Our main interest in visiting Rwanda's capital city was to take in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center. In April 2004, on the 10th Anniversary of the genocide that split Rwanda apart, the Kigali Memorial Center was inaugurated. We had heard incredible things about the memorial, and we were not disappointed.
The primary purpose for the memorial is education - for younger Rwandan generations who may not remember the genocide but whose lives were profoundly affected by it. It also offers a place for the bereaved to bury their family and friends. Over 250,000 victims of the genocide are now buried at the site - a clear reminder of the cost of ignorance. The Center exists as a permanent memorial to those who fell victim to the genocide and also as a place for Rwandans to grieve for those they lost.
The Centre includes three permanent exhibitions, the largest of which documents the genocide in 1994. There is also a children's memorial, and an exhibition on the history of genocidal violence around the world. The Education Center, Memorial Gardens and National Documentation Center of the Genocide all contribute to a meaningful tribute to those who perished and form a powerful educational tool for the next generation.
It was a very powerful, very humbling exhibition. The personal accounts were staggering. It's unimaginable that people endured such horrific acts. It's a very surreal experience to walk the streets of Kigali, knowing that each person you encounter as a story.