Friday, February 23, 2007

Coffee from Rwanda

A few months ago, my husband and I watched Hotel Rwanda. The most disturbing part of the movie was the fact that we knew so little about what happened in 1994. Yes, I knew many were killed, but I didn't know that it was almost 10% of their population. I knew it was brutal, but had no clue how bad it really was. How could I, and most of the US, have been oblivious to what was happening in this tiny country?

OJ Simpson. His Bronco fleeing and trial consumed our TV stations.

Not long after watching Hotel Rwanda, I was flipping channels and came across an 60 Minutes interview with Immaculee Ilibagiza, and it was heartbreaking. She talked about hiding, along with seven other women, in a bathroom for 91 days. She walked the reporter to the site of her former home that was burned to the ground. She pointed to the hill where family and friends were hacked to death and pushed down a hill to rot. How did I miss this?

I have recently finished her book, Left To Tell, and I would encourage everyone to read it. It is heartbreaking, but it's also a story of strength, faith, and forgiveness. While hiding in the bathroom, she is able to listen outside and hear the details of her brother's gruesome death from the mouth of his boasting killer. What does she do when able to meet him face to face? Grant him forgiveness ". . . because that is all I have to offer ." Truly humbling.

Last year, I arranged for a member of the Church World Service Refugee Resettlement Program to present an opportunity to our church. A family from Rwanda needed a church sponsor to bring them to the US and assist them during their first few months of resettlement. I was excited. Ready to bring them over as soon as possible.

There were a few questions from the group.

"Now where exactly is this Wa-wa-wa-wa . . . ?"

No idea how to pronounce the country let alone know where it was located. How many others have the same question?

I don't want to live my life with my head buried in the sand. It's so easy to be consumed with the in's and out's of daily life, but when things like this are happening around the world, I don't want to be snug on my couch at home, watching another OJ Simpson trial, Anna Nicole Smith drama, a Hollywood break-up scandal, etc. I'm reading, learning, and seeking out ways to help.

Compassion has children that are living in Rwanda and need sponsorship. The Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee has a Coffee Club of the Month, which sends three dollars of your purchase back to Rwanda. It's not much, but it's a start. Have you found an organization that helps the Rwandan genocide survivors? I'd love to know!

1 comment:

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Wow- I know exactly what you mean. I don't want my head in the sand. It's so hard for me to watch things like that, so upsetting, but it's real and we can't be ingnorant to it...