Yesterday we went to PIASS (Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences) and met with students our age who are a part of a peace organization on their campus. We did ice breakers and got to know each other, then we began discussing the civil rights movement in the United States. It was really interesting to hear their perspective and their questions, it opened my eyes to things in my own culture that I would not have questioned otherwise. The conversations were very productive and really showed our cultural differences, but also showed that we all are working towards the same goal of peace in the world. After the discussion on civil rights, a PIASS student presented on the youth involvement in Rwanda regarding reconciliation after the genocide. This experience with the students was probably my favorite thing that we have done on this trip. Although we all have our history, we are all trying to make a better future for ourselves.
Today, one of the women from PIASS took me to church, I wanted to see what a Rwandan Catholic mass was like. It was beautiful, the music was very different from what I am used to at church in the United States, but I felt welcome and at home there. I'm glad I went to church because today was a very emotional day. We went to the Murambi Memorial Center with some of the students from PIASS, it is a site where tens of thousands of people were murdered in the genocide. They had human remains that were preserved at the memorial, and some of the students that we were with were very emotional. It is hard for me to explain how powerful the memorial is, so I will include a link in this blog for you to look at. After visiting the memorial, I was dealing with many emotions, especially towards my new friends from PIASS. And I hope that no one has to ever feel that pain in the future.