Friday, June 20, 2008

Notes from Nairobi: Shake Hands With the Devil....

' I know there is a God because in Rwanda I shook hands with the devil.
I have seen him, I have smelled him and I have touched him.
I know the devil exists and therefore I know there is a God'
Romeo Dallaire
Shake Hands with the Devil:
The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda

So tomorrow I leave for Rwanda, the land of a 'thousand hills'.

I am curious I must admit. Have spent the last couple of days trying desperately to remember what I was doing during 1994 when the rest of the world - and me - it seems was unaware of what was happening.

I remember sitting in a theater in Holland when the movie Hotel Rwanda came out. Numb. This was the first time that I can recall sitting in public and openly crying - out of frustration, out of sadness, out of helplessness, out of anger. Out of guilt? Just so many emotions. I have read loosely around the massacre since then, but today I bought the above mentioned memoir by Dallaire. Have been sitting in my hotel room all evening wanting to read it. Yet hesitating. Not sure why. Not sure what to expect. Curious.

Professionally I am curious too. Given my line of work, Rwanda is one of the most promising on the continent when it comes to Information and Communication Technologies (i.e. ICTs) for development. Will be facilitating a workshop next week with representatives from ten countries in Sub-Saharan Africa looking at the whole issue of e-learning and it's potential. Should be good.

Actually missing Ghana. Let me rephrase that, am actually missing home. After all, home is where the heart is. Right? Think I have 'lost' my heart in Ghana in more ways than one. Feeling strangely lighter for having said that. Hmmm.

Been traveling a bit for work in recent times - ok, bad excuse for not updating my blog but true. While it is always exciting to be out of the normal routine, I do miss Ghana and my familiars. Admittedly, stepping out has also given me the space to clear my head and think some things through. Feeling calmer. Few regrets. No expectations. No promises.

So yes, tomorrow I leave for the land of a 'thousand hills' with a thousand questions on my mind. Not sure if I will have all of them answered. Not sure if I want to have all of them answered.

Will see what happens.


posekyere said...

Hi Denise,
I think you rock.
Your blog is full of mature humour which I really admire.It is refreshing to the soul.
My only problem is the sparodicity of your updating. I think you must do your best to sort that out so that those of us reading will continue to have our daily bread.

Denise said...

Hi Posekyere, thanks for your comments - much appreciated! Will seek to strengthen my resolve on updating it more frequently.

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Voila! As I always say, the wait is always worth it.

I remember being overpowered by strange emotions while watching Hotel Rwanda, just like you. Two scenes especially. First, the scene in which Mr. Rusesubangina dressed up only to have a breakdown and undress all over again. Second, the scene outdoors in the dark, when the van was driving on corpses without the occupants knowing.

Sad, sad, sad.

Denise said...

Hi Nana Yaw,
do remember those two scenes too. Had a bit of a weird reaction to seeing the strawberries at breakfast this morning that I just posted.

BTW - did like your post on feeling the same. Lately I have been feeling a lot like that