An inspiring yet emotional roller coaster

By Ange Asare

Muraho everyone! (That’s Kinyarwanda for ‘hello’)

Yes, welcome to Peace Lab Rwanda, where we learn about peacebuilding, peacekeeping, and peacemaking practices. We also learn Kinyarwanda! Unfortunately, we couldn’t actually travel to Kigali. However, through Zoom, we are virtually visiting all parts of Rwanda.

This week has been an emotional roller coaster, full of various emotions, laughter, and a lot of knowledge. After a whole week of studying Rwandan history and discussing its developments and improvement in regards to peacebuilding, we finally got to meet incredible hardworking people from all over Rwanda. This is a virtual trip to Rwanda. As of now, we have met with Freddy Mutanguha, Consolee Nishimwe, and Eric Mahoro.

Together with Mikkie Jongstra and Bente Wennkes I will be writing a children’s book that can be used as an educational tool that can benefit Rwanda by contributing to Rwanda’s long-term goal: attaining sustainable peace. Mr. Mutanguha has done a lot with youth and has shown the importance of peace through education. He has inspired me in many ways regarding his work in the Aegis Trust organisation and beyond. He expressed the importance of storytelling through personal stories, even though this might be challenging. As he mentioned, storytelling means learning from the past, identifying the gaps, and evolving. He further explained that critical thinking, empathy, and individual responsibility are important aspects that create more harmony between the upcoming society and lead to sustainable peace in Rwanda.

Further, Ms. Nishimwe told her heartfelt story that left me extremely hopeful. Surviving the genocide was not easy. I am immensely inspired by her. Actually, it was overwhelming at one point and definitely left me like a wreck at the end of the day. However, I am incredibly grateful and very much proud to have been able to meet her. I met a hero… I actually met a hero! And that idea kept me content. She has also expressed how vital it is to not let her story die and continue doing her story.

Developments in contemporary Rwanda have shown the importance of education. For instance, primary schooling is free in the majority of its nation. From the organisation ‘Never Again Rwanda’, Mr. Mahoro moved us with various projects they are working on. One aspect that kept coming up is youth engagement and the teaching of peace through storytelling. Through the stories they have collected over the years, they could carry out peace education through stories. Isn’t that incredible to hear? It brings me so much joy to see how the engagement of youth is praised and carried on over generations.

I look forward to meeting more people and to upcoming meetings! Here are some pictures we have received from Nini (who is in Kigali, together with Dieudonné). They have been excellent with setting up these meetings, and I want to thank them again for their hard work and efforts!

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