Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rwanda reflection : from one small country to another

In all the same ways as Scotland, Rwanda is a small country, but living in a different one has taught me a lot about how outsiders must see Scotland.
Everywhere we went in Rwanda we met people who knew people from our diocese. We climbed Bisoke, a volcano in the north and our guide knew the sons of our bishop in Cyangugu. We visited a diocese in the north and the administrator had studied in Uganda with his opposite number in Cyangugu. The examples were endless. There is a sense of community here, of the interconnectedness of relationships. There is also a sense of claustrophobia, of how difficult it must be to make a new start, to be different from what others expect or to break out of assigned roles.
It’s easy to see, too, how the Rwandan government can have such tight control over the country : from Kigali you can get to the border in any direction in 3 hours, with the exception of our corner in the south-west. The network of roads and the “cellular” system of local government mean that little can go unnoticed. This, of course, was also a contributory factor in the “success” of the genocidaires – in a small country like Rwanda there are few places to hide.

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