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Rwanda: arriving from London

After a very long journey from London via Addis Ababa (and an unexpected touch-down in Entebbe, Uganda) we are finally in Rwanda.

I work in the Fundraising Division of Save the Children UK’s head office. My job is to inspire the general public to donate, to motivate them to respond to our adverts whether on TV, radio, or to letters in the post.

I’m here in Rwanda to hopefully make my job easier – by inspiring myself and seeing the impact of our work with my own eyes.

An uneasy feeling

As I walk out of Kigali airport into the blazing sushine, I realise how nervous I have been about this moment; I’ve read about the unimaginable violence and horror that reigned over this place just 18 years ago (when I was working towards my GCSEs, totally oblivious).

I expected to feel the presence of some sort of spectre, some trace of what happened here, in the place where so many lost their lives so brutally in such a short space of time.

In Kigali, the capital, I am finding myself looking at the streets, the pavements, the gardens, trying to imagine what a pile of bodies lying there would look like, but it is difficult.

Looking ahead

Today, Kigali, on the surface at least, is a clean, organised, safe, modern city a million miles away from the days of the genocide.

I can’t help but look at people, trying to decipher if they would have been classified Tutsi or Hutu (under the colonial Belgian regime), trying to imagine how they might have been affected by the genocide – we are told that almost everyone over the age of 35 will have either been involved in the killing or have lost family and loved ones.

Our taxi from the airport passes “The Centre for Genocide Prevention” and it is then that I stop myself – they are all Rwandans now.

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