explanations on big boards or short movies on screens. Another room displayed stained clothes, broken skulls and piles of bones from victims of this horrible time.

The head full of thoughts and impressions i took a short walk trough the area. There are mass graves on terraces just beneath the museum. Some dried roses laying on the concrete  lid of the graves and names of victims are carved in the stoney board next to it.

In the small, but pretty rose garden a few blossoms are left. And almost as sign for the future, the sun breaks finally trough the clouds and shines on the red flowers.