Saturday, January twenty fifth.
This was a day I wanted to stick around home and get a bunch of things done. Not to be. I had to run to Kigali again trying to nail down trucking for 49.6 ton of maize see. The phone is out and not to be repaired until Monday, if then. I am not being pessimistic, just realistic.
Talked to my sweetheart to from the UN offices in Kigali. Your voice is sweet to hear.
Several agencies have pulled out of Ruhengeri and Gisenyi. Rumors are rampant. Last Sunday three Doctors Without Borders staff were killed. The NGO community in that area seem to be targeted. We do not have permanent presence but are active in that area. It made the Canadian and European news big time.
Two volunteers and two staff plus myself are here alone tonight. Tomorrow there should only be Pete and myself.
Sunday, January twenty sixth.
We went to church but did not understand a word.
Once a week I reconcile my receipts and cash. I was only $40.00 off. After changing $10,000 into Rwandan Francs, spending $8,000 and carry around another $50,000 I don’t think that is too bad. Few agencies are using the bank system yet though many of them are open for business. We did find a company in town that will take USA checks, both personal and business. They want US dollars.
I was invited for lunch with a person who works for Africa Evangelistic Enterprise. I will hire him. He speaks excellent English and will do some translation for us. I asked him what he thought the churches should be saying to the government, country, and its own citizen about the thousands of persons in prison. He said, “The churches can say nothing. They have been compromised. Many of their members were involved in the slaughter. To speak for forgiveness, reconciliation, and tolerance would be seen as further evidence of complicity in the genocide. To speak for justice, means death for hundreds, if not thousands. Most of those in prison came home believing they were innocent. But, their brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, probably were involved and by association, they have been placed in jail. We can say nothing, do nothing but pray.” It is a terrible position for the church to lose its entire prophetic voice.
Monday, January twenty seventh.
Pete and I with a couple of employees made a quick run into Kigali arranging for the pickup and delivery of 50 metric tons of maize. The storekeeper was not around and therefore could not deliver. We left one of our guys and took off for Ramba and Kibilire, two communes in the prefecture of Gisyenyi. This is where many of the former Hutu leaders of the previous government and genocide came from. Obviously, it is also an area where many of the returnees are located. We had a great day. The Kibilira people were very excited and positive. The Ramba commune is on top of the world…literally. The view and road is unbelievable. Extraordinary, Breath taking curves and cliffs on this laterite gravel road. However, the Bourgmeistre at Ramba did not seem to be very cooperative. Perhaps we just surprised him.
Upon our return a letter was waiting from our contact at the United States Agency for International Development/Disaster Assistance Response Team/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. They had been trying to contact us since the previous Friday with no success. The phone had been out. Finally, they had called the World Food Program who had contacted our office in Nairobi, seeking to inform us that the two prefectures we just had visited were considered unsafe. They could not tell us what to do but wanted us to know they were not pressuring us to perform. They left a flier indicating what danger existed. I thought there were exaggerating. We will see what the week brings. Other agencies have moved out. We are staying while taking precautions. Bold or foolhardy, we will see. The poor and most vulnerable, are in these areas of unrest.