Museum, memorial and dancing
Trip Start Jan 22, 2008
79Trip End Aug 22, 2008
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We caught a bus to Gikongoro, about 1 hour from butare and then took a boda boda the 2km(motorbike taxi) to the Munamar memorial. This is a very raw, disturbing memorial, quite unlike the clean memorial in Kigali... let me explain... this is a site where thousands of people were hiding in a technical college and were massacred in 1994. Their bodies were put in mass graves, which subsequently have been dug up and preserved in lime and placed in rooms in the college. There is currently no writing or information or anything about this at the site, it looks like they are in the process of thinking about it. So we were taken by a man around the back of the main building to rooms which were opened to see the bodies ranging from babies to adults laid on metal beds in 20 rooms and another room that contained bones, skulls and clothes that were taken off the bodies
Apart from the smell and the sight I could not believe that people had dug up the bodies and removed their clothes to preserve them in lime!
After a quiet walk and bus journey back to Butare where we saw hundred of men working in the fields dressed in pink - genocide prisoners many who are still yet to have their trials.
We went to the museum in Butare - which is a huge ethnological and archaelogical museum adn claimed to be the best in East Africa due to the large donation from the belgium's to celebrate 25 years of independance. Museums are not really our cuppa tea, but we were really happy we went as outside the local Rwandan dancers were setting up. The day before we had asked at the museum if they were dancing in the next couple of days and I was told no and we would have to book them a few days in advance etc so we thought we would not get to see them....so we were really really pleased that they were there and we sat down and watched. They were faboulous. Really looked like they were enjoying it and put all their effort into it. The only thing I was not happy about was the fact they dragged me (and others) onto the stage at the end for some dancing - embarressing especially when Karl took a video of it!