Twenty students spend two weeks in Rwanda

Twenty students spend two weeks in Rwanda

These twenty students, along with Jr. High social studies teachers Mr. James Cave and Mr. Dave Kuntz travelled to Rwanda this past June to learn about the culture and the history of the 1994 genocide.

Mallory Hoch, Staff Writer

For most students, summer is a relaxing and usually uneventful vacation away from the restrictions of school, allowing them to stay up late, sleep in, and avoid homework. However, the group of twenty students who traveled to Rwanda this summer would agree that their summers were anything but uneventful.

While in Rwanda, the students went on a series of adventures, from gorilla trekking and playing a pick up soccer game, to taking in the beautiful Rwandan scenery. “The most moving thing I saw there was the breathtaking view everywhere you went. You were always surrounded by mountains,” said senior Gabby Bauer.

The students stayed in two locations on the trip: the rural city of Ruhengeri and Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. While in Ruhengeri, the students were able to learn about the culture through various activities including basket weaving, brick making, and practicing their new Kinyarwanda vocabulary. “ On our way [to Ruhengeri] we all decided to try out our new Kinyarwandan words by telling everyone we passed, ‘good morning!’ or asking them, ‘how are you?’” said junior Anne Arnason.

The students focused heavily on the Rwandan genocide of 1994. “Most people on the trip would agree that when we visited the genocide memorial sites and read or heard the stories of the torture and pure evil acts that went on in the 100 days, [we were] truly impacted,” said senior Sarah Silvestri.

To further their learning about the genocide, students spent two days visiting memorials which included two churches and the Kigali National Genocide Memorial Museum. “When we visited the technical school, there were corpses exposed outright on benches that had been removed from mass graves. They were preserved almost perfectly, so many of the bodies were still frozen in the position they died in and wearing the same clothes,” said Silvestri.

In preparation for the trip, the students had to read four books about the genocide and attend four classroom meetings taught by Mr. James Cave and Mr. Dave Kuntz. “The teachers, Mr. Cave and Mr. Kuntz, did a fantastic job at portraying the genocide,” said senior Izaak Lundberg.

The trip provided students with a whole new outlook on life, giving them the chance to experience the painful reality of poverty and tragedy first hand. “You see all these commercials and images on TV about poverty and other countries, but to actually be there and meet people and talk to them about their situation is very sad; yet somehow, they still remain strong, and it is very inspiring,” said Bauer.

Many of the students agreed that they found the trip extremely rewarding and would definitely consider going back. “My Rwandan experience has made me both want to explore more of the world and also to pursue service opportunities,” said Arnason.