Kwibuka –Kinyarwanda for “Remembrance.”

rememberingYesterday, all across Rwanda, people began gathering in stadiums, churches and community centers to take part in Kwibuka, or “Remembrance.” Bko8w4sCMAA96lS

20 years ago marked the terrible beginning of the Rwandan Genocide, during which almost one million people were killed as tribal Hutus rose up and slaughtered their Tutsi neighbors, friends and even family members.

Two decades later, Rwanda is a shining star of economic development in Africa, but the psychic scars of the trauma remain.

woman2In 2012, I was able to visit Rwanda with Heifer International and bear witness to Heifer’s programs in that country. The first day, I went to the Northern Province and watched a Passing on the Gift ceremony, where recipients of a Heifer cow pass on the first-born female to another needy family.

Instrument of peace.

An instrument of peace.

It’s a beautiful tradition at the heart of Heifer’s ideology, made doubly poignant by the fact that many of the givers and recipients were on opposite sides of the Hutu/Tutsi divide. Thank youBut Rwandans seem dedicated to rebuilding their country and repairing the terrible schism.POG52

“Have peace!” the people shouted — and answered with “Unite in reconciliation and uproot the genocide ideology.”POG4

It was one of the most moving and inspiring ceremonies I’ve ever seen… and one I’m not sure I would ever have the spiritual capacity to emulate.


So here’s to the beautiful Rwandans in their quest to remember, and be reconciled.kidsAnd to Heifer, for being a part of the healing.

Categories: Africa, Heifer International, Photography, Rwanda, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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19 thoughts on “Kwibuka –Kinyarwanda for “Remembrance.”

  1. Kitty Clark Manson

    Thank you for shariing, Betty

  2. Anonymous

    Hi Betty,

    It was so good to speak to you today and I didn’t get to read this remarkable post until now. What a perfect Easter message and one to ponder. Forgiveness is truly divine! Your blog continues to challenge your readers to think largely about the human condition.



    • I’m so happy you liked the post, Ginger — and yes, it is ALL about forgiveness, one of the hardest spiritual endeavors we can undertake.

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you, Betty, for your post and these great photos. All of this is hard to take in but it is good to hear that Rwandas are moving forward, reconciling with one another, and building their country.

    • It truly is hard to take in, particularly when you are in that country which is only the size of Maryland, and try to envision the kind of horror that happened there….I am so hopeful for a good future for Rwanda!!

  4. Meredith

    may their spirit spread and bring about reconciliation around the world

  5. Darby

    Thank you for this, Betty!

    “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, man will know peace.” -Jimi

  6. Yes, a meaningful tradition in hopes that no one will forget. Thanks for sharing Betty.

  7. The remembrance will go on for 90 days — about as long as the genocide lasted. Rwandans and President Kagame are very serious about this…which gives me so much hope for their future!

  8. What an important day, Betty. Thanks for letting us know about it. Hope your week is going well.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  9. Barb Oakes

    As a Heifer volunteer speaker and educator, thank you for using your beautiful pictures and blog space to let so many people know about the tremendous value in Heifer’s many “peace projects”. It takes the Passing on the Gift contract to a whole new level of changing people’s lives and the communities they live in. Thanks, Betty, for your help in telling the story. Barb Oakes

  10. So glad you are on the Heifer team, Barb — having seen all that I have in Heifer projects around the world, I am a True Believer in everything the organization does to alleviate hunger and poverty, and to build strong communities that can prosper!! Keep up the good work!

  11. Deb Morrow Palmer

    Betty, Thanks! A beautiful way to end my Easter Sunday!! Forgiveness!! Amen!! The future!! Amen!! May God help us learn tolerance and forgiveness!!

  12. Meredith

    it is good to come back and review this post, hopefully the Rwandans are still working together.

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