FUN FACT FRIDAY
Rwanda is a country that has had a lot of conflict throughout it's years. Honestly, the best thing you can do if you are interested in learning about the situation is to go here and read about the details. It's very complicated and there are many parties involved. I'm going to do the best I can to summarize the information into a short, informative but still interesting post.
Rwanda was initially colonized by Belgium which led up until the mid 1900's. During that time, favoritism was shown to the Tutsi's because of their light skin. Ethnic tensions began to rise and were only exacerbated by the Belgians who had each ethnicity classified on ID cards. Once the Belgians left, to sum it up in an easy way, the divide continued to grow, power changed hands several times and a lot of killing took place. The Hutu's took over in 1973, many Tutsi's fled to Uganda and militia groups were formed on both sides.
That was the cliff notes version of the history of Rwanda. Again, to learn more, visit Wikipedia.
The Genocide - this event is important in Rwanda's history because it is something that has continued to hurt the country today. Many of the orphans in the country were orphaned as a result of their parents being killed in this mass murder.
Again, to break this down in a very general way, there was a civil war that ended in 1993 that was started by Tutsi refugees, the President of Rwanda was killed, the Tutsi's were blamed which fueled a movement to eliminate the entire Tutsi tribe and any moderate Hutu's who supported them. Men and children were killed, women were raped and killed, neighbors were killing neighbors, people trying to escape the country were blocked and killed and somewhere between 500,000 to 1,000,000 million people were killed in a massive attempt at genocide. UN tried to give aid, but not enough to make a difference. Americans turned their heads, and only responded to rescue Americans living in Rwanda, and then fled without offering any help to the Tutsi's. The only end came when the Tutsi's rose up and regained control over the country.
War has continued in the country even as late as 1996.
Some of the orphans that live in the village I'm going to visit are orphans because of this genocide. This was the first time I ever took notice of Africa and the troubles it has endured over the years. It was interesting to study the effects of European colonization and how differently it ended in Africa vs the United States. I honestly believe this was the first seed that was planted in me to visit Africa and do something to help. I'm not sure that just pumping money into the continent is the answer, but just an easy band aid solution that gives us an out to stay in our own little bubble. I hope to learn a lot from this experience.